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Old July 30th, 2006, 02:34 PM   #61
El Paulo
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I agree, I'm not trying to suggest we take the Black Country out of Birmingham (cheeky!) but that the West Midlands is a special case. Yep, there is already a Black Country Thread... and a Wolverhampton thread, and a Dudley thread, and a Walsall thread which occasionally disappear off the front page due to lack of posts. Why not bring them together in an official thread so that folks from around the country as well as locally know exactly where to go for news on Black Country developments and concerns? I think it's about appreciating what we have here - and flaunting it.
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Old July 31st, 2006, 10:38 AM   #62
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I agree! Woody - would you care to modify the title? Or is it against the rules?
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Old July 31st, 2006, 10:39 AM   #63
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Love the signature btw Paulo
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Old July 31st, 2006, 05:04 PM   #64
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Shucks
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Old July 31st, 2006, 06:00 PM   #65
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I went through the very heart of West Bromwich for the first time in ages on Saturday and I must admit, it was horrid.

My impressions were that it looked dirty and polluted. Even 'the public' arts centre was a big disapointment due to it's dull facade and hideous surroundings.

The only highrise building that I saw and liked was the one with bondwolf sign slapped on the top of it. A tower I have admired for many years.
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Old August 1st, 2006, 08:03 PM   #66
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Biosonic
I agree! Woody - would you care to modify the title? Or is it against the rules?
Thanks for the support, Bio. In my humble opinion, anything that raises the profile of the magnificent place in which we live has got to be a good thing. Doing this just might help! Anyone else care to comment?
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Old August 2nd, 2006, 10:12 AM   #67
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Woody??? Can we have an "Official Black Country Thread" amendment pleeeeeeeeeeeeeease?

Fanks.
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Old August 2nd, 2006, 09:21 PM   #68
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I know you've got people to save from burning buildings, cats to rescue from trees and a holiday to take on Krypton but... thankyou, Woody.
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Old August 3rd, 2006, 10:07 AM   #69
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Now Woody, sincere apologies for not asking before, but could you bring yourself to make this a sticky as well? The Black Country (along with Wolves) is as big as Birmingham after all

How about one for Coventry as well?
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Old August 9th, 2006, 08:55 PM   #70
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Disappointing, but not unexpected news from BBC Birmingham -

Plans to build a landmark piece of art spanning the M6 in the Black Country have been scrapped after an £18m lottery bid was turned down.
Walsall Regeneration Company planned to build a Black Country Gateway over the motorway between junctions 9 and 10.

The stainless steel structure was intended to symbolise the engineering heritage of the area.

The organisation said it would now concentrate on smaller works of community art instead.

The agency's chief executive, Dr Peter Cromar, said: "It's highly unlikely we will go ahead with the major piece of art that we'd talked of.

"But the lessons I draw from this bid is it's been very important in raising the area's profile and showing we're serious about regeneration."

_________________________________

The Black Country needs an icon and god knows the M6 needs something...
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Old August 15th, 2006, 03:01 PM   #71
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I didn't know something like this was being considered and then, when I did, to find out that it's been trashed is all too typical (just my luck). I'm in agreement with you Zig, this area needs something highly visible to recommend it to the country, otherwise folks will continue to pass through oblivious to what's just beyond the hard-shoulder.
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Old November 15th, 2006, 10:42 PM   #72
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I wanted to resurrect this thread to get some opinion on a few things I've been thinking about these last couple of days.

I was thinking (at about 3am this morning!) how underrepresented the Black Country was on this site - not by the number of forumers posting from that part of the world, but IMO by the absence of the name in our conversations and general ponderings, both locally and nationally. I have a soft spot for the BC, having gone to school with lots of Black Country folk, and consider myslef to have some heritage in that direction, but I don't understand why we do not hear more about the BC and why the BC voice is not louder.

Please consider the following fact - if the Black Country constitutes the 4 boroughs, as many people accept now that it does(!) - then there are more Black Country folk than there are Brummies: that also means that there are more BC folk than there are Glaswegians, Liverpudlians, Mancunians, Geordies, Leedsonians(?!!!), Sheffieldites (sorry, I have no idea!) etc, etc, etc. It probably even means there are more of them than genuine Cockneys. In fact they are the largest number of 'urban-identified' people (if that is a word) not to be represented on SSC in a concrete way (you all know about my desire to make this thread a 'Sticky' at the top of the page!)

Now, before you remind me, I am aware of the conversation recently had about the 'Heart of England City Region' and that many of the Black Country forumers are in favour of uniting under the (Gtr) Birmingham banner. I am also aware that SSC is about skyscrapers and, generally, large developments which are often focussed around large cities (though not exclusively). It is also likely that the Black Country may not ever get a skyscraper to rival those in the recognised 'smaller city areas' but is this a good enough reason for the BC's noticable absence?

