There are many different theories as to why the
Black Country is named so. I do not pretend to know the correct reason but I know Cannock
isn't part of it !
Wolverhampton claims to be in the Black Country now that it seems fashionable to but many would say that Wolverhampton is outside the Boundary.
The Black Country is several towns and villages along the limestone ridge in the Heart of the West Midlands. The limestone ridge itself runs through several counties, but in the Black Country proper it's 2 most famous sites are the Wrens Nest in Dudley and Sedgley Beacon. The wrens nest is famous the world over to Geologists who come to collect samples of the rare fossils to be found, one of which has been christened the Dudley Bug, and is in fact an ammonite.
The most probable reason The Black Country got it's name from the number of foundries and factory's belching out thick black smoke, in the days before smokeless fuels and legislation. The area is particularly famous for it's pits, steel and iron works, and nail making. (the anchor, and it's chain, for the Titanic were forged in Birmingham) It is said that dante's inferno was based upon the foundries of the area.
" The devil stood on Brierley Hill, and all around him gazed, Never more will I be, at hells fierce flames amazed". The view then from the top of the hill was a thick layer of smoke filled with the red glow of a million furnaces and the occasion view of flames as a furnace door was opened, sparks and ash rising and dispersing in the air, which was filled with the sound of hammer on anvil and the hiss and steam of hot metal being cooled.
The Black Country also has several Local dialects, Slang, which is quite different even in villages that are only a few miles apart. For instance there is an area called Gornal. There is Upper Gornal, Lower Gornal and Gornal Wood, all parts of the same village, Though separate, Upper Gornal being at the top of a hill, Lower Gornal being at the bottom of the hill and Gornal wood being separated slightly from the others by what was a wood many years ago. It is said that the three area's have different local dialects and the older inhabitants of the area can still tell, to this day, what part of Gornal a person is from as soon as they speak.
Black Country Spake!
AR = "me or I" as in, Ar cor do that ( I cannot do that)
ARM = "I am" as in, Ar'm gooin' now (I am leaving now)
AY (pronounce Hay without the H)= "am not" or "have not" as in, I ay dooin' that ( I am not doing that) I ay 'ad it (I have not had it)
BABBIE = "Baby" as in, The babbie's bawling agen (The baby is crying again)
BAWLING = " Crying" as in the above example
COOT = "Coat" as in, goo an get ya coot on (go and get your coat on)
CUT = "Canal" as in, ar'm just gooin' up the cut ( I am just going to the canal)
COR(pronounce core) = "Cannot" as in, Ar cor do that (I cannot do that)
DAY = "Did not" as in, Ar day do it (I did not do it)
DOW (pronounce as dough) = "Do not" as in Ar dow know ( I do not know)
GOB = "Mouth" as in,Shut ya gob ( shut your mouth)
SPAKE = "Speak" as in,I day spake to yo (I did not speak to you)
TAY = "Tea" or "Is not" as in,A cuppa tay (A cup of tea) or Tay right (That is not right)
YO = "You" as in, Wot yo lookin' at (What are you looking at?)
YA = "Your" as in, Goo an get ya coot( see coot above)
WENCH = "Girl" or "Woman" as in, Yo gooin' out wi' that wench? ( Are you walking out with that girl/woman/young lady?)
BIBBLE = "Pebble" as in, Yo spaking to me or chewin' a bibble (Are you talking to me or chewing a pebble)(said to someone who is not speaking very clearly, or identifying who they are actually directing their comments too!)
BONK = "Hill" as in, One o' these days that bonk 'ull kill me (one of these days that hill will kill me) There is an area of Dudley called Quarry bank, better know to locals as Quarry bonk, and a landmark called Coopers hill, known as Coopers bonk!
WHALE = "Wheel" as in, Ar caught a whale t'other day in the cut ( I caught a wheel the other day whilst fishing in the canal)
GIS = "Give" as in, Gis ya 'ond ( give me your hand)
OND = "Hand" as in the above example.