Oldbury, West Midlands
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Oldbury is a market town in the
Metropolitan Borough A metropolitan borough (or metropolitan district) is a type of districts of England, local government district in England. Created in 1974 by the Local Government Act 1972, metropolitan boroughs are defined in English law as metropolitan distric ...
of
Sandwell Sandwell is a metropolitan borough of the West Midlands (county), West Midlands county in England. The borough is named after the Sandwell Priory, and spans a densely populated part of the West Midlands conurbation. According to Sandwell Metropo ...
, West Midlands, England. It is the administrative centre of the borough and one of its six constituent towns. At the 2011 census, the ward of Oldbury had a population of 13,606, while the 2017 population of the wider built-up area was estimated at 25,488. Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council, which defines Oldbury Town as consisting of the wards of Bristnall, Langley, Oldbury, and Old Warley, gave the population as 50,641 in 2011.


Etymology

The place name Oldbury, comes from the
Old English Old English (, ), or Anglo-Saxon, is the earliest recorded form of the English language English is a West Germanic languages, West Germanic language of the Indo-European language family, with its earliest forms spoken by the inhabita ...
'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 A burh () or burg was an Old English Old English (, ), or Anglo-Saxon, is the earliest recorded form of the English language English is a West Germanic languages, West Germanic language of the Indo-European language family, with i ...
' in Old English – a burh being a fortification or fortified town.


History

Oldbury was part of the
ancient parish In England, a civil parish is a type of Parish (administrative division), administrative parish used for Local government in England, local government. It is a territorial designation which is the lowest tier of local government below district ...
of Halesowen, a detached part of
Shropshire Shropshire (; alternatively Salop; abbreviated in print only as Shrops; demonym Salopian ) is a landlocked historic Counties of England, county in the West Midlands (region), West Midlands region of England. It is bordered by Wales to the we ...
surrounded by
Worcestershire Worcestershire ( , ; written abbreviation: Worcs) is a Counties of England, county in the West Midlands (region), West Midlands of England. The area that is now Worcestershire was absorbed into the unified Kingdom of England in 927, at which ...
and
Staffordshire Staffordshire (; postal abbreviation Staffs.) is a landlocked Counties of England, county in the West Midlands (region), West Midlands region of England. It borders Cheshire to the northwest, Derbyshire and Leicestershire to the east, Warwicks ...
. After the dissolution of the monasteries,
Henry VIII Henry VIII (28 June 149128 January 1547) was King of England from 22 April 1509 until his death in 1547. Henry is best known for his Wives of Henry VIII, six marriages, and for his efforts to have his first marriage (to Catherine of Aragon) ...
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. The first branch of
Lloyds Bank Lloyds Bank plc is a British retail banking, retail and commercial bank with branches across England and Wales. It has traditionally been considered one of the "Big Four (banking), Big Four" clearing house (finance), clearing banks. Lloyds B ...
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.


Local government

By the
Counties (Detached Parts) Act 1844 The Counties (Detached Parts) Act 1844 (7 & 8 Victoria of the United Kingdom, Vict. c. 61), which came into effect on 20 October 1844, was an Act of Parliament of the United Kingdom which eliminated many outliers or exclaves of Counties of the Un ...
, Oldbury was reincorporated into
Worcestershire Worcestershire ( , ; written abbreviation: Worcs) is a Counties of England, county in the West Midlands (region), West Midlands of England. The area that is now Worcestershire was absorbed into the unified Kingdom of England in 927, at which ...
after a nine-hundred-year absence. In 1894, Oldbury became an Urban District, based at the Municipal Buildings and in 1935 the area gained
Municipal Borough Municipal boroughs were a type of local government district which existed in England and Wales between 1835 and 1974, in Northern Ireland from 1840 to 1973 and in the Republic of Ireland from 1840 to 2002. Broadly similar structures existed in S ...
-status. 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. The Municipal Borough of Oldbury was merged with the
County Borough County borough is a term introduced in 1889 in the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, to refer to a borough or a city independent of county council control, similar to the Unitary authorities of England, unitary authorities created si ...
of
Smethwick Smethwick () is an industrial town in Sandwell, West Midlands, England. It lies west of Birmingham city centre. Historically it was in Staffordshire. In 2019, the ward of Smethwick had an estimated population of 15,246, while the wider bui ...
and the Municipal Borough of Rowley Regis in 1966 to form the
County Borough of Warley Warley was a short-lived county borough and civil parishes in England, civil parish in the ceremonial counties of England, geographical county of Worcestershire, England, forming part of the West Midlands conurbation. It was formed in 1966 by the ...
. In 1974, Oldbury became part of the new
Sandwell Sandwell is a metropolitan borough of the West Midlands (county), West Midlands county in England. The borough is named after the Sandwell Priory, and spans a densely populated part of the West Midlands conurbation. According to Sandwell Metropo ...
Metropolitan Borough (a merger between the county boroughs of
West Bromwich West Bromwich ( ) is a market town in the borough of Sandwell, West Midlands (county), West Midlands, England. Historic counties of England, Historically part of Staffordshire, it is north-west of Birmingham. West Bromwich is part of the area ...
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 A unitary authority is a local government, local authority responsible for all local government functions within its area or performing additional functions that elsewhere are usually performed by a higher level of sub-national government or the ...
. Sandwell Council's headquarters are in Oldbury town centre.


