Towards a bibliography of Black Country history

I've just added a new page to this website: a bibliography of Black Country history. This region is, as any scholar who tries to research it will tell you, tremendously under-researched compared to many comparable regions, which is strange when you consider the huge significance of the Black Country to British industrial, social, technological and … Continue reading Towards a bibliography of Black Country history

Black Country Irish: lies, damned lies and statistics

We've had a quick look at some of the stories and statistics behind the Irish in the Black Country, particularly focusing on the census data for 1851. Data is an essential part of the story, but it is just a part. The historian can do loads with that, but it stops being interesting before too long: … Continue reading Black Country Irish: lies, damned lies and statistics

“Slums” of the Black Country

We've come to the end of this series on some of the distinct areas of the Black Country that found themselves with a special stigma in the nineteenth century. Based on the Birmingham Daily Post's 1866 series on the sanitary condition I've had a look around some of the broader issues of housing, sanitation, labour, demography and democracy … Continue reading “Slums” of the Black Country

“Slums” of the Black Country: Quarry Lane, Bilston

If there's been some research into Carribee Island in the past, and a little into the Mambles in Dudley, there's almost nothing to be googled on another of the Birmingham Daily Post's 'low-lights' of the Black Country, the next in a series of exposées on the shocking sanitary conditions of the Black Country. Quarry Lane in Bilston … Continue reading “Slums” of the Black Country: Quarry Lane, Bilston

The Fiery Holes

I love an evocative placename, and they hardly get more redolent than Fiery Holes, a lost settlement that lives on only in the name of the pub on its site, now more famous as the gathering point for the Black Country's pony-and-trap drivers. The site is just to the West of Moxley, itself only a small … Continue reading The Fiery Holes


Yesterday I had the pleasure of a visit to Bilston. I recognise that that's not an ordinary sort of statement, but I liked it. Firstly I had a go on the tram, which I've been waiting for since moving to the Midlands. It's actually not all that exciting an experience, but it's a nippy little … Continue reading Bilston