This king didn’t leave us a castle or a palace, and today it’s even hard to imagine the time when the phrase ‘king coal’ could be used without challenge. But the Black Country, like other places, still carries marks from the age when mining not only provided most of our energy but also dominated the local landscape.
In his new review, Mike Hodder has raised the question of what a map might look like of the remains of the coal industry in the Black Country. So in a small way we’ve taken up the challenge. If you travelled round the relics mentioned in the review it could, for example, take you on a 50 mile trip which might look like the one mapped below. But actually coal mining was so extensive in the area that 100 years ago it occupied a third of all non-agricultural land. So if you really want to know where the nearest evidence of coal mining is, the answer is probably right beneath you.
> Read Mike Hodder’s review of South Staffordshire Coalfield
This tour starts and finishes at the Black Country Living Museum (point J on the map) and takes in: Baggeridge (B); Brownhills Cathedral Pit (C); Walsall Wood (D); Sandwell Valley (E); Rowley Hall (F); New Hawne (G); Beech Tree (H); and Windmill End (I). Note that, although most are visible, not all the remains are publically accessible.