Dudley is an industrial city that developed during the Industrial Revolution as a mining and metallurgical center. The famous Black Country industrial open-air museum is located here, the surrounding post-industrial areas were turned into picturesque nature reserves at the turn of the 20th and 21st centuries.
The city has existed since the Middle Ages and was a trade and craft center. Its importance began to grow rapidly at the end of the 18th century, when coal and iron ore deposits were discovered in the area. Dudley was one of the pioneers of the English Industrial Revolution and remained the center of the mining and heavy industries until the second half of the 20th century.
The ruins of Dudley Castle are the oldest building in town. They stand on a hill that can be accessed both by footpaths and the Dudley Chairlift. The grounds around the castle host the Dudley Zoo, which has a large collection of endangered animals from around the world. The beginnings of the zoo date back to 1930, when the first animals were brought to his property by the then owner. The zoo in its present shape was opened in 1978 and now, after revitalization, it is one of the most modern facilities in this part of England.
From the 18th century, Dudley and the surrounding area were an important center of hard coal mining. The entire region was then called the Black Country because of the color of coal and coal dust that could be seen on all buildings, streets and vegetation. To this day, only single panes and buildings used for other purposes have remained of the former industrial facilities. Dudley's industrial past is remembered by the Black Country open-air museum, which is its greatest attraction. It is a living museum occupying a 19th century industrial district and recreating the realities of life and work of the workers of the time.
The grounds around Dudley have been devastated by industrial activity in the past. When mines and other plants were closed, nature began to return to its place. The Bumble Hole reserve with numerous canals, lakes and groves has been established on the former mine sites. In turn, the attraction of the Saltwells reserve are brine springs. Dudley and the surrounding area of industrial heritage include the Dudley Canal. Formerly used to transport excavated material from mines, it is now used by canoeists and for rafting on boats and barges.