Exploring the rich and fascinating past of the historic counties of Herefordshire, Shropshire, Staffordshire, Derbyshire, Warwickshire and Worcestershire. We uncover the history of the people, ideas and events that shaped the West Midlands and the world beyond.
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Non-conformist churches at the heart of Black Country life

Beyond religion

Throughout the 18th and 19th centuries the non-conformist churches played a pivotal part in the lives of thousands of people in the rapidly expanding Black Country.

Their influence reached well beyond the religious life of the region.  In every community, non-conformist chapels provided social support, schools and, in times of epidemics, hope.

They also offered working men the chance to hold office and take decisions about their social conditions at a time when many other institutions denied them these opportunities.

University of Birmingham researcher Dr Janet Sullivan has studied these communities in which she has a special interest – her great, great, great, great grandfather was one of the founders of the first Methodist community in Oldbury.

Dr Sullivan discusses the importance of the non-conformist churches on the social history of the Black Country with well-known broadcaster, Graham Fisher.


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Non-conformist churches at the heart of Black Country life