I'm not really sure the point I'm making here other than that I think I want to start a bit of a debate about it. I want to hear Black Country forumers' (or anyone's) opinions on the subject and about how they feel they are represented, or not. It may be that no-one agrees with me and that's fine.

I guess my main points are these:
- For it's size, the Black Country is poorly represented on the site.
- I feel that Brum needs to promote itself with an integral and recognisable Black Country on board - after all, I have said before that the way things are in this area are unique in the country - nowhere else is like the West Midlands. We do our area a disservice when we forget this.

So, I'd be interested to know what you think - coz I feel safer talking about it among friends!
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Old November 15th, 2006, 11:39 PM   #73
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I'm technically from the Black Country as I was born in Wordsley and I think another reason (other then the lack of tall buildings) why it's not a common talking point on these forums is because outside of the Midlands, it's not really known all that well.

Last month, Albion played Wolves in the first Black Country derby in several years and I was expecting to see a lot of coverage on the T.V about the game but it seemed to be over shadowed by the Man United v Liverpool match, a common fixture that happens 2 to 3 times a season. It's as if no one really knew or cared about how important the Albion v Wolves game was.

A few years back, I was in a UK chatroom (sad I know) and someone asked me where I was from, I said the Black Country and the next thing I knew, people were accusing me of being a racist. Another time, I was added into an MSN conversation with some retards from Liverpool and when they found out I was from the Black Country they started calling me a... well... I don't want to repeat what they said, but they used a nasty, racist, term.

What the area needs is the two big football clubs (Wolves and Albion) in the Premiership, aswell as Walsall competing in the higher regions of the Championship because football is a big business and get's a lot of coverage. Also, the most iconic building in the area (Dudley Castle) needs to be protected. I've herd that they want to build houses on the castles grounds.
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Old November 16th, 2006, 03:17 AM   #74
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It sepends on what you mean by "the Black Country". I think officially it covers a smaller area than is largly thought. I may need Stockport-dweller Martin G's help on this but I think, for example, Wolverhampton proper and Walsall proper are officially not in the Black Country. Whereas the likes of Bilston and Darlaston are. Dudley is, Sedgley isn't. Stourbridge, Wordsley and Kingswinford aren't but Lye is. Something like that anyway!
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Old November 16th, 2006, 03:27 AM   #75
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Quote:
Originally Posted by van heckler View Post
Last month, Albion played Wolves in the first Black Country derby in several years and I was expecting to see a lot of coverage on the T.V about the game but it seemed to be over shadowed by the Man United v Liverpool match, a common fixture that happens 2 to 3 times a season. It's as if no one really knew or cared about how important the Albion v Wolves game was.
Wolves and WBA fans are kind of split down the middle here in Sedgley which can make it awkward. My dad's family always supported Wolves but the other side of my family who live just round the corner are WBA supporters. Same at school. I once took a Wolves bag to school with me when I was about 7 or 8 and got quite aggressively teased about it. I never took it again even though other people took theirs. I hated football from that day I think.
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Old November 16th, 2006, 10:04 AM   #76
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Ah - I love the Black Country. I think it has retained a sense of history much better than Brum.

One of the problems is that the BC is riddled with deprivation, and as mentioned in the posts above, doesn't actually know what it is. I have always know the BC as everything west of Brum (in the conurbation of course) minus Walsall and Wolves.

Now, it isn't a solve-all, but IMO there are a few things that the BC needs to do/sort (and this applies to Walsall/Wolves too):

- Transport. Each town should have a direct link to Birmingham. It is crazy that a place like Dudley does not allow its commuters to get to the largest city in the area quickly. A clear distinct BC Spine Road is required, as is a connection to Brum without the hassle of places like Soho Road and all the traffic.

- Council. Maybe the BC councils should think about doing things differently? Should Sandwell & Dudley merge? Maybe the councils can be structured differently? Maybe it's my perception, but Wolves and Walsall councils seem to be getting their act together whereas Sandwell and Dudley are floundering. IMO it is damaging to Sandwell having the council spread across the towns. The council should be focussed on one, which will boost that particular town (probably West Brom?) and the other towns should focus on providing local facilities.

- Image/Marketing. The BC should advertise itself as a place to do business/manufacture/distribute goods. That is what it is good at and is still a strong point. In order to attract business it will HAVE to provide local amenities for culture, sport, leisure, education, and should do that and advertise it. It should be a proud statement for a business to be located in the Black Country.

