Express & Star

51 photos of villages near the Black Country from the past that'll make you long for a simpler time

Villages are a big part of our region – some are scattered around our towns and cities and some have been swallowed by them.

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Some of the pictures in our archive date back to the early 1900s.

But all are connected by a sense of community and tied by a proud history.

Today we look at seven villages that are a big part of our region, with pictures from the Express & Star archive.

Some are grainy black and white images from more than a century before, when horse-drawn travel was the norm.

Others reflect progress and modernisation – and many feature the faces of those who called their village home.


The first pupils at St Bernadette's School, Wombourne, in 1969.
1968 - The railway line has become a dumping ground and eyesore.
1975 - Equipped with paddles and lifejackets, girls from Ounsdale Comprehensive School, Wombourne, and Gnosall Comprehensive School, near Stafford.
1973 - Wombourne Tories are facing a stiff battle in the village's property market.
A cricket scene on Wombourne's village green taken in July 1935. The image has appeared national, including in adverts for the Standard Motor Company in the 1950s. Cricket is still part of village life.
1972 - A £240 church organ which now calls a £9,000 tune was the subject of a special opening and rededication service at Wombourne during the weekend. Church organist, Mr Kenneth Hodson, is pictured playing for the first hymn at Saturday's service. The organ, built in 1891, was bought by the Wombourne Methodist Church in 1918. But a £2,000 improvement scheme has brought the 672-pipe instrument's value soaring to the £9,000 mark...' Wombourne church organ. Date stamp: March 6, 1972.
1975 - Members of the Wombourne Mountaineering Club have formed a 24-strong mountain rescue team which will be used to back up other teams in the country.
1954 - Despite the modern registration letters, this 3 h.p. Royal Enfield motor cycle dates from 1916. Mr J.G. Boulton, of Wombourn (sic), is riding it in tomorrow's sixth annual Oxford to Banbury run organised by the Vintage Motor Cycle Club.
An aerial view of Wombourne taken in July, 1969, showing the numerous post-war housing developments.


1938 - Lying back off the main Wellington to Shifnal road (sic - Oaken is actually near Codsall) at Oaken is this old-world thatched cottage. It was formerly a coach house where letters were dropped for distribution in the area.
1962 - This picture was published in the Express and Star during the Queen's visit to Wolverhampton of May 24, 1962, with the following caption: 'Three sisters who had never seen the Queen but who intended to change that today.
1971 - Codsall Station as the 8.15am train pulls in.
1975 - A whispering wizard, a trick-weaver high-eyebrowed with shiny forehead, he conjures metaphysical marvels around his air-curving, dreaming fingertips.