Black Country History is a searchable website which allows users to find information about documents, maps, photographs, art works, objects and more held by archives and museums services within the Black Country.
The eight partners involved in this website are:
- Dudley Archives and Local History Service
- Dudley Museums Service
- Sandwell Community History and Archives Service
- Sandwell Museums Service
- Walsall Local History Centre
- Walsall Museums Service
- Wolverhampton Archives and Local Studies
- Wolverhampton Arts and Museums Service
Each service holds thousands of items relating to the history of the Black Country including: books, maps and plans, photographs, newspapers, trade directories, local authority records, business records, historical objects, paintings, sculptures and decorative art objects.
Each archive office also provides a wide variety of sources for family tree research including: census returns, parish registers, electoral registers and General Register Office indexes to births, marriages and deaths.
Our museums and art galleries hold a wealth of objects with local connections as well as other objects and art works from all over the world.
All the museums have good fine art collections; paintings, drawings, prints and, to a lesser extent, sculpture. Decorative art, both locally made and from further afield is also well represented with good examples of japanned ware, enamels, steel jewellery, carved ivories. Broadfield House Glass Museum has a magnificent collection of British glass, much of it made locally, dating from the 17th century up to the present day.
We have good collections of locally made items, particularly metal goods, including locks and keys, animal traps and cast brass as well as items that illustrate the social history of the area. Walsall museums collections are particularly strong on leather goods, lorinery and costume, including the nationally important Hodson Shop collection of twentieth century working-class clothing.
Sandwell museums have a wide ranging ethnographic collection, largely donated by Helen Caddick, a local Victorian explorer.
To make this material available for public use, it is listed and indexed by staff at each service. These indexes are continually being added to computerised databases to enable quicker and easier searching. This process is ongoing and only a proportion of the services’ total holdings are currently available to view online. If you cannot find what you are looking for, contact the relevant organisation for more information.
Tell us what you think
We are keen to hear what you think about the website, if you can spare a couple of minutes of your time to fill in a very short feedback questionnaire we would be most grateful.