LIBRARY - BCS Publications and descriptions

57 Black Country People by Stan Hill


A reference book collection of the profiles of Black Country Personalities, who have appeared in The Blackcountryman magazine between 1988 and 2002. Famous names include Bert Bissell MBE, Julie Walters, Sue Lawley, Ken Downing and Baronness Heyhoe Flint. Those listed indicate the diversity, professionalism and importance of people from the Black Country who continue to make a great contribution to the life of our great nation. Also available, a companion volume "57 More Black Country People".

White Shirt, Black Country by Patrick Talbot


A ‘must read’ for all sports enthusiasts. This book provides a history of the Black Country-born footballers that have played for England. It provides details of players from 1881 through to 2004 (when first published). Notable names include Steve Bloomer, Jesse Pennington, Bert Williams, Don Howe and Steve Bull.

The Dunsley Murder of 1812 by David Cox


The murder of Benjamin Robins of Dunsley Hall by William Howe, an itinerant carpenter, became something of a cause celebre at the time, due to the brutal nature of the attack and the subsequent gibbetting of Howe’s body at the site of the murder. David Cox, the author,  investigates and concentrates on three aspects of the incident: Detection, Justice and Punishment. The book also explores the role the Bow Street Runners had to play in the investigation of this heinous crime.

James Foster of Stourbridge (1786-1853) by Editor: Roy Peacock


The Foster family is renowned as iron founders in the Midlands and this book was published to celebrate the life of James Foster on the 150th anniversary of his death. It is the culmination of an alliance to bring together historical information from Stourbridge Historical Society, the Black Country Society and St. Mary's Church, Old Swinford. The Fosters’ were one of several Black Country families whose circumstances and business acumen made them very rich, very quickly. Primarily from the manufacture of iron in their foundries during the Industrial Revolution. James Foster was also a manufacturer of railway engines and some of them are still iconic in the history of the development of the railways. Foster built the 'Agenoria' and Stourbridge Lion locomotives. These will be familiar names to many rail enthusiasts. The Agenoria is now preserved in York Museum. and the Stourbridge Lion which was the first locomotive to run on tracks in America is now owned by the Smithsonian Museum in Washington with remaining parts on display at a museum in Ohio.

A Lady of Wednesbury Forge - Edited by Charles JL Elwell

The Diary of Georgina Elwell for the year 1868-1869, provides a vivid and often humorous glimpse into the life and working conditions of a Black Country manufacturer's family. Georgina was 20 years old at the time of writing her diary and as a young woman provides a feminine perspective on what it was like to endure the working conditions of Wednesbury Forge at the heart of heavy industry during the time of the Industrial Revolution. The book also contains a number of contemporaneous letters from other members of the family.

Black Country Vicar and Great Aunt Polly Stories by Reverend Carol Hathorne


Carol Hathorne is a prolific writer and her Black Country Vicar tales have featured in the pages of The Blackcountryman published by the Black Country Society and her fictional character, Great Aunt Polly has been a regular feature in the local Black Country Bugle historic newspaper. In May 1994 Carol was ordained as a priest and she has served in a number of Black Country parishes. The incidents described in ‘Black Country Vicar Stories’ have all happened, but Carol has changed the character names to protect the innocent. ‘Great Aunt Polly’ is an amalgam of moms, grans and aunties we have all known and loved.

Cricket Lyrics by Thomas Disney


Thomas Disney was headmaster of Halesowen Grammar School before the First World War. The poems had formed part of a huge archive of material collected by the late H Jack Haden and subsequently bought by Black Country Society Chair - James Morgan. In the 35th box of material that James examined he found Disney's poems in printed form. After some research it was decided that these delightful poems should be published along with contributions from a number of related authorities on the man and subject matter. Angus Dunphy, former Acting and Deputy Head of Earl's (formerly Halesowen Grammar) contributed an evaluation of Disney's teaching career at Halesowen; Doctor Michael Hall examined the connection between Disney and Halesowen's most famous writer, Francis Brett Young; and Ron Simpson carried out a critical appraisal of the poems. Stan Hill also researched the cricketing prowess of two former pupils from Disney's school: Eric Hollies and Charles Henry Palmer CBE, as well as providing some of the images for the book. ‘Cricket Lyrics’ provides an interesting insight into Thomas Disney and will appeal to both lovers of poetry and sport.

Towpath Tale: The BCN Remembered by Arthur Truby

Arthur Truby had a great interest in Black Country canals and must have walked with and talked to many acquaintances about them. In this publication he reflects on his memories, tales heard and some of the incidents that occurred along the various towpaths throughout his life and times. The book also contains pictures, drawings and a map of the canal network of the time.

Black Country Society

West Midlands, UK


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