Oldbury, West Midlands

Coordinates: 52°30′18″N 2°00′57″W / 52.505°N 2.0159°W / 52.505; -2.0159
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Sandwell Council House in Oldbury
Oldbury is located in West Midlands county
Location within the West Midlands
Population25,488 (Built-up area subdivision)[1]
13,606 (Ward)[2]
OS grid referenceSO989897
Metropolitan borough
Shire county
Metropolitan county
Sovereign stateUnited Kingdom
Areas of the town
Post townOLDBURY
Postcode districtB68, B69
Dialling code0121
PoliceWest Midlands
FireWest Midlands
AmbulanceWest Midlands
UK Parliament
List of places
West Midlands
52°30′18″N 2°00′57″W / 52.505°N 2.0159°W / 52.505; -2.0159

Oldbury is a market town in the Metropolitan Borough of Sandwell, West Midlands, England. It is the administrative centre of the borough. At the 2011 census, the town had a population of 13,606,[2] while the 2017 population of the wider built-up area was estimated at 25,488.[3] Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council, which defines Oldbury Town as consisting of the wards of Bristnall, Langley, Oldbury, and Old Warley,[4] gave the population as 50,641 in 2011.[5]


The place name Oldbury comes from the Old English 'Ealdenbyrig', – signifying that Oldbury was old even in early English times over 1,000 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.[6]


Oldbury was part of the ancient parish of Halesowen, a detached part of Shropshire surrounded by Worcestershire and Staffordshire. After the dissolution of the monasteries, Henry VIII gave Hales Owen manor including Oldbury to Sir John Dudley. In 1555, Sir John's son Robert sold most of Hales Owen manor but retained Oldbury and Langley which became a separate manor. Thus Sir Robert Dudley became the first Lord of the Manor of Oldbury. Oldbury manor was held by several families thereafter with the land gradually being sold off and the manorial functions dispersed. The last Lord of Oldbury Manor was Patrick Allan Fraser.[7]

Pigot and Co.'s National Commercial Directory for 1828-9 describes Oldbury as a village in Shropshire with close trade and manufacturing links to Dudley and Stourbridge. It notes the importance of the iron trade with its "considerable blast furnaces, for making pig iron" and states "there are also steel works; and coal and iron-stone abound in the vicinity". Mention is made of a debtors' prison, and a court-house which held a fortnightly Court of Requests for recovery of debts not exceeding five pounds.[8]

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, but the Lloyds bank branch closed around 2005.[9]

Local government[edit]

The old Municipal Buildings

By the Counties (Detached Parts) Act 1844, Oldbury was reincorporated into Worcestershire after a nine-hundred-year absence.

Coat of arms of the former Municipal Borough of Oldbury

In 1894, Oldbury became an Urban District, based at the Municipal Buildings and in 1935 the area gained Municipal Borough-status.[10] Oldbury council built several thousand houses, flats and bungalows for 40 years from 1893 until its disbandment, the 1,000th of which was completed in 1933 at Wallace Road near the border with Rowley Regis.[11]

The Municipal Borough of Oldbury was merged with the County Borough of Smethwick and the Municipal Borough of Rowley Regis in 1966 to form the County Borough of Warley.[12]

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 from Worcestershire into the new 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 in Oldbury town centre.

Industry and commerce[edit]

The town has seen a large expansion in retail since 1980. In October 1980, J Sainsbury opened one of its first SavaCentre hypermarkets in Oldbury town centre.[13] Twenty years later, it was rebranded as a traditional Sainsbury's store as the SavaCentre side of the business was phased out. A Toys "R" Us superstore at Birchley Island opened in October 1988 but the retail chain went out of business in 2018.[14] Oldbury Green Retail Park was built next to the town's ring road in the mid-1990s. Homebase relocated there from its 1980s purpose-built store, which Gala Bingo subsequently took over.

