Talk:Black Country

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A number of places and features in the Black Country are in Category:West Midlands articles missing geocoordinate data. If you can provide coordinates, please do so. Thank you. Andy Mabbett (User:Pigsonthewing); Andy's talk; Andy's edits 16:44, 1 December 2008 (UTC)

On OS Maps[edit]

To be added later: Andy Mabbett (User:Pigsonthewing); Andy's talk; Andy's edits 15:47, 21 August 2009 (UTC)

The Black Country in Literature[edit]

Does anyone feel that a section with this name could usefully be started??

I am thinking in particular of the copious work of Francis Brett Young. Flying Stag (talk) 23:25, 6 July 2010 (UTC)

Removed the part about the accent; horribly written[edit]

'The Black Country is also known for its distinctive dialect, which differs slightly in various parts of the region. For instance: "How are you?" in Black country dialect has two variations "ow am ya?" is from the Wolverhampton area and "Ahh bin ya?" in the rest of the Black Country. "Ah bin ya?" is a good example the Black Country Dialect is similar to the German language. "Ah bin ya?" Germany (phonetically) "Ah bist do?"

The common mistake is that the people from the Black Country are associated with Birmingham people, because of the misconception of their close proximity. This can be a great insult to most, as the city of Coventry is nearer to Birmingham in areas than the Black Country and the connection is never made between them.'

The section below on the dialect is much better. However, someone could reword a mention of the dialect in the introduction as for many, the first thing associated with the Black Country is the dialect. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 11:06, 27 December 2010 (UTC)

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How does the Black country differ from the West Midlands conurbation?[edit]

Please enlighten me, I'm confused. I assume there is some overlap between this article and West Midlands conurbation. Kaleeyed (talk) 13:59, 28 March 2012 (UTC)

The city of Birmingham itself, Solihull and Sutton Coldfield are part of the West Midlands conurbation but not part of the Black Country. Beyond that, it gets tricky, since there's no real agreement on the boundaries of the Black Country itself. Among the biggest questions is the status of Wolverhampton: much of this article seems to have been written with a sweeping mindset that no part of Wolverhampton qualifies at all, but not everyone would agree with that - even local residents.
For example: in the southeast corner of the area governed by Wolverhampton City Council is Bilston, which has a strong heritage of coal mining, steel making and so on, and which definitely has a Black Country character. In the northwest corner is Tettenhall, which has a much more rural history. One thing that Wolverhampton certainly does share with places like Dudley is a dislike of being lumped in as "really part of Birmingham", and using the Black Country name is a handy way of showing that. I actually come from Wolverhampton, so it's not only "outsiders" who get confused! Loganberry (Talk) 02:23, 5 May 2014 (UTC)

ADDENDA N MOSS 3/4/16 - I would add that during the critical Industrial Revolution, Wolverhampton was thought of as not only "the Capital of the Black Country" but also "The Capital of the Iron Trade in the Black Country" according to Samuel Smith (1872). Wolverhampton itself (excluding Bilston part) was heavily industrialised with coal mines, including some of the thick seam. As seen by a number of observers who went to the elevated position of Dudley Castle, the densest smoke in the Black Country during the Industrial Revolution was observed to lie over Wolverhampton, as the area between the town centre and Bilston was the 2-3 mile stretch with continuous coal mines and many iron and zinc works with their blast furnaces. Please refer to William White's book "All Around the Wrekin".

Furthermore, the quote by Samuel Sidney "Rides on Railways" taken from the Black Country Society, arguably purposely omits Wolverhampton because the Black Country Society has a Dudley-agenda and arguably an anti-Wolverhampton one. If you care to check the original quote by Sidney, Wolverhampton was included in his list of towns, and the Black Country Society omitted it from the quote, for reasons only known to them.

Also, Tettenhall was a separate village at the time the Black Country got its name (around 1830-40), separated by at least a mile of green fields from Wolverhampton.

Map, Languages and Capital[edit]

There were previously two rather huge paragraphs which discussed the borders of Black country with different definitions. I am not from the area, but I identified three different definitions from the original text:

  • The deep and shallow coal definition (wide definition)
  • The cultural and industrial definition (wider definition)
  • The shallow and outcropping coal definition (narrow definition)

Is this correct?

N MOSS (ADDENDA) 3/4/16 In answering this question, there are several very important historic facts to consider, that even the Black Country Society, with a clear Dudley bias, seem to ignore.

