The role of Black Country factories as part of the war effort is explored in a new exhibition at Bilston Craft Gallery. The Work in Wartime show highlights the scale and importance of factories in Wolverhampton and Bilston during the First and Second World Wars. The exhibition features dozens of archive images and original items including Villiers engines, a motorcycle and bicycle used by the British Cyclist Corps during the First World War and a very rare Sunbeam military dispatch rider’s motorcycle on loan from the Black Country Living Museum. 

Also on show are objects, documents and photographs from factories including Boulton Paul, Guy Motors, Goodyear and Sankey.

Councillor John Reynolds, cabinet member for City Economy, said: “This is a fascinating look at the vital role so many factories and workers from the city made as part of the war effort.”

As well as illustrating the range of factories involved in supplying British and other armed forces, the display aims to highlight social changes brought about by war – including many more women joining the industrial workforce. Human stories of the Home Front are revealed through personal items such as ration books as well as written testimony from the time.

Work in Wartime runs at Bilston Craft Gallery, Mount Pleasant, until November 13 and is free.