Not, you might think,  the most welcoming of areas to visit,  but nevertheless, this, the home of the Industrial Revolution & of the period of Heavy Industry,  is a fascinating destination.

The whole of the Black Country was once dominated by the pall of smoke from charcoal burning, which Black Country Museum-main streetgave rise to the name.  From the end of the eighteenth century,  this changed gradually to coal smoke, but apart from the smell,  little appeared to have changed.  Many of the people who lived in the place were occupied with piece-work, carried out at home.  This slightly unlikely scenario is illustrated in the rivetting Black Country Living Museum,  located in Dudley.  This shows that even the tiny workers' houses had equally tiny workshops in the backyard,  where metal-based items were manufactured - not only small things like nails,  but even chain-links of the largest size.  The Museum is now populated by people in costume who are there to explain their (grandfather's, for the most part) lifestyles,   to serve you a pint in the local pub or a snack in the pie-shop!

 Don't forget Dudley Castle,  home to the infamous Dudley family of favourites & traitors of the sixteenth Smethwick Lockscentury,  or its integral Zoo.

Since the area had no natural communications, not on the Roman Road network,  no useable rivers,  it was a natural for the growth of the Canal system,  which is still there to be explored & enjoyed.  A narrow-boat holiday, now.....

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