1) There is no evidence that the Black Country was actually defined by the existence of the thick coal seam (as per the Black Country Society), even if it was uniquely thick in parts. It had been mined for up to 500 years in the area before we know the term "Black Country" evolved. 2) The deeper coal field such as at pits at Jubilee, Hampstead, Sandwell Park, Baggeridge, certainly had nothing to do with defining the Black Country. These deeper operations merely represent a continuation of the mining industry around its geographical edge, but the Black Country was characterised by shallow pits that were quickly mined and abandoned. 3) The term 'Black Country' that we know evolved roughly around 1830-1840 actually coincided with the birth of the Iron Industry during the peak Industrial Revolution period 1760-1880. Although reliant on coal to fuel the blast furnaces, it was the workings of the Iron Industry that chiefly made this area what it is today. H.C Derby in 1851 highlighted that of all the English districts where coal and iron were produced and used, the Black Country was only the 3rd highest producer of coal but the top producer of Iron. The term 'Black Country' only emerged once the Iron Industry established itself on a large scale, with the blast furnaces and countless chimneys turning the ground and atmosphere black. 4) It is clearly evident that it was never referred to as "The Black Country" due to coal-mining alone, or due to the effect of coal-mining alone. Only once the Iron Industry established itself, was the area so-called. 5) It might justifiably be argued that both the coal and iron industry defined the Black Country, but certainly not Coal in isolation.

I have organized the border discussion into a seperate section. The two paragraphs are merged together and duplicate information is removed. There were no citations in the old text, and Ḯ've added citation needed everywhere to state this.

Since the old text was very poorly written and almost impossible to understand, the rewrite may not mirror the original intention of the authors. I welcome others to correct the text, at least it's now possible to read it.

The Black Country Borders.


"Today, the Black Country Society definition (or the Dudley definition) is contradictory, trying to argue that it should be defined purely by the existence of the thick coal seam, irrespective of its depth. Though it also includes other districts because they contributed significantly through iron works etc.

I have already shown that the Black Country, when it actually existed, was thought to have been based primarily on the Iron Industry but working in conjunction with the Coal Industry. Which ever stance you take clearly fundamentally affects its borders.

It is rarely highlighted for example, that a man with local knowledge - Samuel Griffiths (Bilston-born to West Bromwich parents), in his 1872 book of the Iron Trade in the UK, highlighted that "Wolverhampton was the Capital of the Black Country" as well as "The Capital of the Iron Trade in The Black Country".

Another writer, Samuel Sidney, is misquoted in the main text, but he along with other mid-1800's writers William White and Elihu Burritt all considered Wolverhampton to be a key Black Country town. Some of these writers went to the elevated position of Dudley Castle, to observe the Black Country, and White for example noted that the "darkest area of smoke lay over Wolverhampton".

The Black Country Society, who restrict the Black Country to a relatively small geographical zone based on the thick coal seam, often highlight that the first written record of the term 'Black Country' was made by William Gresley in 1846, where he stated "the area commonly known as the Black Country" implying that the term was already then in use. But they tend to ignore the fact that he also stated in his same book, that the Black Country was 20 miles long, which would 'inevitably' thus include Wolverhampton at the northern end.

Furthermore, even if the Black Country Society "thick coal seam" definition is accepted, they wrongly exclude Wolverhampton. Some of the thick coal seam was mined at Wolverhampton coal mines such as Chillington Colliery, Monmore Green Colliery, Rough Hills Colliery, Parkfields Colliery, Ettingshall Colliery, Stow Heath Colliery, and Moorfields Colliery where the seam was noted to be 14 metres thick.

According to most 1800's writers (as opposed to late 1900's writers who are looking at the history of the area contemporaneously), the Black Country core area was Wolverhampton through to Bilston, Willenhall, Tipton, Wednesbury and just touching the north-east corner of West Bromwich. A second zone was around Brierley Hill.


Atlesn (talk) 17:29, 15 July 2014 (UTC)

I'm from Walsall and i consider it to be a part of the Black Country, mainly because of it's leather production and the way people talk. Wolverhampton i also consider to be a part of the Black Country, including Dudley, Sandwell, West Bromwich, Northern Birmingham and everywhere between. I don't think there is actually a border or map which could explain where the boundary of the Black Country begins and ends. It's slightly different wherever you go mainly because of it's people and i think that's where the problem lies, people have settled with this and i know for a fact that 2 generations ago there was a neighborhood in southern cannock (bridgtown) which could partially be considered a part of the Black Country because of it's people. Defining where the Black Country is, is not easy like defining London or elsewhere, it's like saying, draw a diagram on this map showing where all of the Londoners live. We should dismiss trying to put a definate location on where the Black Country is, for the nearest answer, 'West Midlands' and 'Southern Staffordshire' would be appropiate but this still wouldn't include every part of it.

