Workmen of the Black Country
THE best pictures of the Black Country of yore are the ones that show the working man taking a breather from his graft to take pride in his occupation.
From the bowels of the earth if you were a miner, into the couldron of fire that became the furnaceman’s daily environment, the incessant hammering, sweating, swearing and sheer physical endevour of the Black Country workman remains an inspiring legacy for all those with their roots firmly planted in the Black Country soil.
The geology of the region, the foundations of which were laid down hundreds of millions of years ago, had been achieved in an alien environment, long before the dinasaurs ruled the roost or any semblance of a landscape we would recognise today had been put in place.
But man’s determination to push himself as a pioneer, explorer, and exploiter, tapped the riches of the earth and created a forbidding but exciting land in which the Industrial Revolution grew stronger as every ton of coal was exhumed. Coal could launch a thousand ships together with the iron ore, the limestone, the sand and the strength of spirit of a workforce capable of making the greatest anchors ever seen for the biggest ship ever launched, the Titanic.
Transport technology once again transformed the lunar landscape, demanding more coal and more iron, to keep the trains running and transport the gleaming finished products to markets all over the world. The workmen had no alternative than to work harder for their spoils, a job for life they hoped and enough money to hold their own as the head of the family, entrusting and handing down their hard work and values to the sons and daughters who were to follow.
Generations benefitted from the geology and rocks of prehistoric times, until man’s insatiable greed to extract every ounce brought the shutters down on the Black Country’s industrial age.
Strong Black Country working men of yore
Diggers at Darlaston taking a rest from the sand pits