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                                    A SELECTION OF PAST AND PRESENT


Over the last few years we have been photographing the places and buildings of interest that are, or will become part of our heritage. Our aim is to create a tardis of lasting memories before it is too late! So many of our wonderful buildings have already been lost in the 'name of progress', especially that of the 1960's which resulted in the destruction of so much of the wonderful architecture created by our forebears.

We have produced this gallery to compare some of the old with the new - more photos will be added regularly. We want to preserve what remains of the past, and the 'new' that will become the past in a photographic gallery so that people whose roots lie within the Black Country may reflect upon these images. We hope that for all who live in other parts of the country or indeed the world, that this will be a window through which to view our beloved Black Country and a time capsule for future generations to look back at our local heritage. Please see www.blackcountryimages.co.uk for over a thousand photos taken of the Black Country over the past 3 years.


A rare photo of me! I'm on the far right and this was the back entry to the houses in Plant Street, Cradley Heath, which remain today. We used to have wonderful bonfires in this entry every year. Happy memories.

The same entry, now an area for the parking of cars. Still recognisable though.

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The Free Library, Cradley Heath, Old Hill circa 1920. Three Carnegie libraries were donated by the Scottish-American industrialist and philanthropist Andrew Carnegie, of which this is the largest. It was built by the Rowley Regis Urban District Council in the early 1900’s. The other two were Tividale (replaced by Oakham Library in 1966) and Blackheath. This library at Cradley Heath is now Grade II listed.

The foundation stone was laid on 27 November 1908 by John Hilton, Chairman of the Urban District Council and all three libraries were opened officially on 15 November 1909.

This information is courtesy of the website www.sandwell.gov.uk

The library as it is today. A wonderful building that has survived and will hopefully be preserved for future generations.

Image copyright of Black Country Genealogy and Family History

The Parish Church of St Luke, Cradley Heath. It is interesting because it shows the turrets on the church which were removed around 1912.

The Church as it is today. Sadly, it was in a very bad state of repair when this photo was taken in 2009.

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This was originally the United Counties Bank of Cradley Heath, but was Barclays Bank prior to its conversion a few years ago.

Although no longer a bank, the restoration of this building has retained its character. I have many fond memories of going to the bank with mom and dad when I was a child and was always enthralled by its interior.  

Image copyright of Black Country Genealogy and Family History

A photo of Cradey Heath High Street circa 1904, before the subsidence in 1914.

An almost identical view where the dip in the high street due to the subsidence is very prominent. What a shame most of the wonderful shops of yesteryear no longer remain.

Image copyright of Black Country Genealogy and Family History

This real photographic postcard was by E Beech of the Imperial Studio, Cradley Heath. It was taken in Cradley Heath High Street, looking towards Upper High Street. The Procession features, amongst others, the Boys Brigade, Boy Scouts and the gentlemen in the double-breasted jackets are firemen. The date is circa 1913 because the turrets were removed from St Luke's Church around 1912 and they do not appear in this photo. 

With sincere thanks to Colin Brownhill for providing this photo, taken in Upper High Street, near to Four Ways, Cradley Heath, the same road that the Carnival Procession followed.

The Toll End, Tipton library was opened on 12 August 1907 by Joseph Powell Esq. This is not to be confused with the Central Library in Victoria road which was opened on 30th May 1906 by Councillor W W Doughty. Both were funded by the Victorian philanthropist Andrew Carnegie   

The Library is now a large modern building situated in the town centre. Sadly it lacks the character of the former Carnegie library. 

Image copyright of Black Country Genealogy and Family History

Another view of this modern library.

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The Police Station, Dudley, built in 1847.

This building is now used as council offices, having retained its distinctive appearance.

Please see Dave Fisher's Page here: http://www.blackcountryimages.com/70523.html

The Town Hall, Dudley.

The Town Hall, shown below, was erected in St James's Road and there was a grand opening in 1928. (The original Town Hall stood in Market Place, replaced by the drinking fountain in 1867. The first Earl of Dudley erected a second Town Hall in Priory Street which was a spacious building in the Gothic style. This was purchased and reconstructed by the Corporation). 

The Town Hall appears very much the same today.

Please see Dave Fisher's Page here: http://www.blackcountryimages.com/70523.html

The Keep, Dudley Castle, circa early 1900's.

The Keep as it appears today.

The Courtyard, Dudley Castle, circa early 1900's.

The Courtyard as it appears today.

The Parish Church of St Augustine of Hippo, Holly Hall, Dudley.

An almost identical view today.

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All Saints Church, Sedgley, was erected in 1829 on the site of an ancient edifice at a cost of £11000. The building was of stone in the Decorated style and was paid for by the patron, the Earl of Dudley.

Please see this excellent link re 'The Story of All Saints Parish Church' :


The Church as it appears today.

The Glynne Arms lies on the edge of the Himley Estate - it is perhaps better known as the Crooked House or The Siden House. It lies on what was previously the divide between Sir Stephen Glynne's land and that of the Earl of Dudley. Due to the coal mining in the area over a hundred years ago, the property has suffered from subsidence and is worthy of a visit to experience the effect of walking on the sloping floor!

The Crooked House as it appears today. As can be seen from this photograph, very little has changed.

The Parish Church of St Mary, Kingswinford.

A recent photo of this beautiful church.

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The Wesleyan Church, Brierley Hill. This chapel was situated in Bank Street and opened on 11 October 1829. The Wesleyan Methodist Society began in Brierley Hill around 1812 and met at the home of one of its members prior to the opening of the chapel.

The chapel was demolished in 1969 and a new building was opened in January 1971.

Image copyright of Black Country Genealogy and Family History

The original Corbett Hospital, formerly Hill House which was purchased by John Corbett in December 1891.The house was converted into a hospital and was donated by John Corbett to the local people. It was opened on 31st July 1893.

The newly built Corbett Hospital. The old hospital was demolished in 2007 and sadly this included the small part that remained of the eighteenth century mansion shown above and known as ‘The Hill’.

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A lovely photographic postcard showing Stourbridge town centre in the early 1900's. The town was a hive of activity and a place I am sure our ancestors would have visited.

A photo taken in the 1960's, when the town was an abundance of wonderful shops.  

A photo of the old market building taken in 2009. It is interesting to see the town clock  in all three photos - how lovely that it has stood the test of time.

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Another photo taken at the same time. The Mitre remains very much the same.

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A lovely real photographic image of the Grammar School in Stourbridge 1912. Note how the frontage on the far right has changed, when compared to the photo below which was taken in 2009.

This is now King Edward VI College and is one of the country's top sixth form colleges.

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The New Town Hall in Walsall prior to its opening in 1905.

A recent photo showing that the building remains very much the same as it was over a century ago.

Image copyright of Black Country Genealogy and Family History

Please note that more past and present photos will be added as soon as possible.

We must pay tribute to all the late photographers, especially E Beech and E Beech Jnr of the Imperial Studio, Cradley Heath, J N Cockin, Reddal Hill and Horace Dudley, who had studios in Dudley and West Bromwich (amongst many others), for providing the lasting memories from their photographs. 

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