Dudley, at the Heart of England
Dudley, 'Capital of the Black Country'
The Borough of Dudley, located 10 miles or so west of Birmingham in the centre of England, comprises the towns and districts of Dudley, Stourbridge, Halesowen, Kingswinford and Sedgley.
founded in 1160
by Cluniac monks
The district was one of the early centres of the Industrial Revolution, based on the mineral wealth of the area: its coal, iron ore, limestone, and fireclay. The riches of coal - or perhaps the smoke from the factory chimneys in the 18th and 19th centuries! - gave rise to the name 'The Black Country'.
Although Dudley still has an important manufacturing base, today it is well known for its historic castle and zoo, its nationally known open air museum and shopping centre, real ales, and numerous tourist and leisure attractions.To find out more about Dudley, why not follow this link:
Dudley Council's comprehensive site
. . . and for all the news, sport, business, leisure and property in the district, why not visit the award-winning site of the best regional newspaper in Britain -
Express & Star website
The industrial and social history of the area can be experienced at the Black Country Living Museum, which recreates a village, chapel, factories, coal mine and canals as they were in byegone days.
The Black Country Living Museum website
Dudley Zoo has a large and most varied collections of animals. The paddocks and enclosures surrounding the castle make an unusual setting for lions and bears, giraffe and meerkats, and a host of other exotic creatures.
The Dudley Zoo website
An Anglo-Saxon, Dudo, is reputed to have built a castle on the hill in AD 700 and led to the present name of the town Dudley.
For centuries Dudley was a prominent market town, and from Dudley Castle the barons ruled over a sizeable proportion of the West Midlands.
Dudley Castle's C14 tower was severely
damaged during the English Civil War
The castle was visited by Queen Elizabeth I and was inhabited until 1750 when it was gutted by a devastating fire. During the civil wars the castle was a royal garrison, but it was beseiged in 1644 and finally captured in 1646 by the republican 'Roundhead' troops, who demolished much of the 14th century keep.
Red House Cone, Stuart Crystal Glassworks, Wordsley
The districts of Amblecote, Wordsley and Brierley Hill have been centres of the crystal glass industry since French glassmakers arrived in the early 17th century. The Broadfield House Glass Museum has a superb collection of glassware.
At the south of the borough is the town of Stourbridge. The first locomotive to be run in the USA, the 'Stourbridge Lion', and the first to be run in the Midlands, 'Agenoria', were built at Foster, Rastrick & Co's Foundry in Stourbridge in 1829.