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Earl of Dudley Estate Collection: 14 January - July 2014

The Earl of Dudley Estate Collection exhibition runs from 14 January through to July 2014 at The Archives and Local History Centre, Tipton Road (next to the Black Country Living Museum).

The Collection is the largest single collection held at The Archives. It contains around 9,000 documents, 350 volumes and 2,000 rolled maps and plans. This treasure trove of records spans eight centuries of history and includes the archives’ oldest item – a papal bull of 1182 granting churches and land to the Prior of Dudley.

Earl of Dudley Estate Collection - Works

From twelfth-century land grants to twentieth-century coal mining statistics, the collection demonstrates the administrative foundations of a large landed estate heavily involved in industry. The Earl of Dudley Estate covered a large swath of land in Worcestershire and Staffordshire encompassing Dudley, Himley, Belbroughton, Broome, Kingswinford, Rowley Regis, Sedgley, Tipton, Wombourne, Great Witley and Kidderminster.

Given the importance of the Earl of Dudley Estate in industrial enterprise – and the sheer expanse of the estate’s landholdings – the collection gives a unique insight into the changing landscape and industrial development of the Black Country. However, the collection is not limited to the shores of Britain: there are also records concerning the Dudley’s Jamaican estates and the time when the 2nd Earl of Dudley was Governor General of Australia.

Earl of Dudley Estate Collection - Scrolls

In 2013, work began on the Earl of Dudley project funded by a substantial grant from the National Cataloguing Grants Programme. The project was to fully catalogue the collection which will ultimately be available to visitors shortly.

Two project workers, a project archivist and assistant worked solely on the collection. A team of volunteers helped with general typing, transcribing and indexing, and repackaging the collection.

To learn how the project developed view the estate collection newsletters below.