The Past The geology of the Black Country has been very important in shaping its history. The natural resources found under the ground have brought wealth to the area for hundreds of years. Limestone layers were laid down millions of years ago when the area was part of a shallow sea. The shells of millions of tiny creatures compacted to form the limestone. Coal was formed from the remains of prehistoric trees. Fossil remains such as ammonites, corals and trilobites are well represented in our catalogues, some dating from 190 million years ago. The Black Country gained its name back in the mid 19th century due to the pollution from the thick smoke from these many thousands of ironworking foundries and forges in the English West Midlands conurbation. The region was also known for its coal mining, which caused soot from burning the coal. This caused most of the buildings to be layered in soot, giving everything a black look. During the industrial revolution back in the 19th century, the area had become one of the most intensely industrialised in the nation.
Canal Boat Dock The thousands of boats that used to work the Black Country canals all needed constant maintenance. In this area there were many working boat yards, or docks, like this one, where boats were built and repaired. They were busy, cluttered places not unlike a modern scrap yard as it was common practice to break wooden boats, salvaging the ironwork. Nothing on the boat dock was wasted and most of these buildings are made from reclaimed boat timbers.
THE WHITE SLAVES OF ENGLAND
BILSTON, BLACKHEATH, BRIERLEY HILL, BROWNHILLS, COSELEY, CRADLEY, DARLASTON, DUDLEY, GORNAL, GREAT BRIDGE, HALESOWEN, KINGWINGFORD, LYE, NETHERTON, OLDBURY, QUARRY BANK, ROWLEY REGIS, SEDGLEY, SMETHWICK, STOURBRIDGE, TIPTON, WALSALL, WARLEY, WEDNESDAY, WEDNESFIELD, WEST BROMWICH, WILLENHALL, WORDSLEY