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, the commercial radio station Free Radio moved its local operations for the Black Country and Shropshire from Wolverhampton to new studios at Black Country House.[15]

Transport links[edit]


For over thirty years, there were three railway stations in the parish with the name Oldbury; only one is still open, but under a new name. The surviving one, on the Stour Valley Line at Bromford Road, has existed since the 1850s. It was originally called Oldbury & Bromford Lane, then Oldbury, and since 1984, Sandwell & Dudley.[16]

The second nearest railway station to the centre of Oldbury is Langley Green 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, until a short half-mile long branch line, the Oldbury Railway, was linked to the station with its own (third) platform; this opened in November 1884 and the station was renamed Oldbury & Langley Green.[17] The Oldbury Railway, which also linked to Albright and Wilson, had both a passenger station, named Oldbury, on Halesowen Road; and a goods 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 in 1964 when the M5 motorway was built. A short stub of the line to Oldbury remained in situ but out of use.


The M5 motorway runs through the town on an elevated section supported by reinforced concrete pillars. Access is from junction 2.

The A4123 Birmingham to Wolverhampton dual carriageway enters the town from across the Hagley Road in Harborne, Birmingham and runs north-westerly via Causeway Green to Birchley Island (M5 junction 2) and on through Tividale to Burnt Tree Island where it becomes the Birmingham New Road. The road took three years to complete and was opened by the Prince of Wales on 2 November 1927.[18]: 21 

Buses run from Oldbury town centre to Bearwood, Birmingham city centre, Dudley, Halesowen, Merry Hill Shopping Centre, West Bromwich and Walsall, The majority of the services are operated by National Express West Midlands and Diamond Bus.


James Brindley's original Birmingham Canal was cut south of Oldbury town centre in 1768.[18]: 35 


  • Bristnall Fields is a residential area centred on the roundabout where Pound Road, Moat Road, Bristnall Hall Road, George Road and Brandhall Road meet. There is a post office, the Plough Inn and neighbourhood shops and services. Brandhall Allotments are off Brandhall Road. Oldbury Academy and a Salvation Army Church and Community Centre are on Pound Road.
  • Brades Village is an area of established housing and industry near the border with Tipton.
  • Brandhall is a residential area in the south of Oldbury that began to be developed in the 1930s.
  • Causeway Green is a residential and commercial area where Causeway Green Road and Pound Road cross the Wolverhampton New Road. Local facilities include a post office/newsagent, convenience store, chemist, fast food outlets, a restaurant and a micropub. A car dealership is on Wolverhampton New Road; opposite is an Army Reserve Centre. Brandhall Golf Course off Heron Road dated from 1906 but closed in 2020.[19] Housing on Old College Drive was built on a Sandwell College site. The People's Dispensary for Sick Animals (PDSA) opened a pet hospital on St Matthews Road in July 2015.[20] Causeway Green Methodist Church on Penncricket Lane opened in 1863.[21]
  • Hill Top is a residential area surrounding Langley (Hill Top) Reservoir and the 225 metres (738 ft) high Warley Hill. Bristnall Hall Academy and Moat Farm Infants School are in the locality. Salop Drive Market Garden is a 3 acres (1 ha) working market garden and local food project operated by Ideal for All a registered charity for disabled and disadvantaged people.
  • Langley Green is a residential area to the south of the town centre.
  • Lion Farm is a large social housing estate built in the early to late 1960s in the south-west of the town, near the border with Rowley Regis.[22][23] The estate had nine tower blocks, but only three remain.
  • Londonderry is residential area in the south-east of the town, straddling the border with Smethwick. It is home to the Sandwell Aquatic Centre.
  • Oldbury town centre is the historic heart from which the former urban district and borough developed.
  • Rood End is an Edwardian and late-Victorian residential area in the east of the town, near the border with Smethwick.
  • Titford is a mainly residential area 1 mile (1.6 km) south of Oldbury town centre. The Titford Canal terminates at Titford Pool in the Titford Pools Urban Reserve Park. In 2015, Aldi opened a supermarket on Wolverhampton Road,[24] opposite an ASDA.
  • Warley is an area of mostly private housing 2.8 miles (4.5 km) south-east of Oldbury town centre, bordered to the south by Quinton, Birmingham.
  • Whiteheath, also known as Whiteheath Gate, is a residential area along the A4034 road south of Birchley Island between Blackheath ward and Langley ward. Coal mining and brickmaking took place here from around 1850 to 1920. An explosion at Ramrod Hall colliery in 1856 resulted in eleven deaths.[25][26]


The town has the following secondary schools:[27]

Parks and open spaces[edit]

