Gornal, West Midlands
The village of Gornal Wood
|Gornal shown within the West Midlands|
12,992 (ward)[note 1]
|OS grid reference|
|Sovereign state||United Kingdom|
|Postcode district||DY1, DY3|
|Dialling code||01902 01384|
|EU Parliament||West Midlands|
Gornal is a suburban area and electoral ward of the Dudley Metropolitan Borough, in the West Midlands county in England. It encompasses three historic villages: Upper Gornal, Lower Gornal, and Gornal Wood. Gornal was formerly part of Staffordshire, prior to the creation of the West Midlands in 1974.
The three Gornal villages were originally a part of the ancient manor of Sedgley until 1894, when the area became part of Sedgley Urban District. In 1966, along with most of the rest of Sedgley, it was merged into the County Borough of Dudley. Since 1974, it has been part of the larger Metropolitan Borough of Dudley.
Situated south of Sedgley on the main A459 road, the area has undergone extensive private and council housing development since the 1920s. It was the target of three bombs by the German Luftwaffe during World War II, though no buildings were damaged and there were no civilian casualties.
Upper Gornal formerly had a small cinema, the Jack Darby Picture House, from the early 20th century, but it closed in 1960 due to competition from other nearby theatres. The building now houses a small hardware store. Also of note, the local landmark Pig on the Wall public house was controversially demolished in 2002 to make way for a McDonald's restaurant.
Lower Gornal is located southwest of Upper Gornal, and includes the three schools in the local area – Roberts Primary, Red Hall Primary, and Ellowes Hall Sports College. First built in 1894, the original building of Roberts Primary School was demolished in 2000 following the completion of a new £6million building. Red Hall was formed around 1900 as an infant, junior and secondary school; but the secondary school closed in 1964 when Ellowes Hall opened. Ellowes Hall itself was named for the Ellowes Hall House that previously stood on the site, prior to its demolition in 1964.
The local legend – 'Pig on the wall'
One, not entirely apocryphal, episode from Lower Gornal's past occurred when Enoch and Eli (Aynock and Ayli in the local dialect – the two fictional characters to which local jokes are usually attributed) "put the pig on the wall to watch the band go by". Local legend has it, that once, a military band marched through the suburb, and caused such great excitement amongst the residents, that not only did many people flock to see it, but one person even put his pig on the wall to afford the animal a better view. This phrase has long been part of the local idiolect, but its origins still remain obscure. There was even a hotel in the Upper Gornal area of the town called the "Pig on the Wall". It was originally called the Bricklayer's Arms and known locally as Hammond's after the long time owners, but took up its new name in 1985. It was however demolished and replaced with a McDonald's restaurant in late 2002.
Gornal Wood is on the western boundary of the Dudley Metropolitan Borough, and contains a small shopping area, including a library. It is the site of the Crooked House pub, a famous landmark known because of its distinctive appearance as a result of mining subsidence.
Gornal Wood Crematorium and Cemetery is also in this area, having opened in 1960.
- Population figure of Gornal ward excludes the village of Upper Gornal; population of Upper Gornal and Woodsetton ward is 13,793.
- "Gornal (Ward) – Population Density". Neighbourhood Statistics. ONS. Retrieved 21 February 2013.
- "Upper Gornal and Woodsetton (Ward) – Population Density". Neighbourhood Statistics. ONS. Retrieved 21 February 2013.
- "Borough Wards". Dudley Councillors Online. Retrieved 3 March 2012.
- The Gornals, Ned Williams, Uralia Press, 2014. ISBN 189852811X
- "Sedgley UD through time". visionofbritain.org.uk. Retrieved 6 December 2011.
- "Photos When Bombs Fell on Gornal". Gornal and Sedgley. Retrieved 28 November 2011.
- "Yampy Gornal Dudley Black Country History – Jack Darby's, Gornal cinema – The Picture House Dudley Road owned by Jack Darby". Yampy.co.uk. Archived from the original on 29 September 2011. Retrieved 28 November 2011.
- "Memories of the Pig are just off the wall". Express&Star. Retrieved 6 December 2011.
- "Ellowes Memories". Yampy.co.uk. Archived from the original on 29 September 2011. Retrieved 6 December 2011.
- "The Crooked House – History". thecrooked-house.co.uk. Retrieved 6 December 2011.
- "Dudley epicentre left unshaken". BBC News. 23 September 2002. Retrieved 10 October 2011.
- "Earthquake hits UK". BBC News. 23 September 2002. Retrieved 10 October 2011.
- Gibson, Owen (25 August 2006). "The Guardian Profile: Sue Lawley". London: The Guardian. Retrieved 10 October 2011.