22 Facts About Black Country


Black Country is an area of the West Midlands county, in the United Kingdom covering most of the Metropolitan Boroughs of Dudley, Sandwell and Walsall.

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Borders of the Black Country can be defined by using the special cultural and industrial characteristics of the area.

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Black Country Society defines the Black Country's borders as the area on the thirty foot coal seam, regardless the depth of the seam.

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Some coal mining areas to the east and west of the geologically defined Black Country are therefore excluded by this definition because the coal here is too deep down and does not outcrop.

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Black Country describes going into the "black country" of StaffordshireWolverhampton, Bilston and Tipton.

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Black Country was the author of the famous early description of the Black Country as "black by day and red by night", adding appreciatively that it "cannot be matched, for vast and varied production, by any other space of equal radius on the surface of the globe".

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Coal mining was carried out for several centuries in the Black Country, starting from medieval times, and metalworking was important in the Black Country area as early as the 16th century spurred on by the presence of iron ore and coal in a seam 30 feet thick, the thickest seam in Great Britain, which outcropped in various places.

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An important milestone in the establishment of Black Country industry came when John Wilkinson set up an iron works at Bradley near Bilston.

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Black Country's example was followed by others and iron making spread rapidly across the Black Country.

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In 1913, the Black Country was the location of arguably one of the most important strikes in British trade union history when the workers employed in the area's steel tube trade came out for two months in a successful demand for a 23 shilling minimum weekly wage for unskilled workers, giving them pay parity with their counterparts in nearby Birmingham.

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One of the important consequences of the strike was the growth of organised labour across the Black Country, which was notable because until this point the area's workforce had effectively eschewed trade unionism.

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In recent years the Black Country has seen the adoption of symbols and emblems with which to represent itself.

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Black Country Anthem was written by James Stevens and is performed by Black Country band The Empty Can.

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Black Country suffered its biggest economic blows in the late 1970s and early 1980s, when unemployment soared largely because of the closure of historic large factories including the Round Oak Steel Works at Brierley Hill and the Patent Shaft steel plant at Wednesbury.

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Black Country Living Museum in Dudley recreates life in the Black Country in the early 20th century, and is a popular tourist attraction.

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Traditional Black Country dialect, known as "Black Country Spake" preserves many archaic traits of Early Modern English and even Middle English and can be very confusing for outsiders.

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The Black Country dialect is well known by many as the oldest form of the English language despite being disputed unsuccessfully on a number of occasions.

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Black Country is notable for its small breweries and brewpubs which continued brewing their own beer alongside the larger breweries which opened in the Industrial Revolution.

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Small breweries and brewpubs in the Black Country include Bathams in Brierley Hill, Holdens in Woodsetton, Sarah Hughes in Sedgley, Black Country Ales in Lower Gornal and the Old Swan Inn in Netherton.

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Black Country is home to one television station, Made in Birmingham, and three region wide radio stations – BBC WM, Free Radio and Free Radio 80s.

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Black Country Radio was born on from a merger of 102.

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Incidentally, the Express and Star, traditionally a Black Country paper, has expanded to the point where they sell copies from vendors in Birmingham city centre.

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