Black Country Muse

                                                                     Over 200 years of Industrial and Social History, in words and Pictures.


 Welcome to the Black Country Muse, the words I wrote back in 2011, when I started off the Website. A product of mind over matter, was how I described it, and I  wasn't wrong. It's also proved to be, very much still a work in progress. I invited all with an interest, to join me on the journey, and thousands of you did, I am grateful for your support and assistance in keeping it all going. The Locomotive pictured below, was built by the Great Western Railway. Named " Hironbelle ", it did sterling service until the boiler blew up. Thankfully, a thing of the past, which has improved with the passing of the years. I wish I could say the same about the author, although the aims of the website have not changed, it's just got bigger.

A little ramble through time,wandering around some places that may bring back a few memories, and some recollections and stories from a bygone age. Assisted by photographs, sketches, and a few maps, why not take a few minutes, and join me on the journey, for you never know what little treasure may come to light. The Website covers the whole of the Black Country, even some places others think should not be included, and I have spent time in every one of them. The sites search facility will be useful to you, for by typing in a name, date, or place, you can be almost certain, that something will come up. I have also produced a Blog Page as well, and while it contains more information about the site, it's also a place where I can have a little moan about things, and where, if you wish, you can add a few comments of your own.Should you decide to support the website by becoming a site Member, please ensure that your e-mail will accept the invitation which will be sent. If you have recently applied and have not received a reply, please check your Spam.

King George V, an ultra modern Battleship ( Dreadnought ) at the start of the first World War. Many parts, made in the midlands, were used in her construction. As we all get older, it seems we dwell more on the past, than the present. I have often thought, how nice it would be, to go back in time, and see how it all really was. Not to stay mind, the idea of living somewhere, without all the modern conveniences, fills me with horror. Just how did they manage to survive without central heating, double glazing, cars, showers, the NHS,the welfare state and the benefits. Not to mention being able to get money out of a brick wall.The Black Country, (  South Staffordshire and North East Worcestershire ) just a small part of the industrial revolution, had just as much poverty and deprivation, as the rest of the regions, but it seems to some, it lasted longer, It didn't, it's because some would have you believe it did. There are many articles on the regions historical past, and I'm not going into a great long lecture on the subject on this page. The aim of the Website, is to prompt your memory with a series of stories, and pictures, set into a group of topics. I will add more as time goes by. The Gallery Albums all have pictures related to the various topics, all of which have space for comments. You will need to be a Member of the site in order to post items, ask questions, etc. The Website contains a message service, and there is a Facebook Page, which can be located on the Links Page.The Website is now far to big for everything to be listed on the sidebars, but I will do my best.

Included, is a Links page, which contains other local site's of  interest, which you may also find useful. Just click on the page headings listed above.With your assistance, I will try and add to these as time goes by. As a region, it's not that big, but it contains a wealth of history, the largest archive for which is it's people, which of course, includes you. I have always been proud to call myself a  " Black Country Mon ", and this site, is my very own acknowledgement, of the debt we owe to our hard working ancesters, from whose toil and sweat, the area was born.

The pictures, some of the sights that could have been seen around the Black Country, and some that still can, are there for your enjoyment, as are the large number in the various Albums.You will also find a wealth of information, that I hope will be of use to those of you, searching for your long dead ancesters

Death and destruction, from a variety of causes, was always going to part of a heavily industrialised region like ours, so you will find a few of those as well. Social history, much neglected, in our ever faster spinning modern world, helps to put a bit of meat on the bare bones of genealogy, and you will find a great deal of it on the website. Anyone wishing to contact me, is very welcome, and I will respond as quickly as I can. The first, and hardest part of any journey, is that first step, and, should you decide to take it with me, I hope you enjoy the ride, and the read

It's been a few years now since I wrote the Home Page, and we have travelled a long way since. A big thank you to the many who have contributed items and ideas, and are still here on the journey I started. I have been amazed at just how far some of our ancesters actually managed to get. Indonesia, Papa New Guinea, China, Russia, India, Japan, in fact, almost anywhere you care to name on the five Continents. I hope their relatives and decendents have had a little taste of what they left behind. Without a bit of Social history, everyones family tree would be a little bare, and to share what we all find, adds to the sum total of knowledge. Not a bad aim in life, and I will continue to follow this path as long as I am able. Someone suggested that I should change the name of the website, for the area in no way fits the title anymore. It's a fairly green and clean place now, but as I said before, you simply can't kill off a Legend can you. The wheels are forever turning, and the journey continues, I hope you will continue to enjoy the ride, hopefully, to spend some very pleasant weekends in the tranquility of the Clent Hills.


















