Industry and commerce

The town has seen a large expansion in retail since 1980. In October 1980, JSainsbury opened one of its first SavaCentre
hypermarket A hypermarket (sometimes called a hyperstore, supercentre or superstore) is a big-box store combining a supermarket and a department store. The result is an expansive retailing, retail facility carrying a wide range of products under one roof, ...
s in Oldbury town centre. 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 Toys "R" Us is an American toy, clothing, and baby product retailer owned by Tru Kids (doing business as Tru Kids Brands) and various others. The company was founded in 1957; its first store was built in April 1948, with its headquarters loca ...
superstore at Birchley Island opened in October 1988 but the retail chain went out of business in 2018. 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 Birmingham ( ) is a City status in the United Kingdom, city and metropolitan borough in the metropolitan county of West Midlands (county), West Midlands in England. It is the second-largest city in the United Kingdom with a population of 1. ...
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.


Transport links

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, 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. 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. However, 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 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 Birmingham Canal Navigations (BCN) is a network of canals connecting Birmingham, Wolverhampton, and the eastern part of the Black Country. The BCN is connected to the rest of the English canal system at several junctions. It was owned and opera ...
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 A viaduct is a specific type of bridge that consists of a series of arches, pier (architecture), piers or columns supporting a long elevated railway or road. Typically a viaduct connects two points of roughly equal elevation, allowing direct over ...
and embankment beyond Tat Bank Road were destroyed in 1964 when the
M5 motorway The M5 is a motorway in England linking the Midlands with the South West England, South West. It runs from junction 8 of the M6 motorway, M6 at West Bromwich near Birmingham to Exeter in Devon. Heading south-west, the M5 runs east of West Brom ...
was built. However until recently 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 Reinforced concrete (RC), also called reinforced cement concrete (RCC) and ferroconcrete, is a composite material in which concrete's relatively low tensile strength and ductility are compensated for by the inclusion of reinforcement having ...
pillars. Access is from junction 2. Buses run from Oldbury town centre to Bearwood,
Birmingham city centre Birmingham City Centre, also known as Central Birmingham and often known locally as town, is the central business district of Birmingham, England. Following the removal of the Birmingham Inner Ring Road, Inner Ring Road, the city centre is now d ...
,
Dudley Dudley is a large market town and administrative centre in the county of West Midlands (county), West Midlands, England, southeast of Wolverhampton and northwest of Birmingham. Historically an Enclave and exclave, exclave of Worcestershire, t ...
, Halesowen,
Merry Hill Shopping Centre Merry Hill (formerly Westfield Merry Hill and The Merry Hill Shopping Centre) is a large Shopping center, shopping complex in Brierley Hill near Dudley, England. It was developed between 1985 and 1990, with several subsequent expansion and re ...
,
West Bromwich West Bromwich ( ) is a market town in the borough of Sandwell, West Midlands (county), West Midlands, England. Historic counties of England, Historically part of Staffordshire, it is north-west of Birmingham. West Bromwich is part of the area ...
and
Walsall Walsall (, or ; locally ) is a market town and administrative centre in the West Midlands (county), West Midlands County, England. Historic counties of England, Historically part of Staffordshire, it is located north-west of Birmingham, east ...
, The majority of the services are operated by
National Express West Midlands National Express West Midlands (NXWM) is a bus operator in the West Midlands (county), West Midlands that operates services in Birmingham, Dudley, Sandwell, Walsall, Wolverhampton, and Solihull, as well as limited routes outside of the genera ...
and Diamond Bus.