Someone mentioned that Heath Town was a part of the Black Country but Wolverhampton was not, or near enough this idea, well that i can say is practically impossible to say. Heath Town is maybe a mile away from Wolverhampton Town Centre and on one of the key roads towards it. Saying Wolverhampton was not part of the Black Country and Heath Town is, must surely be on thoughts. The 'Black Country Museum' i believe is based within Wolverhampton and much of the coal mining and furnaces are still visible here. Metal Factories cover large industrial estates which litter Wolverhampton too, showing a clear heritage.

It's my belief that the Black Country itself should be defined by it's people, not location. By doing so your forgetting MBC's and towns, your linking the Black Country to the workplaces and the people that worked within them (or their ancestors), that is how the area came of it's name.

AccuraUK 00:03, 20 October 2007 (UTC)

The Black Country Museum is within a mile of Dudley Town Centre and is further away from Wolverhampton than Dudley itself.

I would also question the inclusion of blackcountrypodcasting. It's not a notable media outlet - I had lived in the Black Country for 18 years and as a youth would expected to have heard of such a thing but I never knew it existed?

For me, that paragraph is shameless advertising. Thoughts? Worley-d 19:37, 20 October 2007 (UTC)

I agree with much of what Worley-d says. Perhaps blackcountrypodcasting is advertising; however as there is already a link to the BBC Black Country web page and a paragraph and a link to the Express and Star, we can hardly remove just one of them. This advertising needs to be watched, and if they multiply, then culling will be needed.Pyrotec 20:16, 20 October 2007 (UTC)
While I know not a lot about Heath Town vs. Wolvo., I've long argued that Cannock (and some of its surrounding areas) should come under the Black Country label.
I think, what I'm saying in essence, is that I agree with AccuraUK, in that defining the Black Country's not as easy to do as defining (for example) London is.
7rin (talk) 00:26, 20 May 2009 (UTC)

Removal of profiteering links and incorrectly stated quotes

I also agree that advertising should be removed as a whole but again do we remove just the links that are clearly making a profit i.e businesses such as the Express and Star and the BBC or should local community groups such as Black Country Gob be removed?

There is a place for promotion of such groups that are infact promoting the region and not just out to make profit from. The Black Country region is full of people with memories and Black Country Gob is collecting those memories via it's members just as wikipedia is. There is no claim to be the only one however you will see that as an active forum and a great and popular genealogy section BCG has omething to offer. Surely for a place such as this it is paramount to get correct information and where best but from the mouths of real Black Country Folk!

I am the site admin of BCG and feel that asa community group we can assist the region and it's people and therefore request that we be added to the page with a link to our site. The link serves no seo benefits and so this is not a request for advertising purposes but does let the people interested know they have somewhere to go to meet others and also to research the region and gain true facts from the true people not just some university graduate who reckons they know all about the Black Country "because they read a book".

Anyone care to support this non profit community group? :) I can be emailed at should anyone wish to contact me. Sorry if I placed this comment incorrectly but i'm new to wiki. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 19:19, 22 July 2008 (UTC)

I would have to say the the Black Country Gob is a great resource for Black Country people. It is full of old information & articles as well comments etc from Black Country people that would make a great resource for material from people who want to learn more about the Black Country. I would definitely recommend a link from this page for those in search of more information. I am not associated in any way with the Black Country Gob and as a resident of the Black Country, I can recognise what a great resource it would be for those from the Black Country as well as the "outsiders". —Preceding unsigned comment added by Thewetdogproject (talkcontribs) 16:43, 10 November 2009 (UTC)

"Thee, Thy and Thou are still in use" I grew up in Kinswinford, and went to College in Stourbridge and I have NEVER heard "Thee, Thy or Thou". "You" is pronounced "Yaw" which I imagine could have been influenced by the sound of "thou" but in means "You" and is not modified in any way that can be compared to Thee/Thy/Thou. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 22:03, 9 May 2010 (UTC)

External links modified[edit]

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I have changed this and updated the Arts Council ref to a pdf that includes the Designation. Tony Holkham (Talk) 13:06, 30 June 2016 (UTC)

Dialect & Accent[edit]

"Locals pronounce "Birmingham" as "Brummajem"." - I live in the Black Country and can assure you that no-one calls Birmingham that. 'Brummagem' is an archaic name for Birmingham, but in 30 years I've heard no-one, no matter how old & deep-dialect speaker, call it that. 'Birningham' is quite common though. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 11:13, 18 July 2016 (UTC)

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