What’s it about?
In the heart of the industrial wasteland of the Black Country, Dudley’s wonderfully affordable for anyone hoping to raise children with laughable accents.
It has two pathetic claims to fame: The Dudley Bug, or Calymene Blumenbachii, a fossilised prehistoric creature first discovered by limestone quarrymen, which looks like a woodlouse. At 425 million years old, it is still the most intelligent life form to grace the town.
Then there’s Duncan Edwards, the Manchester United and England footballer who died in the 1958 Munich air disaster aged 21. There’s a statue to him in the market place and it’s testament to how revered he remains that it’s unadorned by graffiti, used condoms and traffic cones.
Be warned – even so much as intimating in local pubs that he wasn’t the greatest player who ever lived will get you fucking glassed in a heartbeat.
Any good points?
Few. There’s a brand new £18m state-of-the-art leisure and fitness complex unimaginatively named the Duncan Edwards Leisure Centre. You’ll have gathered they mention him rather a lot here. Dudley’s only other famous native is Lenny Henry so it’s hardly surprising.
The Queen visited in 1977 to mark her Silver Jubilee celebrations. It goes without saying she’s never been back. Maybe she’ll make a surprise return for the Platinum Jubilee? Like fuck will she.
Dudley Castle looks loomingly down on the town like the crumbling, destitute 11th century ruin it is. They built Dudley Zoological Gardens, a hideously dated zoo holding wild animals prisoner around it to make it more appealing. They failed.
A pair of nature reserves, Wrens Nest and Saltwells, are home to an assortment of dull flora and fauna along with broken glass, flytipped fridges and doggers.
Dudley is also one the highest towns in Britain, both in terms of its position 730 feet above sea level, and in terms of the all-pervading stench of skunk drifting in noxious yellow clouds across Priory Park.
Hang out at…
It’s probably best to keep out of the pubs unless you fancy getting fucking lamped by some pisshead trying to scrounge fags and a free pint off you.
Instead, head to the showpiece Black Country Living Museum, a disused quarry now home to a re-created 1930s village. Roll back the years to the heady days of wartime rationing, dying down mines, and getting beaten for forgetting your six times table.
Where to buy?
If you’ve got money not Dudley. Head to the suburban hamlet of Sedgley, a very desirable village community somewhat incongruously deposited in between Dudley and the neighbouring slum settlement of Wolverhampton.
Here you’ll find plenty of nice shops and civilised pubs to ensure you never have to visit Dudley itself. Remember, people here are from Sedgley, not Dudley – you wouldn’t want to create a tense atmosphere over the canapes at house-warming party.
If you’re on a budget or benefits, opt reluctantly for one of the town’s two main housing estates, Wrens Nest and Priory. ‘The Wrenner’, as the first is colloquially known, is rough as arseholes while full of people claiming to be the salt of the earth who would do anything for anybody before they rob you.
The Priory shares not only its name with the group of posh rehabilitation clinic but also its heavy dependency on class A drugs, except here when they tried to make them go to rehab they said no, fuck off.
From the streets:
Roy Hobbs, aged 53, unemployed former glass blower: “Yow aye frum raand ‘ere, am ya? Oi cun tell cuz yow cor spake proper like wot we am. D’yow fancy sum faguts n gray pays fer tay me mon?”
(“I have quickly ascertained you do not originally hail from this parish as your dialect is somewhat different to my own. Would you graciously accept an invitation to dine with my family? We are planning a traditional local meal of faggots and peas, although our peas may be of unconventional hue.”)