It’s one measure of how the Black Country landscape has changed that it’s now difficult to find a single heap of slag in the area. The waste produced by a long history of metal furnaces was once common in the region and (we can now be thankful that) it has now almost all been removed or greened over.
There are however occasionally small reminders. One is in Boshboil pool, near Netherton, where a slag heap has been incorporated into a Local Nature Reserve. It’s even captured by satellite cameras (below) –the red rust of iron residue showing up between overhanging trees. Unexpected perhaps, and it does also raise the small nagging question of how far you’d have to go to see another slag heap visible from earth orbit.
Furnace waste was a familiar feature of the landscape for large numbers of local people, and a side effect of the dominant position the Black Country once held in the iron industry. Its open dumping in the local environment also tells us something about the way the area was exploited without much regard for its future. For these reasons a piece of iron slag is the seventh object in our series The Black Country in Ten Objects (the sixth was the subject of this post).