Page last updated at 11:39 GMT, Wednesday, 6 August 2008 12:39 UK

Black Country 'is put on the map'

Map of the Black Country

Campaigners have won their fight to have the Black Country mentioned on Ordnance Survey (OS) maps.

A spokesman for the OS said maps of the area previously called "Birmingham and Wolverhampton" would be changed to "Birmingham and the Black Country".

The Black Country Chamber of Commerce had led the campaign to help raise the profile of the area nationally.

The area includes towns and villages west of Birmingham but its exact boundaries are frequently debated.

Traditionally it is seen as the area where the coal seam came to the surface and includes West Bromwich, Oldbury, Blackheath, Cradley Heath, Old Hill, Bilston, Dudley, Tipton, Wednesfield and parts of Halesowen, Wednesbury and Walsall.

Something we found was that people could not get to the Black Country - they didn't know where it was

Peter Matthews, Black Country Chamber of Commerce

It roughly corresponds with the boroughs of Wolverhampton, Walsall, Sandwell and Dudley, although Wolverhampton itself, Smethwick and Stourbridge are often considered to be outside its boundaries.

In February, Stourbridge MP Lynda Watho tabled an early day motion in Parliament calling for the Black Country to be recognised in its own right on the maps.

The chamber of commerce won the backing of four councils - Wolverhampton, Sandwell, Dudley and Walsall - which persuaded the OS to change the maps.

A spokesman for the OS said it had proved too difficult to mark the boundaries of the Black Country on the map itself, because of debates over the exact area.

However, he said a "compromise" had been reached by renaming the map.

Peter Mathews
Peter Mathews said people in the area were "very proud"

He said: "When people go into bookshops, they look for the place names, and that's when they'll see the area of the Black Country mentioned."

The spokesman added that copies of the new maps would be printed in time to show local MPs in September, but no date had yet been set for them to go on general release.

Peter Mathews, of the chamber of commerce, said: "Something we found was that people could not get to the Black Country - they didn't know where it was.

"We needed some sort of campaign to get the Black Country recognised officially as an area in its own right.

"The people who work here are very proud, and work ethics are good. There is a lot of business here, but we do miss the opportunity sometimes if people cannot get here."


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