The region lies at the heart of British steel and engineering industries. It is a place which, in the 19th Century, earned the description "workshop of the world", in this place a unique class of factory workers (generation upon generation over two centuries and more) which knew well the sound of metal and the clamour of machinery. In this century, it is a place which has known prosperous times The slump in the 30's affected workers in the Midlands less than most, yet it is here, ironically, that the slump of the 80's seems to wreak most havoc.
- Introduction to 'Born to Work - Images of Factory Life by Nick Hedges', 1982
From an ongoing series of photographs taken in the Black Country, these images look at vestiges of past industrial might on this urban area of the West Midlands. The photographs explore the half abandoned sites of former factories which once employed thousands of workers. Many of these sites no longer exist, either torn down, redeveloped or built upon. GriffIn Woodhouse, a chain factory in Cradley Heath is the only working factory I photographed, though I didn't realise it when I first encountered it. With a handful of (very lovely and helpful) workers on a half derelict sight, it's a beauty to behold.