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Tipton shown within the West Midlands
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|Metropolitan county||West Midlands|
|Sovereign state||United Kingdom|
|EU Parliament||West Midlands|
|UK Parliament||West Bromwich West|
Tipton is a town in the Sandwell borough of the West Midlands, England, with a population of around 38,777 at the 2011 census. Tipton is located about halfway between Birmingham and Wolverhampton. It is a part of the West Midlands conurbation and is a part of the Black Country.
Historically within Staffordshire, Tipton was an urban district until 1938, when it became a municipal borough. The vast majority of the Borough of Tipton was transferred into West Bromwich County Borough in 1966, although parts of the old borough were absorbed into an expanded Dudley borough and the newly-created County Borough of Warley. Along with the rest of West Bromwich and Warley, Tipton became part of the Sandwell Metropolitan Borough in 1974 and remains within this local authority to this day.
Tipton was once one of the most heavily industrialised towns in the Black Country, with thousands of people employed in different sections of the town's industries, but most of its factories have closed since the 1970s and it has gradually developed into a commuter town occupied mostly by people working in other parts of the region.
The town of Tipton was originally called Tibintone and recorded as such in the Domesday Book, the oldest surviving public record that provides information about the 1086 Domesday survey. The present spelling of Tipton derives from the 16th century.
Until the 18th century, Tipton was a collection of small hamlets. Industrial growth started in the town when ironstone and coal were discovered in the 1770s. A number of canals were built through the town and later railways, which greatly accelerated the pace of industrialisation.
James Watt built his first steam engine  in or very near Tipton in the 1770s, which was used to pump water from the mines. In 1780, James Keir and Alexander Blair set up a chemical works there, making vast quantities of alkali and soap.
From details of the 1801 census, it records 834 houses with 872 families living in Tipton. Only 46 houses are stated as being empty. An adult population of 4,280 is also recorded with males numbered at 2,218 and slightly fewer females at 2,062. Iron making and mining were the main employment for the population. Trades and manufacturing provided work for 1,740 people and other jobs totalled 2,484. It is noted that between Tipton and Dudley there were a few farms listed which gave employment to 56 people.
The massive expansion in iron and coal industries led to the population of Tipton expanding rapidly through the 19th century, going from 4,000 at the beginning of the century to 30,000 at the end. Tipton gained a reputation as being "the quintessence of the Black Country" because chimneys of local factories belched heavy pollution into the air, whilst houses and factories were built side by side. Most of the traditional industries which once dominated the town have since disappeared.
The Black Country Living Museum in nearby Dudley re-creates life in the early 20th century Black Country, in original buildings which have been painstakingly rebuilt and furnished. There is a residential canal basin at the museum – Tipton was once known as the Venice of the Midlands because it had so many canals, although some of the shorter canals in the town were filled in during the 1960s and 1970s. The towpaths of the remaining canals today form a vital cycling, wildlife and leisure facility.
The landscape of Tipton began to change further in the late 1920s when new housing estates were built by the town's council, in response to the growing need to replace slum housing. Among the first council estates to be built were the Shrubbery Estate at Tipton Green, the Tibbington Estate at Princes End, the Moat Farm Estate at Ocker Hill (which earned the nickname "Lost City" due to its isolated location) and the Cotterill's Farm Estate between Princes End and Great Bridge. Private houses were also built on smaller developments around the same time.
During World War II (1939–1945), there were a number of air raids on the town. On 19 November 1940, three people were killed by a Luftwaffe bomb which was dropped in Bloomfield Road and destroyed several buildings including The Star public house; this was rebuilt after the war but demolished in 1996. A month later, an anti-aircraft shell fired from the hills at Rowley Regis fell down the chimney of The Boat Inn, Dudley Road East, Tividale; fatally injuring 12 people at a wedding reception (including the bride, while the groom lost both legs) as well as the resident of an adjacent house. On 17 May 1941, six people died in an air raid in New Road, Great Bridge. The Tipton Tavern and New Road Methodist Church was destroyed and a number of nearby houses were damaged. Tipton Tavern landlord Roger Preece was trapped in the rubble but survived with minor injuries. The Tipton Tavern was rebuilt in the 1950s and became the Hallbridge Arms during the 1990s and more recently became the Pearl Girl, the world's first licensed pearl bar.
The first major council housing estates built in Tipton during the early postwar years and into the 1950s included the Glebefields Estate at Princes End and the southern extension to the Tibbington Estate. The Glebefields Estate was further expanded in the 1960s. Smaller council housing developments were built in redeveloped older areas including Dudley Port and Princes End. The last major private housing development to be built in the borough of Tipton was the Foxyards Estate, on land straddling the borders with Dudley and Coseley, in the mid 1960s.
Until 1966, the town had its own council. The Urban District Council of Tipton was formed in 1894 but received County Borough status in 1938.
The headquarters were originally based in a 19th-century building on Owen Street until 1935 when it relocated to the former Bean offices site on Sedgley Road West, straddling the border with Coseley. The council remained at that site for the next 31 years, until the dissolution of the borough council in April 1966. The building was later taken over by Dudley College, who retained it until 1993. It has since been occupied by various businesses and training scheme providers.
