THE borough's new archive centre has been hailed a valuable addition to resources for people studying Black Country history.

The Tipton Road centre, which opened in January, played host to a visit from Dr Matt Greenhall, engagement manager from The National Archives.

The archives is the first public building to be built by Dudley Council for 20 years and has been part funded by the European Regional Development Fund.

Dr Greenhall said: “The National Archives welcomes the £6million investment into the new archives centre by Dudley Council and its partners.

“This new building is a valuable addition to the archival landscape of the West Midlands and will offer opportunities for people to engage more closely with the fascinating history of Dudley borough and the wider Black Country.

“The National Archives looks forward to working with colleagues from Dudley’s archives as they look to develop an exciting new service for the borough and the wider region.”

Councillor Stuart Turner, Dudley's cabinet member responsible for archives said: “I’m very proud that our new borough archives centre is being recognised and praised by such an esteemed organisation as The National Archives."

The new centre provides state-of-the art facilities for visitors to research local or family history and it is currently hosting an exhibition showcasing the Earl of Dudley’s estate collection.

The Earl of Dudley collection is the largest single collection held at the archives and contains around 9,000 documents, 350 artefacts and 2,000 maps.

On display until July, it spans eight centuries and chronicles the rise to wealth and power of one of the most wealthy and influential families of the industrial revolution.

The centre is open to the public from Tuesday to Saturday, from 9am to 5pm, except Thursdays when it opens from 9.30am until 7pm.