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Each of the partners involved in this website holds thousands of items relating to the people who lived and worked in the Black Country: books, maps and plans, photographs, newspapers, trade directories, local authority records, business records, historical objects, paintings, sculptures and decorative art objects and much more.

The easiest way to see if we have information relating to specific person is to do a simple search – just put the persons name (surname first works best unless they have an unusual first name) into the search box.  You can then use the  filters on the left hand side of the search results to narrow the list if you get too many results.

Highlights from our collections

The Black Country produced great inventors, philanthropists, authors, artists and industrialists. We don’t have room here to tell you about them all instead we have chosen a few to give a taster of the range of material available – just click on one of the names to find out what resources we hold for that person.

Jerome K Jerome (1859-1927), writer and humorist, was born in Walsall. He was the author of Three Men in a Boat.

Sir James Timmins Chance (1814-1902), engineer and partner in the Smethwick glassworks, Chance Brothers Ltd, was a pioneering lighthouse engineer who was knighted for his contribution to maritime safety.

Percy Shakespeare (1906-1943), celebrated artist, was born in Dudley. His life was tragically cut short in World War II.  Other local artists featured in our collections include Edward Bird, Edwin Butler Bayliss, and Amos Green.

Sister Dora (1832-1878) was born Dorothy Wyndlow Pattison in Yorkshire in 1832. Her pioneering nursing work, as she developed Walsall Cottage Hospital, earned her national respect.

Chubb & Sons, the internationally famous Wolverhampton lock making firm, was founded by Jeremiah Chubb (1793-1860) and Charles Chubb (1779-1846).

John Johnson Shaw (1873-1948) invented the seismograph in a laboratory he built in the cellar of his West Bromwich home.

George and Thomas Woodall were two brothers from Wordsley who, while working for the Thomas Webb glassworks in the late 19th century, became masters in the art of Cameo Glass carving and took it to a new level.

John Wilkinson (1728-1808), or “Iron Mad Wilkinson”, was a leading figure of the Industrial Revolution.  His pioneering new uses of iron led to the rapid industrialisation of the Black Country.  In 1767, he built the first steam-powered blast furnace at the Bradley Ironworks, near Bilston.