Coal, iron, limestone, clay – Discovering the foundation of Black Country history

Geology shaped the history of the Black Country. The very name comes from the thick coal – the “thirty foot” or “ten yard” seam – that created the rich source of energy that fuelled the industrial wealth of the region.

Added to this were easily accessible outcrops of ironstone, limestone and fireclay.
Together they underpinned the metalworking industries whose products were forged and cast in the furnaces which “poured out their plague of (which) smoke obscured the light, and made foul the melancholy air” according to one 19th century visitor, Charles Dickens.

This programme discusses the fascinating geology of the Black Country, describes the growth of the coal mining industry and reveals the lives of the coal miners.