Word of the Day

the Black Country

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Liz Potter
Written by Liz Potter


an area in the Midlands, in the central part of the UK, where in the past there were many factories that produced a lot of smoke

View the full definition in the Macmillan Dictionary.

Origin and usage

The area known as The Black Country was first referred to as such in print in the mid 19th century.


In addition to being Bastille Day, Tuesday was Black Country Day, a day to celebrate the part of the English Midlands that consists of the towns and cities of Walsall, Wolverhampton, Sandwell and Dudley and their surrounding villages and rural areas. The Black Country is thought to have got its name from the smoke and soot produced by the heavy industries that from the time of the Industrial Revolution until the late 20th century blackened its air and buildings and provided a living for its inhabitants. Now that heavy industry has mostly gone, although manufacturing and construction still dominate for the time being. The area must reinvent itself in the 21st century, perhaps by embracing the Green Industrial Revolution with its promise of skilled, well-paid jobs in new industries that will help the country achieve its climate change goals and net zero targets for carbon emissions.


Ours has always been a region that made things. As my father-in-law used to say ‘if you can draw it, we can make it’.
(Liam Byrne)

“Not enough is done to promote the Black Country as a place to start a career and to address the general negative publicity about the area.
(enTenTen15 corpus)

Related words

the Rust Belt, the Corn Belt, Merseyside, the Midlands, Tyneside

Browse related words in the Macmillan Thesaurus.

About the author

Liz Potter

Liz Potter

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