Use this page to view the Block Capital archive. The archive is a collection of digital resources on the subject of the history of high-rise council housing in the Black Country since the 1960s. For more background on the Block Capital project click here.
It is all material collected by volunteers or donated to the project.
It includes more than 150 photographs, as well as official guidebooks, such as the one commemorating the opening of the (now demolished) Bolton Court flats (right), as well as tenants’ handbooks from the 1950s for Wednesfield (BC54) and Wolverhampton (BC4).
It includes written testimony from people who have lived in or who have had experience of high-rise blocks (BC35 and BC43) such as Dave Cocker (left). You can also listen to our interviews with tenants, former residents etc. on our oral history page, Sharing Storeys.
It also includes the full text of the council reports which led to the demolition of many tower blocks in Sandwell (BC44) and Wolverhampton (BC9) – Sandwell for example has reputedly demolished more blocks than any council in Europe.
It includes a list of all 276 tower blocks built in the Black Country (BC22) produced by author Miles Glendinning, as well as plans and maps – such as the one below of St. Stephen’s Court, Portobello in 1960 (BC53) which shows the architects plan to provide 1.5 hours of sunlight daily to living rooms in the flats.
The archive is growing… we are still looking for people who are willing to record their stories about living in tower blocks, documents like old rent books, photos of the blocks from the 1960s or 70s, and newspaper stories.
This list in the window below catalogues the material in the archive. It contains two columns. The one on the left has information about each item: i.e. what it is (a document, a photo etc.); its unique number (e.g. BC12); the name of the item; its year of origin (in brackets); and how many pages it contains. The column on the right contains a hyperlink – if you click this you can open the item in another browser window.
Moving the bar on the right allows you to scroll down through the catalogue. Use the ‘find’ command in your web browser (Control-F) to search the catalogue (N.B. If you are using Firefox as a web browser, be sure to make sure ‘Match case’ in the bottom right of the window is turned off)