Survey: shoppers like Brierley Hill but there’s work to be done

A survey of shoppers and residents in Brierley Hill has revealed that there is a great affection for the town, but people feel that there is still work to be done to make improvements.

Addressing a meeting of Brierley Hill Town Centre Partnership, on Tuesday 24th May, Shona Gilsenan, a volunteer with the Artspace and Brierley Hillness projects, explained that face to face interviews with shoppers in the High Street and other members of the community had taken place to help decision makers determine priorities and to guide new developments planned for the town.  She said:

“On the positive side there were some important key messages.
“People liked the old buildings in the town and wanted new developments to reflect the best of the architecture already present.
“Most people come to the town centre on business.  Interestingly many said that they never went to Merry Hill and preferred the local shops.  The markets are a particular strength.  One described Brierley Hill as a good typical Black Country town, whilst another said him came all the way from Halesowen as the best Black Puddings are sold on the High Street”.
But respondents also had suggestions for improvement.  The frontage of many shops was depressing, the removal of trees was much lamented and there was a need for more flowers to make the area brighter.  The lack of free car parking was also perceived as a problem as it limited shoppers’ time in the town.
In a separate survey of 74 primary school children 65% said that old buildings in the town should be preserved.
The Partnership agreed to ask for more details of the survey results and to request its High Street Working Party to look at ways of implementing suggested improvements.
For further information please contact Shona on

Distinctly Black Country: Website launch event

What makes the landscape of the Black Country different? This is the question being taken up by a new network of heritage organisations. distinctly black country aims to strengthen joint working on the common heritage of the area, describe the distinguishing landscape features of the Black Country, and promote greater connection with them.


Brierley Hill photo competition winners…have a look at these!

Wow…some fantastic photographs have been submitted for the competition which closed last Friday.  Here are some great views of Brierley Hill.  Awesome stuff…well done all!
Brierley Hill Projection low res

You chance to see One Boy, One Town, One Big Idea – Thursday 7th April, Artspace, Mill Street, Brierley Hill

If you missed this exciting performance at Brierley Hill Civic Centre, now is the chance to see the small screen version.  Free screening of the movie of the play!

Online now! Video of Brendan Hawthorne reading his Brierley Hill poem

Brendan Hawthorne, Black Country poet extraordinaire, was commissioned by English Heritage to work with members of Brierley Hill Civic society to capture their thoughts on the past, present and future of Brierley Hill, as art of the ‘Brierley Hillness’ project.

Here he performs he poem at Artspace in Brierley Hill to an audience of form Round Oak employees.

Brendan Hawthorne from Jonathan Lee on Vimeo.

Remembering Round Oak Steelworks

Thursday 10th March saw a coming together of former Round Oak workers to share memories, listen to poetry and stories and to view the Round Oak exhibition at the Artspace shop in Mill Street Brierley Hill.

Brendan Hawthorne, Black Country poet read inspiring, moving and humorous poetry based around work, life and characters in the Black Country over the last fifty years.

The attendees were the treated to some recorded stories (to be archived for future generations to hear what it was like to work in the area) from ex workers at the large steel making plant.

The Blue Brick, Tandys, The Miners were all well frequented by the steel workers – and beer had been brought in daily to quench the thirst of those working in the dust, grime and heat of the furnances.  A queue of lorries would be forever waiting to deliver or pick up steel at the works (see congestion even then!) but ‘…the queue of wives on a Friday waiting to pick up their husbands wages was even longer’.

Nick names were the norm and many friendships were remembered…”…it was like being part of one big family where everyone looked out for each other.”  Humour was everywhere and there were tales of mischief amongst the staff.  I wonder if the management ever knew about the cricket playing in the company’s laboratory (sorry about the broken door)?

Borough artist Steve Field talked about the proposed Round Oak memorial.  His project proposals were warmly received and some suggestions to make it even better – by including reference to the rolling mills – were made.

Thanks to Suzanne Cartwright from English Heritage, Brendan Hawthorne, Steve Field and the workers from Round Oak for a tremendous evening.  Thanks too to Tata steel for sponsoring the event.

Photography competition: Brierley Hill needs you!

Calling all budding photographers of Dudley!

Tell us what Brierley Hill means to you through sending in your snaps, and be in with the chance of winning one of the great prizes below:

  • Professional photography lessons
  • A family photo shoot
  • Be famous for 5 minutes – your image projected across the best-loved landmarks of Brierley Hill

It’s easy to take part. All you need to do is email you photos or add them to the Brierley Hillness Flickr

You might want to send us photographs of your favourite place in Brierley Hill, or maybe a picture of your best friend, or a cherished pet.

Don’t forget to include your name and age, and a short sentance about your photograph!

The deadline to submit your photographs is Friday 25 March 2011.

Winners will be announced on Monday 28 March 2011.

For more information, email

Happy snapping!


Ned Williams Talk: Brierley Hill Past and Present – Thursday 24th March 7pm

Ned Will take you on a journey along Brierley Hill High Street using old and new photos; reflecting on the buildings and trades that once lined this street and the stories and memories associated with them. 7pm 24th March, Artspace, Mill Street, Brierley Hill