- Education. BC education is notoriously poor. Government money is required, new schools (they are in the pipeline) and a clear path from school to empolyment (via college/uni/training). Pairing up companies and schools would be good. Any why not be daring and insist that the BLACK COUNTRY IS THE FIRST PLACE IN THE UK WHERE MINIMUM SCHOOL LEAVING AGE IS 18?

But generally - tie-up with Brum as the 'anchor' advertise proximity to Birmingham, and BC will be seen as an alternative to Brum.

Oh, and get a couple of footie teams high in the premiership - great advertising
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Old November 16th, 2006, 03:10 PM   #77
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Thanks for all your intial comments guys.

Yeh, I think there will always be a problem with incorperating the Black Country into SSC because of what this site first and foremost deals with - BIG buildings! But I don't think it will be impossible and may be easier than we think considering the vastness of the BC and the number of people who are affected by transport, construction, sport issues etc, that are often hotly discussed topics elsewhere on this site.

Quote:
Originally Posted by van heckler View Post
I'm technically from the Black Country as I was born in Wordsley and I think another reason (other then the lack of tall buildings) why it's not a common talking point on these forums is because outside of the Midlands, it's not really known all that well...

...A few years back, I was in a UK chatroom (sad I know) and someone asked me where I was from, I said the Black Country and the next thing I knew, people were accusing me of being a racist. Another time, I was added into an MSN conversation with some retards from Liverpool and when they found out I was from the Black Country they started calling me a... well... I don't want to repeat what they said, but they used a nasty, racist, term.
I am absolutely astounded by this! I can't believe that folks are that naive, idiotic, sheltered, bigoted etc, etc and that this sort of misunderstanding about the name 'Black Country' still exists. It does show we've got some work to do and that maybe SSC could be a starting place for this.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Butterfield View Post
It sepends on what you mean by "the Black Country". I think officially it covers a smaller area than is largly thought. I may need Stockport-dweller Martin G's help on this but I think, for example, Wolverhampton proper and Walsall proper are officially not in the Black Country. Whereas the likes of Bilston and Darlaston are. Dudley is, Sedgley isn't. Stourbridge, Wordsley and Kingswinford aren't but Lye is. Something like that anyway!
I'm aware of the contention that exists around this! The Black Country was historically a lot more compact than it is now. However, all four of the councils have come together under the BC banner to promote tourism in the area and many people from elsewhere will just asume that Wolves or Walsall are entirely within the BC simply because they've put there name to it.
The Black Country Museum are another very important player to throw in to the mix - a few years back I heard the then manager of the museum say that the BC now consited of all of the four boroughs (his words!). The museum also takes buildings from across the area, such as Rolfe St Baths in Smethwick, which was definitely not in the historic BC but seems to be in the modern one.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Biosonic View Post
Ah - I love the Black Country. I think it has retained a sense of history much better than Brum...

...But generally - tie-up with Brum as the 'anchor' advertise proximity to Birmingham, and BC will be seen as an alternative to Brum.

Oh, and get a couple of footie teams high in the premiership - great advertising
This I think is the key point. I don't think the Black Country would appretiate being 'absorbed' into Birmingham, and I don't think anyone on this site has ever suggested that it should be. I agree that Birmingham should be the anchor for national and particularly European funding bids (coz this is what it all comes down to in the end isn't it? £££'s!)
The Black Country is more useful to Birmingham as a supportive partner than a reluctant one. And Birmingham is more useful to the Black Country as the magnet or hub that brings people to the area so that it can show off what it's got!

Finnally, one way to up the profile could be a 'Black Country' Sticky at the top of the Brum Metro Area thread. I used to know BC folk who wouldn't talk to you if you called them a Brummie and many may be put off joining the site when they see themselves being grouped in with them (I know there only so many things you can call the West Mids!). What do people think, it might be a way of getting more local people to join and bolster the Midlands numbers on SSC?
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Old November 16th, 2006, 03:11 PM   #78
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WOODY! Sticky please
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Old November 16th, 2006, 03:33 PM   #79
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Quote:
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WOODY! Sticky please
Thanks Bio. It's only a suggestion however and I would only want it to happen if it was agreed by all!

I just want to raise the genaral profile of the Black Country. When we're in conversation with other forumers from elsewhere, if we're talking about Brum then we're generally NOT talking about the BC. How do we widen the conversation with others and big-up the BC in the process to make people realise how important it is? - cause if there's one thing I'm sure about it's that the Black Country is vital.
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Old November 16th, 2006, 03:55 PM   #80
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We just need to be kept abreast of what is going on in the BC. Many of us see Birmingham City Centre everyday so wonder what is goig on here, there etc. Visits to the BC are more infrequent.

Any progress pics on The Public in West Brom would be nice, and once the Waterfront in Walsall is underway I think interest will be piqued
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