The website of the
Black Country Society
Established in 1967 to Support, Record, Preserve and Celebrate the distinct
Character and Nature of the West Midlands area known since the mid nineteenth century as 'The Black Country'
We meet in the upstairs room at the Old Swan (Mrs Pardoe`s), Halesowen Road, Netherton at 7.30pm. Access to the room is by a staircase at the back of the pub lounge. The Old Swan has its own car park off Northfield Road at the rear the pub, from which the lounge can be entered directly. Please note there is no lift to the first floor, so stairs are the only option.
Wednesday 4th May. THE FOUNDRY INDUSTRY IN THE BLACK COUNTRY by Doug Winterborn.
Foundries were once commonplace throughout the Black Country but over the past 30 years they have all but disappeared. Doug will draw on his experiences working in the industry, most notably at Hunt Brothers in Oldbury, to examine the working practices, processes and products of the foundry trade.
Wednesday 18th May. IA GROUP EVENING WALK: EXPLORING MONMORE GREEN. Led by Keith Hodgkins.
Meet on the car park at the junction of Lower Walsall Street and Lower Horseley Fields, Wolverhampton. 7.15pm for a prompt 7.30pm start. This area, to the immediate south-east of Wolverhampton town centre, saw some of the earliest coal and iron ore mining and iron making, in the Black Country. It was also the point of convergence of three major transport routes: the Birmingham Canal and the main lines of the Great Western and London & North Western Railways, both of which developed interchange facilities with the canal. The walk will explore all three routes together with the sites of lost industries and the Black Country`s last complete (although derelict) canal-rail interchange basin.
Wednesday 1st June. CLEAN AND DECENT: A HISTORY OF PERSONAL HYGENE by Nigel Metcalfe.
An exploration of the myths and truths of personal hygiene from the ancient Greeks and Romans to modern times. Topics such as sanitary facilities, from the medieval garderobe to the modern flushing toilet, public bathing, clothes washing, water supply, drainage, the development of toilet paper and the modern bathroom are all discussed. Pithead baths and toilets on trains are also described.
Wednesday 6th July. A BLACK COUNTRY STEAM PHOTOGRAPER REDISCOVERED by Keith Hodgkins.
The story of Terry Hyde, a Tipton ex-pat now living in Germany, who has donated his archive of railway photographs to the Black Country Society. His images record the Indian Summer of steam in the late 1950s and early 1960s before the railways changed irrevocably under the Beeching Plan.
Wednesday 7th Sepyember. THE RESTORATION OF THE BRADLEY CANAL by Gavin Hawkins.
Gavin is a trustee of the Bradley Canal Restoration Society whose aim is to restore to navigation the in-filled Bradley canal arm and locks which connect the Wolverhampton-Birmingham main line with the Walsall canal at Moorcroft Junction. The scheme presents some tough civil engineering challenges but will recreate a vital link in the Black Country canal system.
Industrial Archaeology Group
Wednesday 5th October. EARLY BRICKMAKING IN THE BLACK COUNTRY by Elizabeth Thompson. Brickmaking was one of the Black Country`s prime industries in the 19th and early 20th centuries with scores of works across the area, but little is known about the production of bricks prior to 1800. Lizey has been researching the subject for a PhD in West Midlands Studies and looks at local brick from its earliest appearance around 1550 in Dudley Castle, though to the building of the first canals in the late 18th century.
Wednesday 2nd November.
THE ART OF THE ILLUSTRATOR by Alan Hill.
Before the advent of photographs, illustrations in engineering catalogues, journals and books were printed from woodcuts, etched metal plates or by lithographs on stone. The quality of these illustrations was high, and the degree of technical accuracy phenomenal. The talk will look at some examples of this work and their originators.