Black Country Hardware, Hollowware and Household Goods

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The Crystal Palace was made in the Black Country: the iron superstructure was cast in Cochrane’s foundry in Dudley and Chance Brothers & Co of Smethwick supplied the glass (all 293,655 sheets) – but inside the Palace, the presence of the Black Country was muted.

Two massive slabs of the Staffordshire Thick coal from collieries in Tipton were displayed outside the western entrance. The largest weighed thirteen tons and had been brought up to the surface in one piece. However, the number of exhibitors from Black Country towns – despite its fame as an industrial area – was 68: less than the 230 from Birmingham.

There were 35 exhibitors from Wolverhampton, allocated across the 30 classes of material in the British section, with fewer contributions from Dudley, Stourbridge, Willenhall and Walsall. Whilst leading manufacturers were present, there were notable gaps.

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