The bulk of the Tipton borough was absorbed into an expanded West Bromwich borough, although a fragment of the town near the border with Coseley (including the former council offices and the bulk of the new Foxyards housing estate) was absorbed into Dudley and most of the Tividale area became part of the new County Borough of Warley. In this reorganisation, the township of Tipton was expanded around Princes End to take over a section of the former Coseley urban district.
Since 1974, Tipton has been part of the Metropolitan Borough of Sandwell, which was created by a merger of the former West Bromwich and Warley boroughs.
By the end of the 1970s, most of the housing in Tipton built before 1890 had been demolished. Owen Street, the town's main shopping area, was redeveloped between 1979 and 1982, with a reduced number of shop units as well as new low-rise council houses and flats.
Tipton's first gasworks was opened in 1958 and redeveloped as a state-of-the-art Naphta Gas plant by 1965, but owing to the emergence of North Sea gas, the gasworks closed in 1975 and stood empty for a decade before demolition. The site of the gas plant was redeveloped as the Standbridge Park housing estates in the 1990s.
Tipton has two railway stations, the main railway station at Owen Street and another station at Dudley Port. There were several other stations in the town on three different railway lines, but these were gradually closed between 1916 and 1964 as passenger trains were phased out on these lines. The Dudley-Wolverhampton railway line, which straddled Tipton's border with Coseley, closed in 1968. The Princes End Branch Line, which was only two miles long, closed in 1981. The South Staffordshire Line through Tipton, which led to Walsall northwards and Dudley southwards, closed in 1993 but is scheduled to re-open at some point in the future to goods trains and light passenger trains.
The archive collection for Tipton Borough is held at Sandwell Community History and Archives Service.
Tipton was one of the key towns in the Industrial Revolution of the 19th century, and even during the 18th century it had established its first key industries. This included the world's first successful steam pumping engine, which was erected at Conygre Coalworks in 1712 by industrialist Thomas Newcomen. A full-size replica of the engine now exists at the Black Country Living Museum just over Tipton's borders in Dudley.
In 1800, it was a predominantly rural area with just a few coal mines and some 4,000 residents. However, mass building of factories and digging of coal mines took place, and resulted in Tipton becoming a heavily built-up and industrialised area with more than 30,000 residents by the end of the 19th century. The town's population grew further in the 20th century as new housing developments, mostly by the local council but with a significant number in the private sector, took place. Local industry also expanded further during this time.
In 1840, the Batson family established a lubricant blending plant to serve the local industries at the junction of High Street and Dudley Road. The site is still operational today, owned by German refiner H&R AG.
However, coal mining had disappeared from Tipton by the mid-20th century, and the town lost a large percentage of its factories during the recessions of the 1970s and 1980s, which contributed to a rise in unemployment and poverty in the Tipton, although living conditions continued to improve.
Further industrial sites have been abandoned since the 1970s, paving the way for mass private house building on the land previously occupied by factories. This includes the town's naphtha gas plant, which opened in 1965 but closed just 10 years later due to the emergence of natural gas from the North Sea. Standeridge Park housing estate was built on its site during the 1990s. By the late 2000s, most of the town's factories had closed.
Tipton has direct bus links with the towns of Dudley, Walsall, Wolverhampton, Brierley Hill, Sedgley, Coseley, West Bromwich, Oldbury, Bilston, Wednesbury and Darlaston, though not all buses reach the town centre.
Tipton has a direct rail link with the areas of Wolverhampton, Birmingham, Coventry and from 14 December 2008 this now links to Walsall. There are two railway stations - Tipton in the town centre and Dudley Port. Both are on the electrified line from Birmingham to Wolverhampton.
Tipton station started a multi-million pound refurbishment on 14 September 2009 with an estimated completion date of May 2010. The station was reopened on 28 March 2010 and all services have been resumed.
Closed lines include that from Walsall to Stourbridge, closed to all traffic in 1993. This line had served stations at Dudley Port Lower Level and Great Bridge North, but both were closed in 1964 by the Beeching Axe. The line is set to re-open at some stage, with the lines shared between goods trains and the Midland Metro or similar light rail trains.
The line between Great Bridge and Swan Village in nearby West Bromwich was closed in 1968 under the Beeching Axe, and most of its route was occupied by the new Black Country Spine Road, completed in 1995.
The line between Princes End and Ocker Hill closed to passenger trains in 1916 but remained open to goods traffic until 1981. The closure of the railway was followed by the construction of a pedestrian walkway on the trackbed, while the tunnel under the road at Ocker Hill was filled in. The final stub of the line, which linked Wednesbury with Ocker Hill Power Station, was closed in 1991.
Steve Bull, who was born on the town's Moat Farm Estate on 28 March 1965, was a professional footballer who scored more than 300 goals for Wolverhampton Wanderers between 1986 and 1999, also being capped for England on several occasions.
David Burrows (born 1968), who played for clubs including West Bromwich Albion, Liverpool, Everton and Coventry City, was born in Dudley but grew up on the Denbigh Estate in the Dudley Port area of Tipton.
