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In addition, the regeneration of the area by local and national government has brought official recognition to the region and has, to some extent, defined its boundary.The Black Country has no single set of defined boundaries.The name is believed to come from the soot from the heavy industries that covered the area, although the 30-foot-thick (10 metre) coal seam close to the surface is another possible origin.Although the heavy polluting industry that gave the region its name has long since disappeared, a sense of shared history and tradition in the area has kept the term in use.The first recorded use of the term "the Black Country" may be from a toast given by a Mr Simpson, town clerk to Lichfield, addressing a Reformer's meeting on 24 November 1841, published in the Staffordshire Advertiser.He describes going into the "black country" of Staffordshire - Wolverhampton, Bilston and Tipton.Warley is also included, despite lacking industry and canals, as housing for industrial workers in Smethwick and Oldbury was built there.

Bilston-born Samuel Griffiths, in his 1876 Griffiths Guide to the Iron Trade of Great Britain , stated "The Black Country commences at Wolverhampton, extends a distance of sixteen miles to Stourbridge, eight miles to West Bromwich, penetrating the northern districts through Willenhall to Bentley, The Birchills, Walsall and Darlaston, Wednesbury, Smethwick and Dudley Port, West Bromwich and Hill Top, Brockmoor, Wordsley and Stourbridge.Sandwell Park Colliery's pit was located in Smethwick and had 'thick coal' as shown in written accounts from 1878 and coal was also heavily mined in Hamstead further east.The Black Country Society excludes Wolverhampton (West Midlands conurbation) and Stourbridge geologically but includes them culturally, linguistically and in terms of heavy industry as both had iron and steel works, manufacturing industries and contributed enormously to the region.In published literature, the first reference dates from 1846 and occurs in the novel Colton Green: A Tale of the Black Country by the Reverend William Gresley, who was then a prebendary of Lichfield Cathedral.Gresley's opening paragraph stated "The scene of this story lies in that part of Staffordshire to which the constant exhumation of its mineral resources has long since given the well-known name of the Black Country", implying that the original Black Country may not have included Dudley which was in Worcestershire.

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