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Public art in the Black Country - the Dudleyartbc website

A guest blog by Brian Carr.


Brian is a retired former warehouse distribution manager with A F Blakemore. Living in Brierley Hill with wife Maddie, he has two grown up daughters and two granddaughters. When not prowling the streets with his camera he can be found either tracking down butterflies or at Redditch Cricket Hockey and Rugby club where he has played rugby for 40 yrs and is now Chairman.


Whilst travelling around our area for the last 40 years or so I had seen a lot of public art in the Black Country and photographed some of it, but when it came to finding some background information on them I found there was no central directory of information, just bits and pieces here and there, so I set about to resolve that. The work ended up as Dudleyartbc.com.


As the name suggests, it was originally just going to be focused on Dudley Borough but soon expanded to cover Sandwell and Wolverhampton, I just have Walsall area to do. Using the expertise of Dudley Council art advisor, Steve Field, and other knowledgeable folk I was able to dig deeper to find art off the beaten track, in parks and schools, in hospitals and libraries, in side streets and canal ways. I found items that had been tucked away for safe keeping, some that had been lost or broken and along the way heard some fascinating tales. I highlight some of them here - but do have a look at the web site for more.


You will have seen the statue to Duncan Edwards in Dudley market place but were you aware of the stained glass window in his honour in St Francis parish church on the Priory? On Castle Gate roundabout everyone has seen the stack of Ferroro Rocher chocolates as they have been referred to, have you seen the one that got away?

One of the two stained glass windows for Duncan Edwards in St Francis church , Priory.


If you don’t use the railway or tram system you may have missed some wonderful art work on tunnel walls at Rowley Regis, and brickwork at the Hawthornes. In Wednesfield there are some superb miniature sculptures behind the retail park but just down the road in the middle of a housing estate is a stunning tribute to the Aeroplane factory formally on that site.

Wall art at Rowley Regis railway station.

Sundial on Smallshire close Wednesbury, designed by Steve Field, Mosaic by Cathryn Ryall


Have you seen the Wolves leaping down the Stafford road? Billy Wright and Stan Cullis stand proud at the Molineux , have you seen Jack Hayward on the east side of the stadium. In Pendeford there are fighter planes in the brickwork of an estate wall.


It is not just the urban areas that are blessed with art work, in Saltwells and Sandwell Country parks and Willenhall park there are art trails in wood and metal, the wooden ones don’t survive that well so need recording.


Do you ever stop and look at the art when visiting Merry Hill retail centre?, there is a lot there. If you are unfortunate to have to attend Russells Hall hospital, take five minutes and check out not just the wall art but the installations on ground level.

Dog by Andrew Burton in the Peace Garden at Russells Hall hospital


It is not just the official commissioned pieces that I have been capturing, art comes in all forms and though there is some awful messy graffiti around, there is also a lot of expertly executed street art which by its very nature is transitory until it either washes off or is painted over. I have therefore obtained images of art that will never be seen again. There is an underpass in Dudley that was on a disused rail line which was a haven for such artwork, the proposed tram line has put paid to that.


Much of the art commemorates local skills which are not so prevalent these days. The giant keys in Willenhall and Glass works in the Stourbridge area are such examples. Local heroes are hailed sporting achievements are celebrated. The range and scope of public art never ceases to surprise me, we have a lot of talented designers, sculptors, painters in the area and the work needs to be celebrated.


I have tried to avoid commercial art though some do slip through and traditional church art is avoided too as are War memorials.


Some of the public art is more public than others, I needed to have permissions to photograph some items so here is an opportunity to put some seldom seen pieces in the shop window.

Hopefully I will have the opportunity to share some stories with you, and in return you can help me too. There are a lot of parts in Walsall – Wolverhampton area I am not familiar with and I will probably have missed items of statuary that are on your door step, Please let me know, I’d like to get this site as complete as possible.


As I said, I still have Walsall to visit but if you know of anything in the rest of the Black Country please get in touch at bcarr4@aol.com.












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