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Guide to resources held

Areas covered

We collect material relating to the area of the present Dudley Metropolitan Borough.

There is also some coverage of Cradley Heath and Old Hill, although these are in Sandwell Metropolitan Borough, and some parts of South Staffordshire, in particular Himley.

The Online Catalogue contains descriptions relating to the holdings of the Dudley Archives and Local History Centre. These collections include manuscripts, books, photographs, oral history recordings, newspapers and news cuttings, maps and plans, as well as many other types of material which you may find of interest.

Please visit the Black Country History website to discover more about the historic objects and documents cared for by museums and archives in the Black Country.

The Access to Archives (A2A) database contains catalogues describing archives held locally in England and Wales.

You can find a Black and Asian source list of records held at Dudley Archives and Local History Service at the foot of this page.

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Parish records

There are many classes of parish records reflecting both the parish’s ecclesiastical and civil functions. The most widely used by far, however, are parish registers of baptism, marriage and burial. Parish registers are particularly useful for family historians, and they are the best source of personal information about individuals before the beginning of civil registration in 1837. 

:: more on Parish Records



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Maps and plans

Various classes of maps exist in The Archives' collection covering the whole of the present Dudley Borough, although some areas are better covered than others.  First edition Ordnance Survey maps date from around 1880 and we hold all but the current edition, which can be seen at Dudley Reference Library.  When combined with our selection of tithe and manuscript maps, the urban development of the Borough can be traced even further back.

:: more on Maps and Plans

Poor Law

The Archives holds material for both the Old Poor Law, mainly being the records of the Overseers of the Poor, and the New Poor Law, the more familiar Poor Law Unions.  Dare you discover the records of the dreaded workhouse and delve into another world?

:: more on the Old Poor Law

:: more on the New Poor Law

Image of Newspapers held by DALHS


The Archives stores a wide selection of newspapers, the earliest being the Wolverhampton Chronicle (from 1830) and The Brierley Hill Advertiser (from 1856).  Newspapers were circulated widely, the area determined by commercial factors, not county or ecclesiastical boundaries and provincial newspapers would cover a wide geographical area.

:: more on Newspapers

Printed sources

Trade directories list, by parish, private residents (middle and upper classes) and tradespeople.  This can help locate a family, or confirm the existence of a particular firm.  Not everyone is listed in a trade directory.  

Newspapers can obtain obituaries, details of funerals, notices of christenings, marriages, burials, details of coroners inquests, accidents and court proceedings.  We only have indexes to 19th century newspapers.

It is also worth checking whether pedigrees, biographies and family trees have already been produced for the family in which you are interested. 


The Archives stores a wide selection of photographs which are available to view.  These range from old photographs of the borough's localities, to images of rural and urban life from the late 19th century to the modern day.

:: more photographs from the past

Other sources


My Dudley

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