The past world's of the Black Country created the wealth of coal, ironstone, limestone and fireclay seams. In particular it includes the famous ‘South Staffordshire Thick Coal’, a single seam some 12m in thickness - the thickest coal seam in the UK and greatest energy resource of the Industrial Revolution.
These minerals were often exposed at the surface and as a result were simple to extract and use. During the period between 1600 and 1900 curious minds in England were free to explore these rocks and their practical properties, making discoveries and generating profit from ideas and technologies that sprang up in the Black Country. These inventions have changed the world and in the 1700’s the world’s first heavy industrial district was born here in the Black Country. It turned a green land into a blackened and scarred terrain that became known as ‘The Black Country’.
The Black Country has long since lost that desolate character of 1500 mines and countless smoking factories. It is now a greener landscape, a thriving urban area which retains a host of industrial and natural heritage features that celebrate the fundamental part it played in creating the modern world. Many of these features are protected as Scheduled Ancient Monuments (SAMs) under UK law and listed buildings.
The built environment of The Black Country is a wonderful mixture of features to explore through our network of Geosites.