Barnford Hill Park off Moat Road in Langley Green was opened in 1916 on land presented to the Borough of Oldbury by Mr W. A. Albright of chemical manufacturer, Albright and Wilson. The park's elevated position gives views to the north and west over the Black Country.[28] There is a small outcrop of pudding stone, whose pebbles are mainly of encrinal limestone.[29][30] The park holds a Green Flag Award[31] and is designated one of the borough's nine flagship parks by Sandwell Council.[32] It has an area of 34 hectares (84 acres) and features a pergola, hedge maze and rose garden. Facilities include a skateboarding ramp, multi-sports court, exercise equipment, children's play areas, football pitches, a pavilion and car parking. The park formerly catered for crown green bowling, tennis and putting.[33]

The land for Langley Park was donated by Arthur Albright in 1886.[34]

Tividale Park is a park in Tividale, which is near the border of Oldbury.[35]

Broadwell Park features outdoor exercise equipment and fitness stations, as well as a small stream.[36]

Oldbury Borough archives collection[edit]

The archives for the Borough of Oldbury are held at Sandwell Community History and Archives Service

Notable people[edit]

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.

Cornelius Whitehouse (1795–1883) inventor of lap-welded wrought iron tube was born in Oldbury.[37]

Writers and academics

Mick Aston, archaeologist and star of the TV programme Time Team, was born in Oldbury and attended Oldbury Grammar School.[38]

Visual arts

Martin Elliott (1946–2010), the photographer best known for the iconic poster "Tennis Girl", was born in Oldbury and attended Oldbury Grammar School.[39]

Performing arts

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 (1872–1938), the songwriter and music-hall entertainer best remembered for writing the song "It's a Long Way to Tipperary", was born in Oldbury. Jack Judge House, built in 2010 on Halesowen Street, housed Oldbury library[40] until 2021[41] and is home to the Black Country Coroner's Court.

In his early years, the comedian Frank Skinner lived in Oldbury at 181 Bristnall Hall Road.[42] 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.


Jodie Stimpson, the British triathlete was born in Oldbury in 1989 and attended Warley High School.[43] She won Gold in the Individual and Team Relay Triathlon at the Glasgow Commonwealth Games in 2014.[citation needed]


