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24 September 2014

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You are in: Black Country > Features > More features > The meaning of the flag

Phil's Black Country flag

Phil's Black Country flag

The meaning of the flag

Engineer Phil Tibbetts, from Dudley, has designed a flag, a coat of arms and a plaid for the Black Country. He tells us what his symbols mean.

The Flag

Starts off as a black field with a yellow saltire (also known as a Saint Andrew's cross). The saltire is taken from the ancient Mercian Flag. It is toothed here to represent industry and opposites meshing and working together.

The flag takes the ‘Black by day and red by night’ quote and places a sun on the left quadrant and a star on the right quadrant, the right quadrant is coloured red.

Inside the saltire is a red and white chain on a black background meeting in the middle from the four saltire arms, upon which is the arms. This shows the four corners or the four councils pulling together for the Black Country, symbolised by the addition of a coat of arms in the centre.

Additionally to be recognised by the ‘UK Flag Registry’ a Flag must:
• Be unique within the UK (ie. no other UK area or organization is using the design) - check
• Be in the public domain (ie. not subject to copyright) - check
• In the case of county flags the flag must normally apply to a historical county rather than a modern administrative area. - Doesn’t apply for regional flags though it can be claimed the Black Country is a historical area anyway
• The flag must be registered with the College of Arms, registered with the Office of the Lord Lyon, traditional, selected by a public vote or selected by an appropriate county or city organization. This or any flag for the Black Country must find a way of fulfilling this.

Proposed Black Country coat of arms

Phil's Black Country coat of arms

The coat of arms

The shield is black with a defaced red gear toothed partition to represent industry and opposites working together. The black area has a sun and the later a star to indicate the quote “Black by day and red by night”. The sun suggests a link to Halesowen (from the Grammar School) and the star to the Stourbridge glass making industry. A white chain runs around the outside to represent unity and continuation, its approximation to a white border hints at West Bromwich’s coat of arms.

Around the shield is a red leather belt. Belts are usually a symbol of some knightly reward but here it shows the link to Walsall with it’s leather industry. The belt is trimmed with yellow with the inscription ‘Ommer, Ond & Yeart’ which translates as Hammer, Hand & Heart. These symbols - themselves representing technology, strength and passion – are a motif reflected in the design a few times.

A burning Salamander, taken from the Dudley coat of arms and indicated metal working, is a supporter on the left hand side. A Phoenix stands on the right, itself symbolising rebirth and as a nod to the wider Midlands. Both are wrapped in flames that represent Wolverhampton in their Orange-Gold hue. They are stood on a coal heap, the symbolism of which is obvious. The Phoenix holds the Black Country Flag and the Salamander hold aloft a banner made of the Black Country Check which itself mirror closely the design of the Flag.

On top of the shield is a helmet, coloured metal blue for metal and also as the colour of light reflect from canal water. A crown of local blue bricks with Gold-Orange nuts and baubles sits atop the helmet in the style of a Saxon crown. This style crown is chosen to commemorate the Saxon heritage and the famous victory over the Danes at the Battle of Tettenhall in 910AD and as a symbol of Oldbury. The quilting rises up from the crown on either side like smoke and steam rises.

From the crown rises the arm of a Staffordshire Bull Terrier with its heart worn on its sleeve and clutching a hammer. The design of this crest indicates a respectful acknowledgement of Birmingham, which also has an arm holding a hammer. It also symbolises partnership with Birmingham as this arm is a dogs and the Birmingham crest uses a Human. However as the two hammers face each other it shows a tongue-in-cheek nod to the rivalry that the areas have, but when combined with the aspect of partnership indicates that such a rivalry is only meant to be friendly. The crest id the strongest showing of the hammer, hand and heart motif.

The motto, held on by nails below the shield is ‘Mettle and Fire’, playing on words between the materials and the personality traits.

Technically the coat of arms is only really a heraldic style emblem without the acceptance by the Royal College of Arms in London.

Phil's Black Country plaid

Phil's Black Country plaid

The Plaid (tartan/check)

Northumberland Tartan is the oldest tartan in the world and several areas across Europe have traditional tartan/check/plaid patterns associated with them. This is the design for a Black Country one, which could become a Tartan if recognised by the Tartan Authority, otherwise is a Check or a Plaid. It could be used as decorative drapes or as a clothing material for skirts, ties and the like.

Is designed to mirror the flag as far as possible. With a black background with a white cross. After the cross comes the red of the chain, the yellow of the saltire and the red of the ‘Star’ section of the flag, all the time with black as a background colour.

last updated: 20/03/2008 at 13:56
created: 20/03/2008

You are in: Black Country > Features > More features > The meaning of the flag

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