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Dudley landmarks in colour in the Edwardian age

By Black Country Bugle  |  Posted: March 29, 2014

By Dan Shaw

  • Priory Hall

  • Entrance to Dudley Castle with the Earl of Dudley's statue in the foreground

  • Dudley market place

  • Guest Hospital

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BUGLE reader Harry Houghton of Kingswinford has kindly loaned to us some of his collection of Black Country postcards. We've picked a few from the early 1900s that show scenes around Dudley and are a reminder of how the town has changed in 100 years.

Our first picture is of the market place, looking down Castle Street towards St Edmund's church and the castle. It was clearly not a market day when the picture was taken as none of the stalls are out.

The scene is largely recognisable today, the buildings around the market place may have changed but the basic lay-out has remained unaltered for centuries. Work on revamping the market place and Castle Street began in January this year and is set to be completed in early 2015.

The picture at top right shows a gardener tending the grounds of the Guest Hospital. The hospital was originally built in 1860 by the Earl of Dudley as an asylum for blinded miners and workers from his many pits and limeworks around the town. However, the limeworkers rejected the earl's charity and the buildings lay unused until 1871 when chainmaker Joseph Guest bought them and established a hospital there.

Our third postcard shows the entrance to the grounds of Dudley Castle with the statue of the first Earl of Dudley in the foreground. This spot has been altered several times as the volume of traffic passing through Dudley has increased and the statue will be reset again in the current redevelopment.

Our last picture shows Priory Hall, built by the Earl of Dudley around 1829 and furnished with oak panelling stripped from the original Sedgley parish church, which the earl had rebuilt at the same time.

For years the hall was home to the earl's chief agents, among whom was Sir Gilbert Claughton, and today it is Dudley register office.

Have you any old postcards of the Black Country to share with readers? Contact dshaw@blackcountrybugle.co.uk or write in.

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