As you drive into the market town of Willenhall in central England, the words “Willenhall is wonderful” are emblazoned in large letters across the wall of a supermarket.
Locals laugh ruefully at the sight, for they remember fondly what once stood there before the store – a renowned Yale lockworks factory.
“If you’ve got to put that on the wall, Willenhall isn’t wonderful – you don’t have to convince yourself,” Roger Wilcox, a local resident, said with a chuckle.
This small town lies around 15 miles northwest of Birmingham in England’s “Black Country,” an area that some say was named after the smoke created by the explosion of factories, mines and mills here during the Industrial Revolution.
It then sat at the heart of the country’s lock-making industry, which required skills that were passed down through genera