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Black Country, England

Last modified: 2012-08-03 by rob raeside
Keywords: west midlands | black country |
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[Black Country] image by Philip Tibbetts, 7 April 2009

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About the Flag

About 4 years after I first emailed you about a flag for the Black Country I am very proud to say that the area now has a registered flag (see This is a different flag, attached, from the one originally proposed. It has been registered after a public competition and vote.

Gracie Sheppard of Redhill School, Stourbridge won - a description of the design can be found at Nearly 1500 votes were cast in total. The flag will be flown by the museum and will go on sale to the public. The earlier proposal did sterling work raising the issue of a flag in the area and can retire with dignity now!
Philip Tibbetts, 17 July 2012

Black Country flag from the UK Flag Registry:
Flag Type - Regional Flag
Flag Date - 14th July 2012
Designer - Gracie Sheppard of Redhill School, Stourbridge
Adoption Route - Popular Vote
Aspect Ratio - 3:5
Pantone Colours - Black, White, Red 186
Certification - Flag Institute Chief Vexillologist, Graham Bartram

The design was the winner of a competition run by the Black Country Living Museum.
The flag features a chain to represent the manufacturing heritage of the area whilst the upright triangular shape in the background recalls the iconic glass cones and iron furnaces that featured in the architectural landscape of the area. The red and black colours recall the famous description of the Black Country by Elihu Burrit that it was "black by day and red by night" owing to the smoke and fires of industry.

Black Country Flag
The Black Country is a traditional area that straddles the counties of Staffordshire and Worcestershire. The unveiling was the culmination of the Black Country Living Museumís festival of steam which saw the 300th anniversary of the first ever operational steam engine, which was erected in the Black Country. Gracie won £200 and the runners up received £100 for their efforts.
Jason Saber, 17 July 2012

Coat of Arms

[Black Country] by Philip Tibbetts, 22 March 2008

The coat of arms was featured at the centre [of a previous version of the flag proposal].
Philip Tibbetts, 22 March 2008

Earlier proposal

[Black Country] image by Philip Tibbetts, 7 April 2009

I am championing the aim for the Black Country region of the British Midlands to get its own flag. Yesterday's Express & Star newspaper featured an article on my flag and the other symbols that I have designed:

By creating a standard, Philip Tibbetts hopes he will put the Black Country region on the official map. The unique flag has been designed to help the region achieve official recognition. The engineering project manager, who indulges in a spot of graphic design in his spare time, has also designed a coat of arms and tartan-style plaid pattern.
   Mr. Tibbetts's efforts will add weight to the campaign, which has been launched by Linda Waltho, the MP for Stourbridge. She recently tabled a motion in the House of Commons calling for the Black Country to finally be recognised by the Ordnance Survey. The Black Country is said to have gained its name in the mid-19th century from the smoke from the many thousands of ironworking foundries and forges. Other theories mention the abundant coal in the region. The Black Country Chamber of Commerce describes the region as the four boroughs of Wolverhampton, Dudley, Walsall and Sandwell.
   Mr. Tibbetts' black, red and yellow flag is divided by a diagonal cross taken from the ancient Mercian flag and features a chain to represent the heavy industry which used to dominate the area. The four arms of the cross represent the four boroughs of the Black Country and the flag's motto is 'Black by day and red by night'. Mr. Tibbetts, who grew up in Halesowen but is now based in Preston, said he hoped the designs would boost pride in the area.

The flag is made but currently used mainly at promotional events and not actually flown. I have recently been interviewed about the flag on BBC Radio and now features an article on the flag and an article on its meaning. I've also got the support of local personality and historian Carl Chinn. Owing to my radio interview a local clothing company has got in touch with the idea of using the flag as part of their designs which I have fully agreed to.
Philip Tibbetts, 22 March 2008

The article posted at shows a different version of this flag, with the fly quarter red, and containing a sun and a star. The chain is also simplified.
Aleksandar Nemet, 9 October 2009