Where Does The Name "Black Country" Come From?


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The Black Country got its name in the mid nineteenth century because of the smoke from the many thousands of ironworking foundries and forges. There are many definitions of where the Black Country is, but you won't find it marked on any map.

To traditionalists the Black Country is the area where the 30ft coal seam comes to the surface - so West Bromwich, Oldbury, Blackheath, Cradley Heath, Old Hill, Bilston, Dudley, Tipton, Wednesfield and parts of Halesowen, Wednesbury and Walsall.

The region was described as 'Black by day and red by night' by Elihu Burritt, the American Consul to Birmingham in 1862. Other authors, from Charles Dickens to William Shenstone refer to the intensity of manufacturing in the Black Country and its effect on the landscape and its people.

Today the Black Country is described as most of the four Metropolitan District Council areas of Dudley, Sandwell, Walsall and Wolverhampton and the term is used as a marketing tool to sell and promote the West Midlands region to the north of Birmingham.

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