Black Country

by Simon Donnelly


Although you will not find the Black Country marked on any map, you can rest assured that it is there alright. It is funny that a part of the country can get its name from its main economic activity, a name that has stuck so far. The area referred to as Black Country got its name from the dark smoke of the steel mills and iron smelting industries of then, not to forget the 30ft coal seams that dotted the landscape. This was in the 19th century. This area, described as "black" by many people, for example, Elihu Burritt, the American consul to Birmingham in the 1800s century, Charles Dickens and other popular people. Areas like West Bromwich, Blackheath, OldBury, Old Hill, Cradley Heath, Langley and many others. But the Black Country isnt  only known for its association with industrial works and billowing clouds of smoke. Its also a haven for art and literature. Today, this area covers the West Midlands region to the North West of Birmingham. It makes up the large area administered by the councils of Dudley, Walsall, Wolverhampton and Sandwell. The Black Country Living Museum can better attest to the fact that this area has a rich cultural and linguistic heritage, more than can be said about other areas of Britain. The good thing is that this has been preserved for future generations and so chances are that many years from now, there will always be Black Country, although there will never be any boundaries to show for it on the map. This area was home to many poets and literary greats of Britain. One of them, William Shenstone, a poet, and to show how he loved this part of the country, he has consistently mentioned it in some of his poetry works. Charles Dickens, another literary great who did not live there, has also made a mention of this area in many of his works. In all things, Black Country has influenced the culture and literature of Britain greatly. There is no doubt that this will not change for a long time. As much as the origin of the name Black Country is in doubt, there is much more to this place than meets the eye. It has contributed a big chunk to Britain's history. In the infamous era of the catholic uprising, this area saw its fair share of fighting. It is also where Charles II regained his throne. Details of this and many more are evident in the books of history of Great Britain. During the industrial revolution that took the world by storm in the 18th and 19th century, who would have guessed that the billowing clouds of black smoke and red fires from the forges at night would earn this part, west of Birmingham, its name that it still holds to date? Though most of the industry is now largely gone from the Black Country, it will be remembered for a long time for its part in helping shape the industrial revolution.

Black Country Nostalgia