Walsall, a large industrial town with a population of approximately 180,000 people is situated in the West Midlands. It is 13 miles North West of Birmingham city centre and borders the Black Country.
Walsall itself was transformed by the Industrial Revolution due to the increase in industries such as quarrying (for limestone), mining for coal, and metalwork for the production of chains and other important industrial necessities. It was later fames for its association with leather. Leather production earned it a reputation as the “Leather Capital” of Britain. This is a tradition that is carried on to this day, with many leather producers still working in the area. The Leather Centre Museum examines this important part of the town’s history and allows people to explore the activity that largely made Walsall what it is today.
The New Art Gallery in Walsall has been open to the public since 2000 and contains a range of art from the historic to the contemporary, including works by Epstein, Monet, Constable, Turner, Renoir and Van Gogh. They run a varied programme of events throughout the year and exhibitions are constantly changing. The gallery focuses on education and promotion of art made accessible for all. Even the building the gallery is housed in is of significance, designed as part of an open international competition it attracts attention from those with an interest in architecture as well as those interested in its artistic contents.
Walsall Museum is in the centre of the town and houses some very extensive collections. The museum contains diverse collections, from artefacts from the area’s industrial past to items from both world wars right through to The Hodson Shop, an exhibition of everyday clothes from the 1920s to the 1970s, giving a rare view into real clothing and textiles from each era. Local figures of interest are also represented, most notable the writer Jerome K. Jerome who was from the area.
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