Oldbury, West Midlands

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Oldbury
Warley - Sandwell Council House.jpg
Sandwell Council House in Oldbury
Oldbury is located in West Midlands county
Oldbury
Oldbury
 Oldbury shown within the West Midlands
Population 23,964 (Built-up area)[1]
13,606 (Ward)[2]
OS grid reference SO989897
Metropolitan borough Sandwell
Metropolitan county West Midlands
Region West Midlands
Country England
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Post town Oldbury
Postcode district B68 - B69
Dialling code 0121
Police West Midlands
Fire West Midlands
Ambulance West Midlands
EU Parliament West Midlands
UK Parliament Warley
West Bromwich West
List of places
UK
England
West Midlands

Coordinates: 52°30′18″N 2°00′57″W / 52.505°N 2.0159°W / 52.505; -2.0159

Oldbury is a town in the West Midlands in England. It is a part of the Black Country, and the administrative centre of the borough of Sandwell.

At the 2011 census, the ward of Oldbury had a population of 13,606,[2] while the wider built-up area had a population of 23,964.[1] However, Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council give the population figure of Oldbury as 50,641.[3]

Local government[edit]

Coat of arms of the former Municipal Borough of Oldbury

Oldbury was part of the ancient parish of Halesowen, a detached part of Shropshire surrounded by Worcestershire and Staffordshire, until the Counties (Detached Parts) Act 1844, when it was incorporated back into Worcestershire after an absence of nine-hundred years. It became an Urban District in 1894, receiving Municipal Borough status in 1935.

In 1966, Oldbury was merged with the County Borough of Smethwick and the Municipal Borough of Rowley Regis to form the County Borough of Warley,[4] which also included most of the Tividale area of Tipton and the eastern section of Oakham in Dudley. The geographical county boundaries were also changed to include the whole of Warley as part of Worcestershire; formerly both Rowley Regis and Smethwick had been in Staffordshire.[5][6]

Oldbury council built several thousand houses, flats and bungalows for some 40 years until its disbandment, the 1,000th of which was completed in 1933 at Wallace Road near the border with Rowley Regis.[7]

In 1974, Oldbury became part of the new Sandwell Metropolitan Borough (a merger between the county boroughs of West Bromwich and Warley), and was transferred into the West Midlands Metropolitan County. Since 1986, after the abolition of the West Midlands County Council, Sandwell effectively became a unitary authority. Sandwell Council's headquarters are situated in Oldbury Town Centre.

Oldbury comes within the B68 and B69 postal districts, the latter of which also covers part of Tipton. The postal town is Oldbury, although it previously came under the Warley post town, along with Smethwick, Rowley Regis, and Cradley Heath.

Notable people[edit]

Jodie Stimpson, the British triathlete, was born in Oldbury in 1989, and won Gold in the Individual and Team Relay Triathlon at the Glasgow Commonwealth Games in 2014.

The Sadlers rose to become an eminent family in Oldbury during the nineteenth century. Notable figures included John Sadler (1820-1910) ('the Grand Old Man of Oldbury') and Sir Samuel Alexander Sadler.

Joseph Willott, Jr., member of the Wisconsin State Assembly, was born in Oldbury in 1855.

Oldbury is the birthplace of Sir John Frederick Bridge, who was a famous organist, composer and author. He was known as "Westminster Bridge" because of his long stint as organist at Westminster Abbey (1882-1919). He composed special music for Queen Victoria's Jubilee and King Edward VII's coronation, in addition to other choral, instrumental and organ music. His brother Joseph Cox Bridge was also an organist,composer and author, becoming well known for his recorder compositions.

Jack Judge (christened John, born in Oldbury, Worcestershire, 3 December 1872, died 25 July 1938, West Bromwich) was a song-writer and music-hall entertainer best remembered for writing the song It's a Long, Long Way to Tipperary. The new library building in the town is named after him.

Martin Elliott (July 1946 - 24 March 2010)[8] Martin, educated at Oldbury Grammar School, was a photographer, best known for the iconic poster "Tennis Girl".[9][10][11]

In his early years, the comedian Frank Skinner lived in Oldbury at 181 Bristnall Hall Road. He attended Moat Farm Infants School, St Hubert's Roman Catholic Junior School and Oldbury Technical School, and has been a TV comedian since the late 1980s.

The boxer Pat Cowdell, who achieved stardom during the 1970s and 1980s, was born in nearby Smethwick and lives in Oldbury.

Mick Aston, archaeologist and star of the TV programme Time Team, was born in Oldbury and attended Oldbury Grammar School.

Oldbury is also home to former Iron Maiden and current Wolfsbane and BLAZE frontman Blaze Bayley.

Established newspaper journalist Tom Price was born in Oldbury.

Australian radio station 2SM talk-back host Gary Stewart was born in Oldbury on 22 January 1960, he attended Rounds Green primary school from 1965–1967, he migrated with his family to Australia in 1968, he began his radio career in 1989.

