Black Country memories

I wanted to post this image last week for  It’s Dudley castle with lime kilns, David Cox. c.1830s.

The image is from the British Museum. Unfortunately, you can’t immediately download images from their website. You first have to register with them, then apply for a specific image and then wait at least 48 hours to receive it by email. As discussed previously, you can download images straight away from the National Gallery.

I was brought up in the Black Country. My childhood home overlooked Stubbers Green, a stretch of water that was created when some lime works collapsed. Immediately in front of our house was a coal merchant, beyond that were some clay pits and a brickworks.

Much of the area around Stubbers Green had derelict factories. Come the early 1980s there were a lot more empty factories. But despite the industrial decay, Stubbers Green was almost rural. Poor man’s greenbelt. The local clay soil provided poor drainage so the fields were like bogs. Not too great for farming. Not much use for anything else. There’s a lot of land like this in the Black Country. You may have got this far in this blog post without knowing where the Black Country is. It’s to the West of Birmingham in the English Midlands. It came to prominence during the industrial revolution. Things have largely gone downhill since.

Stubbers Green with its lake and marshes and undeveloped farmland was ideal for birdwatching, my childhood passion. I’d spend every spare moment at Stubbers Green. I’d also be packed off there to play with my brother and sisters. This was in the 1970s. Our mother would say, “go out to play and don’t come back till tea time”. If parents did that now they would be put on some sort of register.


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