An exhibition displayed as part of The Black Country Echoes Festival brings together five collections by documenters of the Black Country Post war era. Collectively their images span early 1960’s – the present day and show local communities, landscape and manufacturing history. 20 images were selected from each collection to be projected larger than life on 4 walls for an immersive experience. Their images could also be seen in publicity material for the festival and linking with other art work and other venues as a thread throughout the festival.
Arthur Lockwood occupies a unique position among the painters of the post-war landscape of the Black Country. Intriguingly, his work also shuns the pastoral and picturesque subjects used by other watercolourists. Instead, he focusses on industrial subjects – working factories as well as the disused and derelict. Arthur has been widely acknowledged for the quality of his paintings; he has exhibited in Birmingham and Dudley and is a member of the Royal Society of British Artists.
This collection by the photojournalist John Bulmer is from his early work for Town Magazine and creates an atmospheric impression of life in the Black Country in 1961. Following this work John went on to become the British pioneer of colour photography working for Sunday Times Magazine from its inception until making a move into filming and directing documentaries shown on the BBC, National Geographic and the Discovery Channel.
© John Bulmer
Jubilee Arts based in West Bromwich was renowned for street theatre, play schemes, community festivals, murals and Theatre-in-Education projects. Over 20,000 negative and colour transparencies chronicles artist activists and the diverse communities they worked with in The Black Country between 1974 and 1994, a repository of archival material from this significant historical period. Laundry has secured Heritage Lottery and Arts Council funding to preserve and showcase the archive.
© Jubilee Archive
Nick Hedges has created an unprecedented photographic record of the everyday working lives of people in the Black Country.
Taken in the 1960s and 70s, his images were intended to be an interpretation of modern industrial labour – they became an historical record sooner than could have been expected.
His photographs are respectful and attentive; they capture the power and hostility of the industrial surroundings as well as the intimacy and humour of people at work.
© Nick Hedges, from the image collection of Wolverhampton Archives and Local Studies
Peter Donnelly’s beautiful, evocative photos were taken in the early 1960s at a time when much of the ‘old’ Black Country was still visible – steels works, steam trains, and pit heads. Sadly, Peter is no longer with us but the legacy of his images leaves us feeling that he was all too aware that the landscape was changing.
We are grateful to his son Simon for allowing us to use them.
© Simon Donnelly.