The venerable academic journal Midland History has quietly made some 350 back-issue articles freely available online in full-text PDF form (the section Existing Subscribers / Browse issues by Year now freely offers up the linked PDFs). There’s no on-site search — but the Googlebot has visited, so you can use Google:

your-keyword site:www.midlandhistory.bham.ac.uk/issues/ filetype:pdf

Example articles: Birmingham before the Bull Ring by Steve Bassett; and Surviving the Slump: An Oral History of Stoke-on-Trent Between the Wars by Angus McInnes.