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Chain Making Shop

From the eighteenth century chain making was a major industry in the Black Country, particularly in the villages of Netherton, Old Hill and Cradley Heath.

The trade developed due to the ready supply of raw materials in this area: fuel, locally produced high quality wrought iron and a highly skilled workforce of trained ironworkers.

In 1911 there were 6,550 people working in the chain making industry and by 1914 the Black Country had an international reputation for good craftsmanship.

Both men and women were employed in the industry, many in back yard workshops like the one behind our chainmaker’s house, but many others worked in chain shops like this one based on the Cruddas chain shop from Cradley Heath.

The ironwork of the two man hearth used for making ‘dollied’ chain was rescued from Noah Bloomer’s works in Quarry Bank.

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