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New website tells story of Black Country tower blocks

By Black Country Bugle  |  Posted: April 20, 2014

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AN online archive has been launched featuring previously unseen material relating to the Black Country's tower blocks.

The archive, which can be viewed at www.dis tinctlyblackcountry.org.uk, is part of Block Capital, a Heritage Lottery-funded project which is investigating the history of 1960s tower blocks in the region, with the help of local volunteers.

Block Capital is hosted by the distinctly Black Country network, a heritage group based at Wolverhampton Art Gallery.

Thirty volunteers have been working on the project since autumn last year, along with staff based at Wolverhampton Art Gallery. They have been collecting stories from people whose lives are connected to the tower blocks in order to examine this previously under-documented aspect of recent social history.

Their investigations have focused on 20 tower blocks in the centre of the Black Country across Bilston, Darlaston, Tipton, Wednesbury, Wednesfield and Willenhall.

Project leaders have remarked that some of the items are fascinating such as a copy of the Wednesfield Council Tenants' Handbook from the 1950s which includes several paragraphs on cleaning your bath.

The research has led to the discovery of maps and original planning documents, along with council reports, which led to the demolition of some of the flats in Sandwell and Wolverhampton. There are written testimonies from former tenants, more than 150 photographs, and a comprehensive list of all 276 tower blocks ever built in the Black Country.

What were your memories of living in a tower block? Email editor@blackcountry bugle.co.uk or write to us at 41 High Street, Cradley Heath, B64 5HL.

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