Sunday, 2 September 2012

Black Country Society blog to close

With the success of our Facebook page:!/pages/Black-Country-Society/70054331123

We will now be posting all our news on Facebook. Apologies to those who are still reading and do not use Facebook, but time to edit our various products is limited and Facebook has attracted a number of friends that far out-weighs members of this blog.

All the best


Wednesday, 11 January 2012

Wikipedia Backstage Pass Event at the Black Country Living Museum

My name is Emma Buckler and I am the Museum Development Officer for the Black Country. I am funded by the Arts Council and based with Wolverhampton Arts & Heritage Service. I am helping the Black Country Living Museum to organise an event, to which you are all invited.

Wikipedia Backstage Pass Event at the Black Country Living Museum
18 February 2012 10am – 3.30pm
Wikipedia is the world’s largest, free, on-line encyclopaedia. It contains over 17 million articles, written by over 91,000 editors. It is one of the most powerful on-line resources for sharing information about your organisation.
On the 18th February 2012, the Black Country Living Museum will be opening up it’s object stores and sites to local Wikipedia editors. They will have the opportunity to go “behind the scenes” at the museum, which will inspire new Wikipedia articles. An experienced Wikipedian will be on hand to offer practical advice and support.
Does your organisation have hidden archives or collections that could also inspire Wikipedia articles? Perhaps you could bring along items and information from your organisation? There will be free fish and chips from the world famous Black Country Living Museum’s fried fish shop!
If you would like to attend the Back Stage Pass event, or for further information, please email by Friday 3rd February 2012.
Yours sincerely
Emma Buckler
Emma Buckler
Conurbation Museums Officer
Bantock House
Finchfield Road
Telephone: 01902 556 303Mobile: 07500 125600 Email:
Twitter @curator99
Facebook: Emma Buckler

Tuesday, 13 December 2011

Charity Black Country Night Out - Tipton Library Local History Group

Charity Black Country Night Out
(Organised by Tipton Library Local History Group)

The event is being held in aid of Help for Heroes 

Venue: Brook Street Centre, Tipton

Date: Friday 10th February 2012, 7.30pm  

Ticket price: £8 including hot food

Tickets will be available soon

Tipton Library
17 Unity Walk
T: 0121 557 1796

Full Steam Ahead! Refurbishing the Newcomen steam engine

In 1712 Thomas Newcomen invented a machine which helped change the world… and it all began in the Black Country.

The Newcomen engine was the world’s first successful steam engine, pumping water from mines so that coal and metals could be mined from greater depths and it subsequently paved the way for James Watt’s steam engine. The site of the original engine is the subject of much debate but there is strong evidence to suggest that it operated on a colliery at Coneygree.

Over 100 Newcomen engines were built throughout Britain and Europe in the 18th century and now the Black Country Living Museum possesses the only full-sized working replica of the engine. Having effectively kick-started the Industrial Revolution, the replica of the Newcomen engine represents one of the Museum’s most historically significant exhibits and when ‘in steam’ is one of its most impressive sights.

Next year the engine will take centre stage in the 300th anniversary celebrations… but 25 years of service has taken its toll and it needs £60,000 of work to restore it to full working order in time for its birthday celebrations. This work will also mean that thousands more visitors can see it in action, learn about and enjoy it in years to come.

£30,000 has already been raised through the generosity of private trusts, companies and individuals. To support the campaign, you can:

·        Donate quickly and securely online here

·        Donate by cheque or credit card by downloading a donation form

Find out more on the Museum’s Newcomen blog here or by contacting Carolyn Pugh, Director of Development at the Museum:, 0121 521 3511.

Black Country Living Museum Trust is a registered educational charity no: 504481

Monday, 5 December 2011

Dressing Up for the Golden Days of Vintage Glamour

Fancy something different for the Sunday before Christmas? Read on:-
An event being staged this December in Wolverhampton’s Wulfrun Hall is set to give fans of all things vintage and retro the chance to step back in time. This time, Central Youth Theatre’s second Vintage Glamour Night has a festive twist. 15 piece live jazz band will be playing a mix of classic dancehall, swing and Christmas favourites all night. With magical decorations and glamorous dresses and suits waltzing around the dancefloor, the event is sure to have a real vintage appeal.
Vintage fan and youth theatre member Alice May (17) says, “I am so excited about the Vintage Glamour Night – I love finding beautiful and original clothes in charity shops and vintage boutiques, and I’m fascinated by the old black and white Hollywood glamour! I can’t wait to have my hair done and enjoy the retro atmosphere”.
Event organiser Jane Ward says, “We were overwhelmed by the success of our first Vintage Glamour Night, and we are bringing the night back by popular demand. There is a real vintage movement going on at the moment, for all ages. With our decorations and live band we are creating an atmosphere where people can get dressed up and feel like they are in the golden days of the dancehalls”.
“Whether you are a fan of the music, the fashion or the dancing, we hope that everyone will come and join the party. We are bringing something really unique to Wolverhampton city centre – the perfect way to start your Christmas with a swing!”
Vintage Glamour Night
Wulfrun Hall
Sunday 18th December – 7.30pm
Tickets: £7 (£5 concessions)
In the afternoon, members of the youth theatre are staging a Glamour and Romance event, bringing to life real memories of dancing in Wolverhampton through theatre, an exhibition and a tea dance with a live band. The nostalgic event is designed as a celebration of dancing in the area in the 1940s and 50s. Tickets to the afternoon event (2pm) are just £2 each. It is funded by the BBC Performing Arts Fund.
Cast member Katherine Lea says, “One of the most fun parts of this project has been dressing up in the 1940s clothes and having our hair done. Everyone feels very glamorous. We will all be keeping our hairdos for the dance in the evening!”
Tickets and information:

