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Did You Know Facts

Did you know that the Black Country…

/media/season/library/dykanchor-cutout4.jpgProduced the anchor for the Titanic?

The anchor for the Titanic was made in the Black Country in 1911 by Noah Hingley and towed to Dudley train station by 20 shire horses to start its journey to Belfast.

/media/season/library/dyknewcomen1.jpgBuilt the world’s first successful steam engine?

The Black Country was the first place to successfully harness the power of steam, and changed the world in doing so. The Newcomen Engine is the size of a house – and the Black Country Living Museum has the world’s only full scale replica.

/media/season/library/dykstourbridge_lion.jpgPut the first steam train on US soil?

Built in 1828, the Stourbridge Lion was the very first steam locomotive to run in the USA – and one of the very first to operate outside of Britain, making history.

/media/season/library/dykcrystal_palace.jpgPractically built the Crystal Palace?

The glass and the majority of ironwork for the building that hosted the world famous Grand Exhibition were both made right in the heart of the Black Country. At the time the glass sheets used were the largest sheets ever made.

/media/season/library/dyklandscape1.jpg(Probably) inspired Mordor in the Lord of the Rings?

Some say the smoking wastelands of the Black Country inspired the grim region of Mordor in the trilogy. The name ‘Mordor’ even translates as ‘black region’ in Sindarin, the Elven language used in Middle-Earth.

/media/season/library/dykindustriallandscape.jpgHad one of the lowest life expectancies in history?

The smog and grime of the industrial revolution took its toll on the population – in 1841 the average age of death in the Dudley parish was just 16 years and 7 months. An 1852 report states that ‘it is the most unhealthy place in the country’.

/media/season/library/dykironmasters.jpgWas first referred to in the 1840s?

The first use of the name ‘Black Country’ did not appear before 1840s – the first recorded use of ‘Black Country’ was in March 1846 when Lloyds London Weekly Newspaper reported on the quarterly meeting of the ‘Black Country ironmasters’.

/media/season/library/dykrbn.jpgWas described as ‘black by day, red by night’?

Elihu Burritt, the American Consul to Birmingham visited the Black Country in 1868 and said “the Black Country, black by day and red by night, cannot be matched for vast and varied production by any other space of equal radius on the surface of the globe”.

/media/season/library/dyk-marymacarthur.jpgFuelled the introduction of the first minimum wage?

Led by women’s right campaigner Mary McArthur, in 1910 the women chain makers of Cradley Heath brought the world’s attention to the slave-like conditions they worked in. The dispute eventually led to the introduction of Britain’s first minimum wage.

/media/season/library/dykthe_young_queen_victoria.jpgOffended a young Queen Victoria?

A 13 year old Queen Victoria was once so offended by the sight of the Black Country she closed the curtains in her carriage as she passed through and wrote in her diary “the country is very desolate everywhere […] the men, woemen (sic), children, country and houses are all black,” and added, “but I cannot by any description give an idea of its strange and extraordinary appearance.”

Did You Know Facts
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