Members Area


A NEW LOOK FOR THE HOME PAGE THIS YEAR,  by way of small makeover. You will find over 1,300 different stories of numerous  Blackcountry Facts, Memorabilia, Murders, Crime and Punishment, Miscellanous Stories, Mining History, Military History, Heroes, and for the end, a few Epitaphs to send you on your way. 

Welcome to an updated version of the website. I applogise for any difficulties anyone experienced while the change was under way, especially registering with the site. I still have to get to grips completely with the new system, but we will get there in the end. I hope you all enjoy the new look.

Photo Gallery.

Only registered Members can add pictures or comment on all the contents of the Gallery.

All the Albums in the Gallery, 25 in total, containing over 2,400 pictures, sketches and maps, are connected to the many Topics to be found on the Forum pages. Places you may remember, places and buildings that have long gone, events, faces, and a whole load of information that may help you, and many others, with their research. Members can post pictures on the subject matter into the appropiate Album, but please ensure the area is indentified and dated. You can also send me, via e-mail, or facebook, any pictures you think would be suitable. Do have a good look around the website, you may be surprised what you find, and good luck with your research.

Recent Photos

Recent Forum Posts


Subjects include, Local and National Executioners, Mines and Owners, Ironworking, Steam Engines, older Census Returns, Folklore, Coal Masters, Nailmaking, Foul Murders, Locally sponsered Warships, and Prison Condtions. Names, dates and Events are included in all the many subjects. A Blog page is available, for comments about the site, and how to contact us is easy, a message via my profile page, will find it's way into my email inbox.There are more details about the site, on the Home Page.

New Pages and Additions.

Written some time ago, I have been encourged to review and update this bit of some old Staffordshire Park History. So, complete with a few more pictures and postcards, here is my latest version of the Victorian History of the making of Handsworth Park.

Mining Accidents.

Additions from areas around the Country, have been included. Welcome to the Dare Devil miner, the man who loved his engine, Who cut the rope? , Missing for over 70 years, Some questions you may wish to ask, such as, did he fall or was he pushed?, Witchcraft at the Pit Head. Explosive gas disasters, Floods, Devastating fires, Suffocations , Roof Falls, Sadly, you may find a long gone miner relative, who finished his days in a deep dark tomb. Extensive local records of accidents, and the odd miner who escaped by some miracle, from being crushed to death. Life was cheap, in the rush for a share in the wealth to be had, from mining coal. But not for the poor miner and his family.

Executioners. ( Page )

NEW DETAILS, Thomas Taylor, 1786 to 1850, the Stourbridge Hangman, ( The Razor Grinder ) who outdid the exploits of George Smith, and is the most prolific executioner from this region.


Another ramble around the Town, and a mysterious old house.

Foul Murders. ( Page )

14, very nasty and messy Murders. Sharp implements as well as some Blunt ones included. Even more in the Ghastly Murders Topic on the Forums.

Unsolved Blackcountry Murders. ( Forum Topic )

17 stories, a mixture of various dastardly deeds that remain unsolved, and the poor victims unavenged. Some from the distant past, and many from more recent times. Who, for instance, brutally slew Esther Baggott,  bludgened to death a Dudley money lender, and why did someone snuff out the life of a Pregnant Tennis player.

Words from the Dead. ( Forum Topic )

A bit of prose, fancy words, insults, and a few of the more unusual inscriptions, found on Headstones and Memorials. You wouldn't get away with some of these today, but they can be very funny, as well as bitingly cruel. If you have a favourite one I have not included, get in touch and I will put it in.

Time-Lines. ( Page )

A bit of a tongue in cheek look at History. In two parts, 1800-1816, then 1817 - 1901. A series of dates and events, that you may be able to fit into your family tree research.  Some of it may help to explain just why your relatives acted as they did. 

go back to the top

go back to the top

Click here to edit text