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Dudley shouts about its historic treasures
Dudley Castle
Dudley Castle was constructed in 1070 by Ansculf of Picquigny (Normandy)

There's a wealth of places to visit in Dudley - hidden gems - but what is on the doorstep is often overlooked.

Dudley has historic houses and hotels, even English Heritage Grade I registered parks and gardens.

Most people know and love Dudley Zoo and the Black Country Living Museum - but what about the places of historical significance?

Penny Russell who's in charge of tourism in Dudley says it's time to start shouting about what the area has to offer.

"We really do need to start shouting out about what there is in Dudley," says Penny.

"I'm amazed at what is here and if it was anywhere else we'd be shouting from the rooftops. There's a responsibility from the council and the tourism businesses, but also from the local people."

English heritage

BBC WM went on the road and asked people in Dudley what they really loved about the borough and what they wanted to shout to the rest of the country - and the world about!

Leasowes

Helen Edwards is a warden at Leasowes - it's listed Grade I on English Heritage's Register of Parks and Gardens of Special Historic Interest in England, covering 58 hectares.

"There's absolutely tonnes of wildlife which is very important in urban areas," says Helen. "We've got extensive woodland and grassland - there's lakes, ponds and streams, so it's a wonderful place to come and visit."

But it's not just the wildlife that makes the site important as Antony Ravenscroft from Dudley Countryside Services told us.

"There's an historic house once owned by William Shenstone (an English poet and one of the earliest practitioners of landscape gardening).

"He came back to his father's farm in 1742 and started to design a landscape. Because he wasn't the richest landowner, he designed it in keeping with its natural environment."

Blenheim, Stowe and Leasowes

"William died at an early age, but following on from his death, it became famous and The Leasowes became part of the European tour.

Leasowes Park
The Leasowes has special historic interest

"People came from around the world - to see Venice, Paris, and they'd come to Leasowes to see this designed landscape.

"Even today we're internationally known for the designed landscape. It's Grade I listed on English Heritage's Parks and Gardens register and we sit at the same level as Blenheim and Stowe and places like that.

"If you do Garden History at university anywhere in the world - you'll cover The Leasowes. We get visitors from Australia , France, Japan, the USA. It really is an international site bringing visitors to the Black Country and Dudley from all over the world."

Manufacturing legacy

Another internationally renowned treasure is the Red House Glass Cone in Stourbridge.

Red House Cone

It was built at the end of the 18th century and was used for the manufacture of glass until 1936 - it is now one of only four cones left in the United Kingdom.

"It was opened in its present form in 2002," says Sarah Hall, the visitor services manager. "The idea was to build a lovely new visitor centre, but also to create some studios for one off businesses.

"We've got glass artists, we've got textile artists and pottery artists on the site.

"The cone itself was also preserved. It's one of the best preserved cones in Europe. There are only four left in the UK.

"You can still come to the site now and watch glass making happening in the centre of the cone itself."

Charlotte Hughes-Martin has a studio at the Red House Glass Cone. She says: "It's just such a fantastic building and its at the centre of the glass industry in the UK."

A glorious past

The old Station Hotel and Dudley Hippodrome

There are so many quirky places and buildings with a great history in Dudley and the Station Hotel is an example of this.

It was built in the 1890s, opposite what is now the Gala Bingo, but what used to be the Hippodrome back in the 1940s.

It was a real hive of activity in those days. Stars who performed at the Hippodrome would often stay at the Station Hotel - the likes of George Formby, Bing Crosby, and Laurel and Hardy.

Jason, one of the managers at The Station Hotel, believes Dudley needs to put itself firmly on the map: "It's a beautiful town, really historic, a lot of history - but a lot of it's been forgotten."

For more on Dudley visit the Dudley Council website.




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