Dudley is at the heart of the region of central England known as the Black Country, so called due to the pollution caused by its coal and iron trades. There has been a settlement in the area for over a thousand years. It was first mentioned in the Domesday Book, and was known as Duddeleye in medieval times. This book can only reflect a small fraction of the changes that have happened to selected parts of the Borough during its recent past but still hopes to give a flavour of Dudley's rich heritage. In 1966 and again in 1974 the County Borough of Dudley was reorganised and merged with its neighbours of Sedgley, Brierley Hill, Coseley, Stourbridge and Halesowen to form the current Dudley Metropolitan Borough. This volume only deals with the area covered by the former County Borough which was, uniquely, an island of Worcestershire surrounded by Staffordshire.