  1. ^ "2011 Census – Built-up Areas". Office for National Statistics. Retrieved 16 February 2014.
  2. ^ a b "Population Density, 2011 (QS102EW)". Neighbourhood Statistics. Office for National Statistics. Archived from the original on 21 February 2014. Retrieved 16 February 2014.
  3. ^ "West Midlands (United Kingdom): Counties and Unitary Districts & Settlements - Population Statistics, Charts and Map". www.citypopulation.de.
  4. ^ "Sandwell Town Profiles". Sandwell Trends. Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council. Retrieved 8 June 2022.
  5. ^ "Census 2011 – Summary Key Statistics". Sandwell Trends. Research Sandwell. Archived from the original on 13 May 2013. Retrieved 16 February 2014.
  6. ^ Daniels, Terry (2000). "Old-Time Oldbury Photographs and memories" (PDF). historyofoldbury.co.uk. Oldbury Local History Group. p. 1. Retrieved 7 June 2022.
  7. ^ Daniels, Dr Terry (2008). "The History of Oldbury Manor". historyofoldbury.co.uk. Retrieved 5 June 2022.
  8. ^ Pigot and Co.'s National Commercial Directory for 1828-9. London & Manchester: J. Pigot & Co. 1828. p. 874.
  9. ^ "Humble beginnings of a banking empire". expressandstar.com. 19 September 2008. Retrieved 5 June 2022.
  10. ^ "Oldbury UD/MB". Vision of Britain. Retrieved 11 May 2021.
  11. ^ "History of Oldbury Timeline". History of Oldbury, Langley and Warley. The Local History Societies of Langley, Oldbury and Warley. Retrieved 16 February 2014.
  12. ^ "The Story of Oldbury". History of Oldbury, Langley and Warley. The Local History Societies of Langley, Oldbury and Warley. Retrieved 16 February 2014.
  13. ^ "Oldbury supermarket rings the tills for 30 years". Express & Star.
  14. ^ Ross, Alex. "Toys R Us in Oldbury facing demolition to pave way for new shops". www.expressandstar.com.
  15. ^ Free Radio opens new studios in Oldbury, RadioToday, 24 October 2013
  16. ^ Intelligence Railway Gazette International May 1983 page 314
  17. ^ Drew, Suzie; Callow, Diane (1996). Langley and Langley Green Recalled. Langley Local History Society. p. 8. ISBN 1900689030.
  18. ^ a b Daniels, Terry (1999). Making and moving in Langley : two centuries of industry and transport in Causeway Green, Langley, Langley Green and Rood End. Birmingham: Sandwell Community Library and Information Service. ISBN 1900689103.
  19. ^ "Century-old Oldbury golf course will close despite protests". Stourbridge News. Retrieved 7 June 2022.
  20. ^ "Ribbon cutting marks the opening of Oldbury pet hospital". Halesowen News. Retrieved 20 November 2019.
  21. ^ "Causeway Green Methodist Church celebrating 150th anniversary". Halesowen News. Retrieved 20 November 2019.
  22. ^ Superb Photos Of Life On A 1991 British Social Housing Estate, Flashbak, 2 November 2015
  23. ^ Life on the Lion Farm estate 25 years ago, BBC News, 12 August 2015
  24. ^ "October opening date for new Oldbury Aldi store". www.expressandstar.com. Retrieved 14 June 2022.
  25. ^ "Mining Disasters- Ramrod Hall". Durham Mining Museum.
  26. ^ White Heath and Lion Farm History Society (2000). Whiteheath and Lion Farm: A Century of Memories. Oldbury Local History Group. ISBN 0953831019.
  27. ^ "Secondary schools | Sandwell Council". www.sandwell.gov.uk. Retrieved 22 January 2023.
  28. ^ "Barnford Hill Park". Made in Oldbury. Retrieved 18 November 2022.
  29. ^ "Barnford Hill Park". blackcountrygeopark.dudley.gov.uk. Retrieved 19 November 2022.
  30. ^ Yates, James (1827). Observations . . . on the Structure of some detached Groups of Transition Rocks in the Midland Counties (Transactions of the Geological Society Volume II ed.). London: Geological Society of London. p. 255. Retrieved 16 January 2023.
  31. ^ "Barnford Park Oldbury". www.greenflagaward.org. Retrieved 18 November 2022.
  32. ^ "Parks in Sandwell | Sandwell Council". www.sandwell.gov.uk. Retrieved 17 January 2023.
  33. ^ Sandwell Parks and Countryside Service. "Barnford Hill Park Management Plan 2017—2020". pp. 12, 20–22, 69. Retrieved 16 January 2023.
  34. ^ Daniels, Terry Dr (2013). Oldbury, Langley & Warley through time. London: Amberley Publishing. p. Langley Park. ISBN 9781445629834. Retrieved 16 January 2023.
  35. ^ "Friends of Tividale Park". Friends of Tividale Park.
  36. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original on 4 March 2018. Retrieved 23 May 2019.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  37. ^ "A centre of the steel tube industry". Western Mail and South Wales News. No. 20, 692. 21 October 1935. p. 16. Retrieved 31 December 2023 – via British Newspaper Archive.
  38. ^ Dyer, Christopher (25 June 2013). "Mick Aston obituary". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 19 February 2023.
  39. ^ Childs, Martin (12 April 2010). "Martin Elliott: Photographer whose iconic print adorned millions of bedroom walls". The Independent. Retrieved 18 April 2010.
  40. ^ "Oldbury's brand new library is on the verge of completion". Halesowen News. 26 November 2010. Retrieved 18 November 2022.
  41. ^ "Oldbury Library - Library in OLDBURY, Sandwell - Visit Sandwell". www.visitsandwell.com. Retrieved 18 November 2022.
  42. ^ "The Frank Skinner Story: I had to share a bed with my brother until I was six. When he got a part in my sitcom he told people it was because he used to sleep with the writer; THE FRANK SKINNER STORY: MY CHILDHOOD YEARS. - Free Online Library". www.thefreelibrary.com. 2001. Retrieved 18 November 2022.
  43. ^ "The Big Interview: Jodie Stimpson". www.shropshirestar.com. 3 August 2014. Retrieved 20 February 2023.