Neighbourhoods of Oldbury Town

* 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 Salvation (from Latin: ''salvatio'', from ''salva'', 'safe, saved') is the state of being saved or protected from harm or a dire situation. In religion and theology, ''salvation'' generally refers to the deliverance of the soul from sin and its c ...
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 in the south of Oldbury that began to be developed in the 1930s. * Causeway Green – a residential and commercial area where Causeway Green Road and Pound Road cross the Wolverhampton New Road. 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. A BMW dealership is on Wolverhampton New Road; opposite is an
Army Reserve A military reserve force is a military organization whose members have military and civilian occupations. They are not normally kept under arms, and their main role is to be available when their military requires additional manpower. Reserve ...
Centre. Brandhall Golf Course off Heron Road, which dated from 1906, permanently closed in 2020. 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. Causeway Green Methodist Church on Penncricket Lane opened in 1863. * Hill Top – a residential area surrounding Langley (Hill Top) Reservoir and the high Warley Hill. Bristnall Hall Academy and Moat Farm Infants School are in the locality. Salop Drive Market Garden is a 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. * Titford – a mainly residential area south of Oldbury town centre. The Titford Canal terminates at Titford Pool in the Titford Pools Urban Reserve Park. In 2015, Aldi opened a new-build supermarket on Wolverhampton Road, opposite an ASDA supermarket. * Warley – an area of mostly private housing south-east of Oldbury town centre, bordered to the south by
Quinton, Birmingham Quinton, is a residential area and ward of Birmingham, England just under west of the city centre. Formerly part of Halesowen parish, Quinton became part of Birmingham in 1909. Quinton was a village and the surrounding area was farmland until ...
. * Whiteheath Gate.


Schools

* Bristnall Hall Academy * Oldbury Academy * Perryfields Academy * Q3 Academy Langley * St Francis Xavier Primary School * Christ Church Church of England Primary School


Parks

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. There is a small outcrop of pudding stone. The park is a
Green Flag Award The Green Flag Award is an international accreditation given to publicly accessible parks and open spaces, managed under licence from the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, a UK Government department, by Keep Britain Tidy, ...
Winner. 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


Notable people

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 Sir Samuel Alexander Sadler (1842 – 29 September 1911) was a British industrialist, public servant and the first Conservative Party (UK), Conservative Member of Parliament for Middlesbrough, United Kingdom, the town with which his name is as ...
. Joseph Willott, Jr., member of the
Wisconsin State Assembly The Wisconsin State Assembly is the lower house of the Wisconsin Legislature. Together with the smaller Wisconsin Senate, the two constitute the legislative branch of the U.S. state of Wisconsin. Representatives are elected for two-year terms, e ...
, was born in Oldbury in 1855. ;Writers and academics
Mick Aston Michael Antony Aston (1 July 1946 – 24 June 2013) was an English archaeologist who specialised in Early Middle Ages, Early Medieval landscape archaeology. Over the course of his career, he lectured at both the University of Bristol and Univer ...
, archaeologist and star of the TV programme ''
Time Team ''Time Team'' is a British television programme that originally aired on Channel 4 from 16 January 1994 to 7 September 2014. It returned online in 2022 for two episodes released on YouTube. Created by television producer Tim ...
'', was born in Oldbury and attended Oldbury Grammar School. Tony Freeth, author of Sons of Albion book, attended Albright High School. ;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. ;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 "It's a Long Way to Tipperary" (or "It's a Long, Long Way to Tipperary") is an English music hall Music hall is a type of British theatrical entertainment that was popular from the early Victorian era, beginning around 1850. It faded a ...
", was born in Oldbury. Jack Judge House, built in 2010 on Halesowen Street, housed Oldbury library until 2021 and is home to the Black Country Coroner's Court. In his early years, the comedian
Frank Skinner Christopher Graham Collins (born 28 January 1957), professionally known as Frank Skinner, is an English comedian, actor, presenter and writer. At the 2001 British Comedy Awards, he was named Best Comedy Entertainment Personality. His televisio ...
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. The boxer Pat Cowdell, who achieved stardom during the 1970s and 1980s, was born in nearby Smethwick and lives in Oldbury. Dr Frank Barney Gorton Stableford, the inventor of the world famous
eponymous An eponym is a person, a place, or a thing after whom or which someone or something is, or is believed to be, named. The adjectives which are derived from the word eponym include ''eponymous'' and ''eponymic''. Usage of the word The term ''epon ...
golf scoring system was born in Oldbury in 1870.


References

{{authority control Towns in the West Midlands (county) Areas of Sandwell