England

Your West Midlands Questions answered

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Media captionAsk us your questions about where you live

All week you have been using Your Questions to tell us what you have always wanted to know about the West Midlands.

You wanted to know the origins of local phrases like "Sent to Coventry" and "Black over Bill's mother's".

You asked about a black studies degree launched at Birmingham City University, said to be the first in Europe.

And you wanted to see archive photographs of Coventry in all its pomp. Here are some of the answers.


Philip Gray asked: "Why do people get sent to Coventry?" and Matt McHugh asked: "Where do expressions such as 'Black over Bill's mother's' come from?"

Their questions inspired our story England's oddest phrases explained.

Is it a bit black over Bill's mother's? Or are you as wisht as a winnard? England is awash with peculiar sayings - but what do they all mean?

Image caption Could these be the origin of some of England's oddest phrases?

Saida Vedasto asked: "Can you tell me more about Birmingham City University's black studies degree? What are Birmingham's connections with black history?"

The 25-year-old said she had heard about the course, which starts in September 2017 and is said to be the first in Europe.

She said: "My parents sought asylum because of hard times and war back home and fled from Somalia and moved to the UK in 2003.

"It was very hard growing up here adjusting and adapting to the new way of living.

"But I feel more at home in Birmingham now - it has shaped me into the woman I am today thorough the everyday people I meet.

"I'd like to know more about other people's stories and what it means to be black in Birmingham today."

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Media captionSaida Vedasto wanted to know more about a black studies degree

James Kirkham-Witley asked: "Could the BBC show some historic pictures on the site to show Coventry in its pomp?

He said: "Although I and my wife are both from Birmingham we decided to marry in Coventry in St Mary's Guildhall, which is a beautiful 14th Century hall located next to the old cathedral. There is nothing like it in Birmingham or the surrounding areas.

"Whenever I have mentioned to people not from Coventry that I was married there the general perception is negative.

"It seems a shame to me that post World War that the once significant and important city of Coventry seems to have slipped out of the British psyche."

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Media captionJames Kirkham-Witley wanted to see Coventry 'in its pomp'

Pub landlord Glenn Williams, a Welshman living in Hereford, asked: "Was Hereford ever in Wales?"

Experts we spoke to said that back in medieval times, the borders between England and Wales were not as strict as they are today.

Rhys Griffith, senior archivist at the Herefordshire Archive Centre, said the 1189 charter describes the city as "Hereford in Wales", but this is probably due to the Westminster clerk not knowing much about the area.

Image copyright John Burnett
Image caption Hereford is in England now but was it always the case?

He said: "From early times, Hereford was very definitely in Mercia - part of the English world.

"The county is full of completely Welsh names... but these originate from a much earlier time before there was any such thing as England."

Dr Lloyd Bowen, historian at Cardiff University, said the political boundaries were "not as hard and fast" as they are today, but the county "became increasingly acknowledged as English from the 13th Century onwards".

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