Our collections

Preserving the Black Country's heritage

There are over 80,000 items in our collections including buildings, cars, sad irons, trolley buses, photographs, shops, locks, canal boats, catalogues and glass!

Historically, the Black Country played a vital role in the nation’s industrial history. This was the world’s first industrial landscape and one of the most intensely industrialised regions of the UK.

The Museum preserves a section of the Black Country’s industrial landscape, including two mine shafts, limekilns and a canal arm. The Museum has relocated buildings into our canalside village, which have been drawn from across the many small towns of the region.

Each house, shop and workshop has been filled with collections, from sad irons to nails, that would have been seen in situ from the 1800s to 1940s.

In total, there are approximately 80,000 items in the collections for you to discover.

This page is currently under construction and will be updated soon. In the meantime, we’re featuring a selection of iconic items from our collection.

Cast iron houses

Cast iron houses

Cast iron houses built in Dudley in 1925. The houses are constructed from 600 panels of cast iron, bolted together and originally lined with asbestos. They were an experiment in using iron to pre-fabricate buildings, but the idea was too costly and only 4 were ever made.

  • Year: 1925
  • Ref: PRV49
  • Area: Dudley
  • Theme: Historic Buildings

Penfold pillar box

 Pillar box manufactured by Cochrane, Grove & Co. of Dudley. Letter boxes arrived on our streets in the 1850s. This particular box was installed in London in 1865.

  • Ref: 1969-022-001-2
  • Area: Dudley
  • Theme: Metal Working Industry
Trolleybus 433

Trolleybus 433

Wolverhampton Corporation trolleybus 433, with a Wolverhampton manufactured Sunbeam W4 chassis. Supplied to the Corporation in 1946.

Find out more about our trolley bus collection

  • Year: 1946
  • Ref: 1975-012-001-9
  • Area: Wolverhampton
  • Theme: Transport
Charcoal iron

Charcoal iron

Charcoal iron manufactured by Archibald Kenrick & Sons, West Bromwich. The inside is hollow so that it can be filled with smouldering coals, keeping it hot whilst ironing.

  • Ref: 1990-134-154
  • Area: West Bromwich
  • Theme: Metal Working Industry
Palethorpes box

Palethorpe's box

Box for ‘Royal Cambridge’ sausages, manufactured by Palethorpes Limited of Tipton.

  • Ref: _DSC0015-2
  • Area: Tipton
  • Theme: Other Industries

Did you know?

There are over 80,000 items in our collections, including buildings, cars, sad irons, trolley buses, photographs, shops, locks, canal boats, catalogues, glass, and much, much more.

“The Black Country, black by day and red by night, cannot be matched for vast and varied production, by any other space of equal radius on the surface of the globe.”‬

Elihu Burritt, American Consul to Birmingham, 1868