Black Country History Web Site

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

Contact information for accessibility help


[email protected]


01902 552055

Postal Address

Wolverhampton Arts and Museums Service
Wolverhampton Art Gallery
Lichfield Street


Timber Tree, Cradley; by Richard Samuel Chattock, 1872

Timber Tree, Cradley; by Richard Samuel Chattock, 1872

The Black Country is an area located just to the west of Birmingham right at the heart of the UK. It lies between the towns of Dudley, Walsall and Wolverhampton and is noted for its industrial past. It is so named because of the concentration of coal mining and metalworking in the area. It has no agreed borders and no two Black Country men or women will agree on where its starts or ends.

American visitor, Elihu Burritt was impressed with what he saw and said in 1869 “The Black County, black by day and red by night, cannot be matched for vast and varied production by any other space of equal radius on the surface of the globe.”

Click on the links in the text below to see images relating to areas within the Black Country.

Dudley includes Sedgley, Coseley, Brierley Hill and Kingswinford, Stourbridge and Halesowen.  Major industries were coal and limestone mining, glass making and iron & steel. The area is also well known for nail making, chain & anchor manufacturing and its engineering works.

Sandwell is made up of the six towns of Oldbury, Rowley Regis, Smethwick, Tipton, Wednesbury and West Bromwich. Sandwell was a centre for many metal bashing trades, from small chainmakers to large foundries, as well as coal mining, engineering, chemical and glass making industries.

Walsall includes the towns of Aldridge, Bloxwich, Brownhills, Darlaston, Walsall and Willenhall. Walsall is famous for its leather and lorinery trades and its football club known as the saddlers. The area was a centre for coal and lime stone mining. Willenhall is famous for lock making.

Wolverhampton includes Bilston, Penn, Wednesfield, Tettenhall, Bushbury, Heath Town, Ettingshall and Bradley. Wolverhampton was the home of vehicle manufacturing companies and engineering companies. Bilston, was the home of Bilston Steelworks and was one of the few places in the UK where japanned ware was made.

Interested in seeing old photos of the Black Country?  Then have a look at our Black Country Map Trails – old photos pinned onto our online map.