The Black Country grew from a cluster of more than one hundred tiny villages that slowly changed from farming to industry to make a living and coalesced into one vast manufacturing district during the industrial revolution.
The geological and industrial past of this area is a very proud one in the hearts and minds of our people and there is a desire here to share our incredible story.
The story continues to inspire literature and art, which tells of hard labour in heavy industries, the hard working nature of local people and the darkened landscape at the height of the industrial revolution, which resonated with suffering, passion and pride.
Our galleries are brimming with paintings and sketches recording life and times in the intense mining and industrial activity that took place in the Black Country. We’re a place where artists flourish and still choose geological and industrial themes for their creations today. Many geoart sculptures are scattered around the landscape, with the largest and most impressive of these featured in our geopark project. Contemporary artisan culture, particularly in the glass making area of the Crystal Mile in the southern part of the Black Country retains traditional glass making skills and brings them forward into contemporary glass making and artworks.
Echoes of the industrial past are also found in very well known popular culture. While writing Lord of Rings at his home in Birmingham, JRR Tolkien was so taken with the industry of the Black Country that it inspired the landscape and frenzied activity of ‘Mordor’. Film producer James Whale created the memorable imagery for the landscapes of the famous Hollywood film Frankenstein, which was based around evening visits to Dudley Castle.
Ours is a rich cultural landscape ready for exploration.