Last modified: 2021-05-29 by rob raeside
Keywords: west midlands | dudley |
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image by Pete Loeser, 28 May 2021
Based on this photo located by Valentin Poposki, 26 February 2009
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Today Dudley is considered a market town and is an administrative centre in the county of West Midlands. Historically the "Metropolitan Borough" of Dudley included the towns of Stourbridge and Halesowen and was part of Worcestershire, but became another product of the strange dance of
wandering English county borders. Dudley is now the capital of the Black Country region. As a large market town Dudley was one of the birthplaces of the Industrial Revolution and grew into an industrial centre in the 19th century with its iron, coal, and limestone deposits, but the town's origins were much earlier.
The town of Dudley has a history dating back to Anglo-Saxon times, and one of its churches was built in honour of the Anglo-Saxon King and Saint, Edmund. Dudley (originally Dudelei) can be found in the Domesday Book of 1086 as one of the hundreds of Clent in Worcestershire. In the Anglo-Saxon Chronicles it was listed as a possession of Earl Edwin of Mercia prior to the Norman Conquest. Dudley Castle was constructed after the conquest in 1070 by William the Conqueror's father after he was given the town, and it served as the seat of power for the Barons of Dudley who possessed estates in eleven different counties across England. In 1138 the Baron of Dudley supported the Empress Matilda's claim to the throne during The Anarchy and the town of Dudley was attacked by King Stephen after his siege of Dudley Castle failed. The castle provided the centre from which the town and borough grew, with the early coal and iron works. During the English Civil War Dudley served as a Royalist stronghold, with the castle besieged twice by the Parliamentarians and later partly demolished on the orders of the Government after the Royalist surrender.
Dudley's population grew dramatically during the 18th and 19th centuries because of the increase in industry, not only coal and limestone mining, but also iron, steel, engineering, metallurgy, glass cutting, textiles and leatherworking. One of the first Newcomen steam engines, used to pump water from the mines of the Lord Dudley's estates, was installed at the Conygree coal works a mile east of Dudley Castle in 1712. As in all early industrial cities, living conditions remained very poor with Dudley being called "the most unhealthy place in the country" in 1851. The town was incorporated as a Municipal Borough in 1865, and later becoming a County Borough in 1889.
In the early 20th century, declining industry in Dudley gave rise to high unemployment and the closure of town businesses, but with recovery came new industries to replace the old, especially in entertainment and tourism. In 1937 an extensive zoo was added to the grounds of Dudley Castle, and has since provided a popular attraction, especially in conjunction with the castle ruins. More recently the Black Country Living Museum was built in Dudley and also attracts many visitors.
Pete Loeser, 28 May 2021
A blue fringed flag, with the arms on a square centred white panel, and the name DUDLEY above, and METROPOLITAN BOROUGH below.
Source: Up the Pole.
Valentin Poposki, 26 February 2009
The town of Dudley had a different coat of arms.
Philip 'Doc' Tibbetts, 7 April 2009
image by Pete Loeser, 28 May 2021
These arms were granted in 1975. "The arms include many elements from the arms of the older councils. The chevron was part of the arms of Stourbridge and Coseley. The pears are taken from the Stourbridge arms. The fountain (roundel) are taken from Brierly Hill and represents the ancient fords in the manor of Kingswinword. The chain is taken from the Stourbridge and Halesowen arms and represents the chain, nail and anchor making industries. The upper part of the shield contains two lions taken from the Halesowen arms, the salamander in the base is taken from the old Dudley arms. It symbolises the metal working industry. The fired beacons held by the lions are taken from the arms of Coseley and Brierley Hill and allude to local industries. The crest is mainly taken from the Sedgley and Coseley arms. The roses refer to the briars once common in the area and from which Brierley Hill derives its name. The Stafford knot refers to Staffordshire. The supporters are a Canon of the Premonstratensian Abbey in Haleslowen, and an angel taken from the arms of the Earls of Dudley."
images located by Pete Loeser, 28 May 2021
These logos appears on the Dudley Metropolitan Borough official website, on their stationary and publications.
Source: Dudley Metropolitan Borough website.
Pete Loeser, 28 May 021