14th July 2020 by

Black Country Day

Black Country Day takes place on 14 July each year. Originally in March, the day was later moved to 14 July – the anniversary of the invention of the Newcomen steam engine. Black Country Day celebrates the area’s role in the Industrial Revolution.

The Black Country dialect is well known by many as the oldest form of the English language.

“‘Ow B’ist,” or “Ow b’ist gooin” (How are you/ how are you going), to which typical responses would be “Bostin’, ah kid” (Bostin’ means “Busting”, as in breaking) or “‘Bay too bad,” or even “bay three bad” (“I be not too bad”/ I’m not too bad).

One participant in the “Where’s our Spake Gone” project related the following: “Day say yom call oos rabbits up ere. I say We day, dey say yow say “Tah rah rabbits”. We’m say Tah-Ra a bit, ‘n to dem, it sound like we’m calling dem rabbits.” (“They say you call us rabbits there, I said we don’t, (but) they say you say “Tah Rah Rabbits”. We say “Tah Rah A bit” (Tah Rah for a little while) and to them, it sounds like we are calling them rabbits.”).

Carol Thompson the curator “The Making of Mordor” at Wolverhampton Art Gallery in the last quarter of 2014 stated that Tolkien’s description of the grim region of Mordor “resonates strongly with contemporary accounts of the Black Country”, in The Lord of the Rings.


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