Other footballers born in Tipton included Alec Jackson (born 1937), Isaac Clarke (1915–2001), Alan Roper (born 1939), Joe Mayo (born 1953) and Mick Hoban (born 1952). Alan Roper ran The Union public house in Union Street, Tipton Green, in the 1970s and 1980s after retiring as a footballer.
Other sportsmen from Tipton include William Perry, a Victorian bareknuckle boxer Champion of England from 1850-57. There is a statue to Perry, known as 'the Tipton Slasher' which can be found in the Coronation Gardens (just off the B4517 formerly known as High Street which then becomes) Owen Street in the Tipton Green district of the town.
Hugo Guthrie, famous entrepreneur.
Tipton Town football club were formed in 1948 as Ocker Hill United, adopting their current name in 1967. They currently play in the non-league Midland Alliance and made history in the 2010-11 football season by reaching the FA Cup first round proper for the first time in their history, earning a trip to Carlisle United, the League One (third highest English division) club. They were the first club that Steve Bull played for; he joined them on leaving school in 1981 and remained with them until he signed for West Bromwich Albion, a top division club, in 1985. However, it was after signing for Wolverhampton Wanderers in November 1986 that Bull achieved fame; by the time he retired in 1999, he had scored more than 300 goals for the club. He was also capped 13 times by the England national football team between May 1989 and October 1990, scoring four goals.
- The ACE Academy (formerly Tipton Central School, Tipton Grammar School & Alexandra High School and Sixth Form Centre)
- Ormiston Sandwell Community Academy (originally Tividale Comprehensive School and later Tividale High School)
- RSA Academy (formerly Willingsworth High School)
The town has three secondary schools, though in the Tipton Green area of the town a significant percentage of children attend High Arcal School in the borough of Dudley, which has been a popular choice with children living in the area since 1990. Ormiston Sandwell Academy, formed in September 2009 from Tividale High School, also takes in pupils from parts of Dudley and Oldbury.
- Tipton Green Junior School - located in Park Lane West, Tipton Green. Started life in 1880 at a site on Sedgley Road West before relocating to Park Lane West in 1976, a new building opening that building's grounds in 2011.
- Victoria Infant School - located in Queen's Road, Tipton Green. Opened in 1995 to replace Manor Road Infant School, which was built in the 1930s. The current school exists on the site of the former Park Lane Secondary Modern School, which was later an annex for the younger pupils of Alexandra High School and Sixth Form Centre.
- Summerhill Primary School - located in Central Avenue, Tibbington, on the merger of Locarno Primary School and Prince's End Primary School.
- Tividale Primary School - located in Dudley Road West, Tividale.
- Great Bridge Primary School - located in Mount Street, Great Bridge.
- Ocker Hill Infant and Nursery School - located in Prospect Street, Ocker Hill.
- Ocker Hill Junior School - located in Gospel Oak Road, Ocker Hill.
- Glebefields Primary School - located on the Glebefields Estate, Prince's End.
- Sacred Heart RC Primary School - located in Victoria Road, Tipton Green and is Tipton's only Roman Catholic school.
- Wednesbury Oak Primary School - located off Wednesbury Oak Road. It was constructed in 1972 to serve the recently built Wednesbury Oak housing estate.
- St Paul's Church of England Primary School - located off Robert Road. It was formed in 1874 at a site in Wood Street. It remained at this site until 1992, when it relocated to a new building in nearby Robert Road. It takes its name from the parish church of St Paul, which opened in Owen Street in 1839.
- St Martin's Church of England Primary School - located on Upper Church Lane.
- Joseph Turner Primary School - located on Powis Avenue.
- Jubilee Park Primary School - located on Highfield Road.
- Burnt Tree Primary School - located on Hill Road.
- Tipton Christian Church was established around 70 years ago and today is a Pentecostal Church situated in Waterloo Street Tipton.
- Tipton Family Church was established in November 1992. It is an Evangelical Christian fellowship.
- St Matthew's Church Tipton is a Church of England Evangelical church in the heart of the community on Dudley Road established in 1890.
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- Jubilee Park - situated in Powis Avenue
- Victoria Park - situated on Victoria Road in the Tipton Green area
- Tividale Park - situated in the centre of Tividale, north of New Birmingham Road
In popular culture
The area is notable for being the location of filming for the British comedy film Anita and Me, set in the 1970s.
- "Census 2011 Key Stats". Sandwell Trends. Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council. Retrieved 2 July 2013.
- BRIEF HISTORY OF TIPTON
- "tiptoncivicsociety.co.uk". tiptoncivicsociety.co.uk. Retrieved 2013-09-03.
- [dead link]
- The Bean
- Last name: Tipton
- "Ex-footballer Chris Thompson's death linked to drink habit « Express & Star". Expressandstar.com. 2012-12-18. Retrieved 2013-09-03.
- "Tipton Christian Church". Tiptonchristiancentre.org.uk. Retrieved 2013-09-03.
- "St Matthew's Church Tipton". Archived from the original on 18 December 2014.