A song called "Polly On The Fountain" was written by an Oldbury resident, James Bradley, along with a former Rock band The Grey Quotes. The song was originally written as a poem by James after he looked into the town's archives, and was about an old monument of the same name, which was situated on Birmingham Street. Nicknamed "Polly" by the residents of the town, it became a symbol of Oldbury, but was removed in 1940 after being damaged. The song became quite popular amongst the town's Local History Society and is still available to listen to via YouTube.

Oldbury has a local branch of the Learning Skills Council situated at Black Country House.

Local events[edit]

Lap of Oldbury[clarification needed] - Sometimes referred to as 'Lap of shame' by many locals, the origins of this increasingly popular event are still unknown, however the future of the event is under threat as one of the original founding members has announced his permanent withdrawal, due to economic reasons.

Notable businesses[edit]

The first branch of Lloyds Bank was opened in Oldbury in 1864. The branch was founded to serve fellow Quakers Arthur Albright and John Wilson's local chemical factory. The original building survives to this day, but was recently made redundant as a bank and is now a Subway fast food restaurant.Subway moved from building early in 2012.

The first Asian restaurant was Deepak's Balti which opened 1940 which closed in 1965 after a fire.

In October 1980, retail giant J Sainsbury opened one of its first SavaCentre hypermarkets in Oldbury town centre. 20 years later, it was rebranded as a traditional Sainsbury's store as the retailer gradually phased out the SavaCentre side of the business. The town has seen a large expansion in retail since then, including a Toys "R" Us superstore on Wolverhampton Road in the late 1980s and Oldbury Green Retail Park on the town's ring road in the mid 1990s. This, along with the development of the Merry Hill Shopping Centre some six miles away during the second half of the 1980s, has contributed to a decline in the fortunes of nearby West Bromwich town centre as a retail centre.[12]

Due to the socio-economics of Sandwell, the area has a number of social housing organisations such as Black Country Housing Group which has been operating in Sandwell since its relocation from Birmingham in the 1980s.

In October 2013, commercial radio station Free Radio moved its local operations for the Black Country and Shropshire from Wolverhampton to new studios at Black Country House.[13]

Transport links[edit]

For over thirty years there were three railway stations in the parish named Oldbury; only one is still open, but under a new name. The oldest surviving one is on the Stour Valley Line (former LMS Railway), at Bromford Road. It has been there since the 1850s. It was originally called Oldbury & Bromford Lane Station, then Oldbury Station, but it is now known as Sandwell and Dudley.

The second nearest railway station to the centre of Oldbury is at Langley Green, at Western Road, on the Stourbridge Extension Line, now the Birmingham to Worcester via Kidderminster Line. It opened in April 1867 and was originally called Langley Green & Rood End Station. However a short half-mile long branch line, the Oldbury Railway, was linked to the station with its own (third) platform. It opened in November 1884; and Langley Green & Rood End Station was then renamed Langley Green. The Oldbury Railway, which also linked to Albright and Wilson, had both a passenger station, called Oldbury railway station, on Halesowen Road; and a goods station, Oldbury Goods railway station, at the Birmingham Canal Navigations wharf in Oldbury. Passenger services ran to Oldbury Station until March 1915; and the line closed completely other than as a freight line for Albright and Wilson. All traces of its viaduct and embankment beyond Tat Bank Road were destroyed when the M5 motorway was built.

The M5 has served Oldbury since 1964 and passes the town on an elevated section built on reinforced concrete pillars. Access is from junction 2. This is also the closest junction to the Black Country Living Museum in Dudley.

Neighbourhoods[edit]

Schools[edit]

Etymology[edit]

The place name Oldbury, comes from the Old English 'Ealdenbyrig', - signifying that Oldbury was old even in early English times over 1000 years ago. Eald being Old English for 'old', Byrig is the plural of 'burh' in Old English - a burh being a fortification or fortified town.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "2011 Census - Built-up Areas". ONS. Retrieved 16 February 2014. 
  2. ^ a b "Population Density, 2011 (QS102EW)". Neighbourhood Statistics. ONS. Retrieved 16 February 2014. 
  3. ^ "Census 2011 - Summary Key Statistics". Sandwell Trends. Research Sandwell. Retrieved 16 February 2014. 
  4. ^ "The Story of Oldbury". History of Oldbury, Langley and Warley. The Local History Societies of Langley, Oldbury and Warley. Retrieved 16 February 2014. 
  5. ^ "Rowley Regis UD/MB through time". Vision of Britain. Retrieved 16 February 2014. 
  6. ^ "Smethwick CB/MB/UD through time". Vision of Britain. Retrieved 16 February 2014. 
  7. ^ "History of Oldbury Timeline". History of Oldbury, Langley and Warley. The Local History Societies of Langley, Oldbury and Warley. Retrieved 16 February 2014. 
  8. ^ Death notice[dead link]
  9. ^ Independent obituary
  10. ^ BBC News - 'Tennis Girl poster photographer dies'
  11. ^ Andrew Hough, "'Tennis girl' poster photographer Martin Elliott dies of cancer", Daily Telegraph, 2 April 2010
  12. ^ [1]
  13. ^ Free Radio opens new studios in Oldbury, RadioToday, 24 October 2013