Ned Williams

Location: The Black Country
About me...

I have lived in the Black Country for over fifty years after a “love at first sight” experience.when I first arrived. This has led to a life of continuous nosey exploration of the region and the pleasure of writing books with a Black Country focus. My books, and therefore my talks, cover subjects like: transport, architecture, industrial history, social history, retailing – particularly the Co-op, entertainment subjects (cinema, theatre, fairground and circus), chapels, banners, housing and travel. I have worked in adult education for most of my adult life – which has been good training for the task of delivering talks and very adaptable to whatever conditions prevail!

About my talks...

All talks are illustrated with slides or digital presentation and I bring all necessary equipment with me. Talks usually last about an hour but can be adapted to fit round the time available.

I can provide my talks as virtual presentations – zoom.


Talks cost £50 plus a contribution towards the cost of travel. If you have a particularly large audience and a big bank balance I might ask for a bit more.
Travel and availability:
I can present these talks in and around the Black Country but am also willing to travel to Birmingham, Staffordshire, Worcestershire and Shropshire – daytime or evenings.

My Contact Details:

01902 334564

My Transport series of talks

1. Railways of the Black Country

2. Wolverhampton as a “Railway Town”

3. The Earl of Dudley’s Railway


An Englishman’s Home is His Castle

Domestic architecture with some emphasis on how people customise their homes.

History with Dividends – the story of the Co-op

Everything from retailing to the story of the Co-op Women’s Guilds

Pat Collins – King of Showman

Biography of the great showman associated with Walsall and Bloxwich

All the Fun of the Fair

An account of how life is lived in the world of the fairground) from the cradle to the grave via a few roundabouts!

Looking at the Shops

An account of how every shop front tells a story.

Over a Century of Cinema

An account of film presentation since the invention of cinematography in the late 1890s right up to the building of your local multi-plex.

Exploring Entertainment History.

A personal account of how I have explored the history of cinemas, theatres, fairgrounds and circus over the past four decades…

Entertainment History – specific to one particular area.

So far I have presented talks on entertainment history in Wolverhampton, Tipton Dudley and Bilston

but I am willing to look at other places… the talks cover cinemas, theatres, fairground and circus entertainment.

Any Old Iron

A look at the exploitation of corrugated iron as an interesting building material – everything from chapels to railway stations and houses.


Palaces for the People

A look at the “prefabs” – prefabricated houses used during and after the Second World War to solve Britain’s housing shortages.

Alms Houses – a home for the poor.

This talk looks at the almshouses to be found in the Black Country and then further afield.

Boys and their Toys – also known as “Size Matters”

A look at the history of constructional toys, trains and road vehicles, and a few dolls – their design, their use, and their ability to become “collectors’ items”

The Trains I caught and the Trains I missed.

This is an eight-hour presentation broken down into four two-hour episodes so you can have any part of it – or take a part at a time…

The Archaeology of the Cinema

How did people see films in the days before there were cinemas? Where were films screened between 1896 and 1910? And what were the films like?

The British Documentary Tradition

The history of British film-making includes a strong documentary tradition – as described and illustrated

The Bearded Lady and the Living Skeleton

A look at the world of freak shows and curiosity shows that existed in world where political correctness had not been invented. Such shows were a feature of the fairground world until the 1950s – what do we make of it all now?

Other recent talks have included...

“The Black Country Through the Lens”

“The Black Country on Film”

“Postcard Britain”

Etc… new talks always being generated!

Ned Williams Contact Details:

01902 334564

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