Black Country museums pool resources for impressive new regional heritage website

By Richard Moss | 24 August 2010
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a photo of people working in fields as factory chimneys of an industrial town smoke in the background

New website: www.blackcountryhistory.org

The history of the Black Country is integral to the understanding of the industrial heritage of Britain – even the sobriquet Black Country is said to derive from a combination of the area’s rich coal seems and the soot and pollution that poured forth from innumerable factory chimneys during the 19th century.

Today most of the coal has been mined and the factories and mills disappeared, but there remains a rich heritage cared for by a consortium of museums who have launched a new website that opens up their collections and helps the understanding of the region’s heritage.

Visitors to www.blackcountryhistory.org will find a mine of archival information culled from maps, documents and period photographs.

An impressive 23,000 images include specially taken shots of more than 4,000 museum objects and artworks, and themes ranging from metalworking to religious buildings offer an entry point for researchers, enthusiasts and local people keen to explore the history of the area.

"The website is a great example of how the Black Country working together can offer greater benefits to its residents," says Corrine Miller of Wolverhampton Arts and Heritage. "It is the first of a number of projects which will come to fruition in 2010, which we hope to firmly re-establish the Black Country and its offer."

Funded by Renaissance West Midlands, the website has been under development for the past 18 months and includes information from 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 and Wolverhampton Arts and Museums Service. See www.blackcountryhistory.org

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