Oldbury, West Midlands
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Sandwell Council House in Oldbury
|Population||25,488 (Built-up area)|
|OS grid reference|
|Sovereign state||United Kingdom|
|Postcode district||B68, B69|
At the 2011 census, the ward of Oldbury had a population of 13,606, while the wider built-up area has a population of 25,488 according to a 2017 census. However, Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council give the population figure of Oldbury as 50,641.
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.
Oldbury was part of the ancient parish of Halesowen, a detached part of Shropshire surrounded by Worcestershire and Staffordshire, and the manor was owned by the Oldbury family until the 17th century when Alderman John Oldbury had no male heir and his two daughters, Mary, Countess of Warrington and Dorothy, Baroness Herbert, married into the aristocracy.
By the Counties (Detached Parts) Act 1844, Oldbury was reincorporated into Worcestershire after a nine-hundred-year absence. 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, 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.
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.
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.
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 became a Subway fast food restaurant. Subway moved from the building early in 2012.
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 saw a large expansion in retail since then, including a Toys "R" Us superstore on at Birchley Island, which opened in October 1988 and stayed open until the retail chain went out of business in 2018, and Oldbury Green Retail Park was built on the town's ring road in the mid-1990s. A Homebase store which was built during the 1980s also relocated to the Oldbury Green development, with the previous building being taken over by Gala Bingo. 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 since the 1980s, although West Bromwich has bounced back since the New Square shopping centre opened in the summer of 2013.
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 November 2015, Hagley Road West, Oldbury, became home to the new Home Interiors Store; Thrift Vintage Interiors, which has since won the 'Best Local Business' award at the Birmingham inspiration Awards 2017.
In July 2016, nearly new car retailer Motorpoint opened its five-acre site on Churchbridge Road. The site has since held numerous events at the branch and supported various charities within the community.
The head office and distribution centre for Cousins Furniture is situated in Manchester Street, close to the M5 junction.
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 at Bromford Road. It has been there since the 1850s. It was originally called Oldbury & Bromford Lane, then Oldbury, and since 1984, Sandwell & 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. 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 was renamed Langley Green. 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 when the M5 motorway was built. However until recently a short stub of the line to Oldbury remained in situ, out of use.
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. A major concrete repair and waterproofing scheme began on the M5 viaduct in April 2017. This was expected to be completed by autumn 2018, however due to unforeseen repairs the works have been delayed until the following year.
- Bristnall Fields – 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, a convenience store, launderette, off licence, fish and chip shop, Chinese takeaway and other services. Brandhall Allotments are off Brandhall Road. Oldbury Academy and a Salvation Army Church and Community Centre are on Pound Road.
- Brades Village – an area of established housing and industry near the border with Tipton.
- Brandhall – a residential area first developed with private housing in the 1930s and then in the 1950s and 1960s with council housing. As of 2020, most of the council houses remain, but the flat blocks have been demolished and replaced by new private housing, a supermarket and a doctors surgery. The area is located in the south of Oldbury near to the border with Quinton, Birmingham and Halesowen, Dudley. The area sits inside a triangle formed by the main Hagley and Wolverhampton roads, and the M5 motorway.
- Causeway Green – a residential and commercial area where Causeway Green Road and Pound Road cross the Wolverhampton New Road and on to Penncricket Lane. The former Hen and Chickens public house is now a restaurant. There is a post office/newsagent, convenience store, chemist, fish and chip shop, Chinese takeaway and micropub. Sytner BMW dealership is along the Wolverhampton New Road. Opposite is an Army Reserve Centre. Brandhall Golf Course is on Heron Road. Housing on Old College Drive was built on the site of Sandwell College. The People's Dispensary for Sick Animals (PDSA) opened a pet hospital on St Matthews Road in July 2015. Causeway Green Methodist Church opened in 1863.
- Hill Top – 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 – an established residential area to the south of the town centre.
- Lion Farm – a large council housing estate built in the early to late 1960s in the south-west of the town, near the border with Rowley Regis. The estate originally included nine tower blocks, but only three of these remain.
- Londonderry – in the south-east of the town, straddling the border with Smethwick.
- Rood End – an Edwardian and late Victorian residential area in the east of the town, near the border with Smethwick.
- Warley – an area of mostly private housing in the extreme south-east of Oldbury near the border with Harborne, Birmingham.
- Whiteheath Gate.
Oldbury is a heavily built up, industrial area. However, there are a few green spaces including Tividale Park. Broadwell Park features outdoor exercise equipment and fitness stations, as well as a small stream.
Oldbury Borough archives collection
The archives for the Borough of Oldbury are held at Sandwell Community History and Archives Service
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.
- Writers and academics
Tony Freeth, author of Sons of Albion book, attended Albright High School.
- Visual arts
- 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. The new library building in the town is named after him.
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.
- Sports and games
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.
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- Ross, Alex. "Toys R Us in Oldbury facing demolition to pave way for new shops". www.expressandstar.com.
- "Oldbury supermarket rings the tills for 30 years". Express & Star.
- Free Radio opens new studios in Oldbury, RadioToday, 24 October 2013
- "Winners at the Birmingham Inspiration Awards – Guardian Liberty Voice". guardianlv.com.
- Intelligence Railway Gazette International May 1983 page 314
- M5 Oldbury roadworks hit by further delays BBC News 13 March 2019
- "Ribbon cutting marks the opening of Oldbury pet hospital". Halesowen News. Retrieved 20 November 2019.
- "Causeway Green Methodist Church celebrating 150th anniversary". Halesowen News. Retrieved 20 November 2019.
- Superb Photos Of Life On A 1991 British Social Housing Estate, Flashbak, 2 November 2015
- Life on the Lion Farm estate 25 years ago, BBC News, 12 August 2015
- "Friends of Tividale Park". Friends of Tividale Park.
- Childs, Martin (12 April 2010). "Martin Elliott: Photographer whose iconic print adorned millions of bedroom walls". The Independent. Retrieved 18 April 2010.