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'
NEW VENUE: The Court House, Dudley DY1 1LP (corner New Street - Tower Street)
All Talks will take place from 7.30pm
THE MIDLANDS ZEPPELIN OUTRAGE - Ian Bott
Wednesday 26 JANUARY 2022
The Midlands Zeppelin Outrage presented by Ian Bott During WWII as families settled in their Black Country homes for the evening they could have had no idea of the terror that loomed large in the skies above. Local historian Ian Bott will describe the terror as, lost in fog, two huge German Zeppelin bombers hung above the Black Country, their crews ready to attack. Ian, who has written a book on the raids called the Midlands Zeppelin Outrage, said there was an air of complacency even among local government officials. He said: "There were no contingency plans. "Birmingham had wisely for some months prior taken to the practice of blacking out so they couldn't be seen from above. "There was a culture of complacency. It had been mooted in newspapers a few weeks before the idea that the Zeppelins could find us but it was laughed off. It was thought it would be dangerous to traffic if we blacked out." Black Country Zeppelin raids: Remembering the terror from the skies 100 years on So, although they weren't sure exactly where they were, the bright lights below made it clear to the airship pilots they were over a populated urban area. Nine airships had set off from the north west coast of Germany. The L.21 and another Zeppelin, L.19, hit the Black Country at 8pm and midnight respectively. Kapitanleutnant Max Dietrich, who commanded the L.21, which, at 585ft long and 61ft wide, was the pride of the German fleet, believed he was over the Irish Sea and saw the lights of two towns separated by a river. He thought they they were Liverpool and Birkenhead. In fact it was the Black Country and the 'river' was one of the many canals that wind through the region. We look forward to seeing you on the night to find out more! Ian will have a number of his book for purchase on the night.
Wednesday 23 FEBRUARY 2022
FRANCIS BRETT YOUNG presented by Jack Price
Business a good deal more than usual”: The First World War in Francis Brett Young’s Black Country With plots mostly set in the years 1895-1920, it is no wonder that many of Francis Brett Young’s novels feature the Great War. His depiction of the Black Country during the war is complex, and allows readers an interesting way of studying how people, societies, and economies react to emergencies and catastrophes. This talk will revolve around vignettes drawn from Brett Young’s Black Country canon – including the industrial boom, a bombing raid, and reactions to slaughter on the Western Front – and ask: Why was war ‘Business a good deal more than usual’ for the Black Country? How does his depiction of war help us better understand Brett Young’s thoughts on the region? Why is this useful to us?
WEDNESDAY 23 MARCH 2022
500 YEARS IN 50 VOICES PRESENTED BY BRENDAN CLIFFORD
Following the Society AGM, the BCS Committee is pleased to arrange a presentation with a difference. Brendan Clifford has spent over a year, working on his first book which is a unique compilation of 50 author’s who visited the Black Country and subsequently either wrote about their experience or in certain circumstances, incorporated the remembered vision into their own written works. Brendan, who has previously entertained us with his presentation on J.M.W. Turner, will introduce an ‘ interactive session ‘ based on his book, including readings from the text. We are sure this evening of entertainment will be a fascinating journey through the changing times and lives of some famous as well as some not so famous male and female personalities. Certainly a ‘Talk’ not to be missed!!!
WEDNESDAY 27 APRIL 2022
Black Country Living Memories by Geoff Broadway
Geoff will talk about the Living Memory Project that shares and celebrates personal photography collections and life stories from people across the Black Country. He will also talk about his current project `Our Commonwealth`, which shines a light on some of the unsung heroes of the area.