Working with Dudley Creative we have secured funding to engage people with the importance of protecting the canals and to create an art installation based around the original message in the bottle which formed us.

By engaging with the local youth, community groups and volunteers we have been busy cleaning up the canals and collecting over 60 dumped bottles. These bottles have been filled with people’s memories and favourite parts of Dudley and have been put on display on a ledge for all to see, just like Cliff did when he appealed for help to preserve this amazing environment.

It was important to us that the project was not just about the final part of the activities, the display but it was a journey of many activities and outputs, engaging with the canal, helping clean up the community, coming together to remember and think about the place we live, have activities for all to enjoy and get involved with. We were formed because of the passions of youth over sixty years ago, we wanted to instil this passion in youth going forward and show from what may seem a little action, a legacy can be wrought.

That said, the final art installation is a fitting reminder that we have been guardians of the canals, caverns and mines for over sixty years. 

The Canal Clean Up Crew

This project was always about involving our local community and helping them to be a part of their heritage, as well as looking forward to the future by taking care of our canals and reflecting on the places, projects and communities we want to support into the future. Although no projects come without their own unique hurdles, I’m proud to say that we have achieved this. By breaking up our project into smaller pieces, we were able to make being a part of ‘A Bottle of Dudley’s Legacy’ accessible to more groups of people. We reached out to wonderful groups like The Fibromyalgia Support Group in Brierly Hill, our very own Chit Chat members, and even boating festival goers to help us write the messages for our bottles. The bottles that were taken out of the canal by the younger members of our communities alongside their families were then cleaned and prepared for the installation by another wonderful group of people called The Green Team.

This was by all means, a group effort, and couldn’t have been done without the participation, support and engagement of the community. Thank you for making it possible. It’s been a pleasure to be able to work with you all to celebrate our history as well as working towards the future.

Best wishes,


Project Lead


 Thank you to everyone who took time to write a message or record a memory of the area for us. It was not possible to put them all in bottles, so we have included as many as we could here for your enjoyment.

Lorna W

The history of the area, the beauty of the open areas.

The people and their spirit.

Orange chips, grey peas and bacon bits and blue pop!


When I was a child I remember playing in the caves. I also remember my uncles stealing coal off the back of the boats by Netherton Tunnel because those days they had no money, most of the children did it then.

But my favourite thing in the Black Country if the Wolves.

Maggie W

My family are all from the Black Country.

Our name is Shillingford and we kept the boats in Wordsley.

Also we have the history of the family living on the canal boats.


I love living in the Black Country because a lot of people believe we are the friendliest people in the country.

I always say people take me the way I am or not at all.

It’s their loss not mine.

Graham H

The old museum and library in Dudley.

They were such grand buildings when I was little, tall, dark and decorative, it felt special when we were allowed to go in them.


Being moored at Bumble Hole and heading towards Dudley Tunnel and we got                  stranded on a car in the middle of the canal. We had to be pulled off it before canal clearance.


Walking the dog through Bumble Hole and seeing the Morris dancers usher in the seasons.

Berry picking along the canals.


I love the lake at Himley Hall. Walking round Ridge Hill Woods.

Loved the canal walk between Wordsley and the Stewpony


I hope the caverns will continue to welcome visitors for many years to come.


Black Country Museum and how history is still being kept. The mines, it feels like you go back in time.


I remember as a child our yearly outing to Dudley Zoo and castle.

Fond memories of family picnics in the castle grounds with Mom, Dad and Big Sister.


As a child I was brought up on the Wren’s Nest. I Loved it. I used to go Blackberry picking, when they were out. I have been down the seven sisters caves. If I could turn the clock back for a few days.


Proud to be part of the Industrial Revolution


Faggot’s, Peas and Gravy.


Batham’s Beer!


Grey Peas and Bacon.


Battered chips.


The people, community and green spaces.


I love the Black Country. I find the Black Country people are very friendly and the Black Country history is the greatest.


Wonderful friendly people. Pork baps with gravy and stuffing, making grotty pudding, Saltwells bluebells and chain makers history.

Phil W

Preserve the history and traditions of the area.

Local industry and links to the canal system.


I did enjoy a time when I returned a boat from Stourbridge to Dudley one November day.

Had a nice cosy fire in the cabin.


Good memories of walking the Netherton tunnel taking a group of children one Christmas time.

Heather W

Walking to the Pound Tipton every Sunday with my grandad. He would get a pint from the pub for him and a Vimto for me. I would read my library books and we would spend many happy hours watching the world go by.

This project is funded by Dudley Metropoitan Borough Council and supported by Creative Black Country, as part of Arts Council England’s Creative People and Places Scheme, and CoLab Dudley.