Oldbury, West Midlands
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Sandwell Council House in Oldbury
|Population||23,964 (Built-up area)
|OS grid reference|
|Sovereign state||United Kingdom|
|Postcode district||B68, B69|
|EU Parliament||West Midlands|
At the 2011 census, the ward of Oldbury had a population of 13,606, while the wider built-up area had a population of 23,964. 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, 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, 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 some 40 years 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.
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.
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.
Tony Freeth, author of Sons Of Albion book, attended Albright High School.
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 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.
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.
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.
- Langley Green - an established residential area to the south of the town centre.
- Warley - an area of mostly private housing in the extreme south of Oldbury near the border with Birmingham.
- Brandhall - first developed with private housing in the 1930s and then in the 1950s and 1960s with council housing.
- 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.
- Brades Village - an area of established housing and industry near the border with Tipton.
- Lion Farm - a large council housing estate built in the early to mid 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.
Oldbury Borough archives collection
The archives for the Borough of Oldbury are held at Sandwell Community History and Archives Service
- "2011 Census - Built-up Areas". Office for National Statistics. Retrieved 16 February 2014.
- "Population Density, 2011 (QS102EW)". Neighbourhood Statistics. Office for National Statistics. Retrieved 16 February 2014.
- "Census 2011 - Summary Key Statistics". Sandwell Trends. Research Sandwell. Retrieved 16 February 2014.
- "The Story of Oldbury". History of Oldbury, Langley and Warley. The Local History Societies of Langley, Oldbury and Warley. Retrieved 16 February 2014.
- "Rowley Regis UD/MB through time". Vision of Britain. Retrieved 16 February 2014.
- "Smethwick CB/MB/UD through time". Vision of Britain. Retrieved 16 February 2014.
- "History of Oldbury Timeline". History of Oldbury, Langley and Warley. The Local History Societies of Langley, Oldbury and Warley. Retrieved 16 February 2014.
- Childs, Martin (12 April 2010). "Martin Elliott: Photographer whose iconic print adorned millions of bedroom walls". The Independent. Retrieved 18 April 2010.
- Free Radio opens new studios in Oldbury, RadioToday, 24 October 2013