Black Country Echoes is an exciting project happening now in Sandwell, Dudley, Walsall and Wolverhampton. The project celebrates the rich heritage of manufacturing from post-war to the present day and will culminate in a festival across the Black Country from September to December 2014.
The BCE project is engaging with communities, local manufacturing companies and ex-employees in a series of History Days. The first of these took place at Dudley Archives on March 31st 2014. Ex-employees from James Grove & Sons, Bluebird Toffee, Plowden & Thompson and Walter Somers Ltd took part in thought-provoking roundtable discussions led by archival staff and BCE team members on their working life, leisure and social activities, what is was like for women at work and education.
BCE team members José Forrest-Tennant, and Paul Quigley, were on-hand to lead the day along with speakers Chris Upton who gave audiences an insight into the Black Country’s rich manufacturing heritage. Graham Fisher discussed traditional glass making in Stourbridge and introduced Ian Dury, Heritage Officer for Webb Corbett, who spoke about the exciting Portland Vase Project and invited audiences to view the vase itself, which was completed in 2012.
A History day in Walsall will take place at the Leather Museum on Tuesday 13th May 2014. Themes will include lifestyles and consumerism relating to the output of Walsall manufacturers. The session will incorporate companies such as John Shannon & Sons Ltd a men and boys clothing manufacturer, Mrs Kirby’s glove manufacturing company, Tarantella, Rubery Owen and a response by contemporary artist Elaine Lim Newton to Crabtree Electrical Industries Limited. We hope to see many former workers in attendance to discuss their experiences and stimulate enlightening discussion.
Further History Days will take place in Wolverhampton on Tuesday 17th June at Bantock House, highlighting innovation and technology and in Sandwell in August to incorporate companies such as Chance’s Glass and the Bean car.
Contact: José Forrest-Tennant, Community Engagement Officer, Black Country Echoes
Tel: 01902 552 055