Thursday, 17 November 2011

Last Call for Palethorpes

Tipton Library's photographic and memorabilia exhibition of Palethorpes will be finishing on Saturday 26th November so interested historians and former employees are reminded to come and see it before it returns to the company offices in Market Drayton
It has attracted many visitors and many ex employees have come into the library to share their photographs and memories. Some of these will be the basis of a reminiscence pack for use by library staff in local residential homes, community groups, dementia cafes and local schools
Robert Hazel, library manager, said "it has been very interesting listening to all the fabulous stories and seeing some of the amazing photogrpahs and it is important to preserve these memories for future generations"
The next event at the library will be an illustrated talk by popular historian Keth Hodgkins entitled 'Tipton from the Air' which will given at the library on Tuesday 22nd November at 10.30am. It is free admission by advance ticket only and tickets can be obtaiined by calling the library on 0121 557 1796
Robert Hazel
Community Library Manager

Sandwell Council... working for you
Sandwell Council
Tipton Library
17 Unity Walk


The champagne corks will be a’popping down in Stourbridge on the 24th November when the British Glass Foundation (BGF) celebrates its first anniversary.

BGF Chairman and President of Friends of Broadfield House Glass Museum Graham Knowles says: ‘We have come a long way in a short time and are now recognized as a serious player in efforts to secure a happy future for our world class glass collection. My enthusiastic team continues to work closely with others such as DMBC and Complex Development Projects in seeking to promote this vital piece of our heritage for the benefit of everyone. On the occasion of our first birthday I would like to thank everyone who is supporting our efforts to do so.’

Friday, 4 November 2011

Who Do You Think You Are Live 2012

The largest family history and genealogy show in the UK is "Who do You Think You Are Live". It will be held at London's Olympia from 24-26 February.

Having attended the show for the last 2 years as a visitor I can highly recommend the show if you are interested in researching your family history.

In fact, another reason to go next year is because the Black Country Society will be represented with a stand. If you do go, don't forget to call in at our stand.

Tickets are now on sale for the show, click on the link to book your tickets ->> tickets


Monday, 31 October 2011

Book Writing - Good and Bad

I have just read a blog entry (follow link below) “10 Literary Trends that Need to Go Away” (

It made me think about the wealth of quality material available in the Black Country. I am not talking about nationally published fiction or non-fiction, available from the likes of Waterstones and supermarkets. I am talking about local material.

On Saturday night, for example, I attended a book launch in Bilston for Ned William's new major works: "Black Country Cinemas" and "Black Country Theatres". Ned has spent years researching and compiling these works, and what a job he has done. He has also taken the trouble to self-publish them, so he believes in the quality of the work. I have both books, and will be reviewing them in the Winter issue of The Blackcountryman.

I am also talking about the wealth of material that Black Country folk have published over centuries. Fiction from the likes of Jerome K Jerome and Francis Brett Young; and non-fiction from a variety of writers on the whole spectrum of Black Country-related subjects.

We buy a lot of books, in fact I have just had to extend my bookcases in my office to cater for recent purchases. Some of those are modern fiction and non-fiction, but much is Black Country-related and is my reading of choice. There is also a bit of a thrill at finding an out of print book, often from the late 19th or early 20th Century, it is like buying a piece of history - an antique.

Finally, just so this post doesn't sound too much like a rant. I have just installed a new app on my iPad. It is a British Library app and is free to download. It gives access to a whole library of out of copyright books, some are available free of charge, but for a small monthly subscription, you can have access to at least 30,000 (soon to rise to a planned 60,000) books on every conceivable subject. I have subscribed and have already read books by Hackwood on Wednesbury and West Bromwich, and have others that I have ready to read. It is the best £1.99 I have spent this month and I will be continuing my subscription as long as the books keep coming. I think for a historian, that it is almost worth the price of an iPad to get this facility!


Saturday, 29 October 2011

Local Artist Fred Barnefield's 76th birthday exhibition video

Click on the link below to see the youTube video of local Black Country artists's birthday exhibition