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Learning at Black Country Living Museum

Annual Prize Poetry Competition 2016


"Northfield Road, Netherton"

The Museum invites entries for our 4th poetry competition.

Theme for 2016: Earth and Air 

The competition is open to poetry in any style which explores the concepts of earth and air,  whatever they may suggest to you.  Whether you think of the earth scarred and bespoiled by industry or the ‘Green borderlands’ that Elihu Burritt spoke of; whether the choke of foundry dust and the searing of the lungs by chemicals, or the weekend’s walk in the countryside; whether it is the town or the country; the realm of worms or of the birds; of the highs or the lows; of the freedoms or the internments: earth and air are central to our experience, they are at the very core of us, the place from which we write. 

 Two hundred years ago in the Black Country, in 1816, Aaron Malby lit the Horsley Ironworks in Tipton by Gas. One hundred and fifty years ago Queen Victoria was greeted in Wolverhampton with a triumphal arch of coal. One hundred years ago, in 1916, zeppelins raided Tipton and Wednesbury. Events like these inform our theme and  we look forward to reading your responses. 


The competition is open to adults aged 18 years and over.



  • Judging will be by a panel, including the Black Country Living Museum Poet in Residence, Dave Reeves, guest judge Liz Berry, and members of staff from the Black Country Living Museum. 
  • The judges will be looking for high quality poetry that celebrates the theme of "Earth and Air".
  • The Winner and Runners-up will be published on the Museum website and elsewhere.



  • First prize is £100, a family ticket to the Museum and publication on the Museum website
  • Two runner-up prizes of £50, a family ticket to the Museum and publication on the Museum website
  • Other entries may be published at the organiser's discretion.


How to Enter

All entries to be posted to the following address:

Black Country Poetry Competition

Black Country Living Museum

Tipton Road




Entry Form

Terms & Conditions


Closing Date:  5 pm on Friday 29 July 2016  

 Annual Poetry Competition 2014

This competition was on the theme of "Conflict and Contemplation".  The winners were as follows:

  • First Prize: Mrs Gaynor Beesley, from Bridgnorth, Shropshire with "The Taste of War"
  • Second Prize:  Mrs Amanda Quinn from Newcastle-upon-Tyne with "Cast Away"
  • Joint Third Prize: 

         Mrs Carole Bromley from York with "The Newly-weds"

         Mr Mike Lee from Wellingborough, Northamptonshire with "Summer Bomber-Watching"

  • Highly Commended:

          Mr Stephen Clarke from Stourbridge with "Walt"

           Mr Andy Hickmott from Manchester with "Heaton Park" 

 Annual Poetry Competition 2013

This competition was on the theme of industrial landscape.

The winner was Roz Goddard from Cradley Heath with  “The Break-In”.

Roz co-ordinates the West Midlands Readers’ Network and works extensively as a writer in educational settings. Her poetry is on permanent display in the Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery and she was recently awarded an Arts Council writer’s bursary to work on her next collection of poems. She sits on the Board of Writing West Midlands.

The quality of entries was so high that we chose three Runners-up 

Julian Sutton from Devon with his poem “Black Country Night”

Louise Wilford from Barnsley with “Clee” 

Pippa Little from Northumberland with “Cobbles”.

All four poems feature in a Poetry Anthology on sale in the Museum's shop.

Did you know?

interesting fact image

The museum has 12 working street gas lights, from the early 1900s style up to the 1930s.

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