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SMETHWICK (/ˈsmɛðᵻk/ ) is a town in Sandwell
Sandwell
, West Midlands, historically in Staffordshire
Staffordshire
. It is 4 miles west of Birmingham
Birmingham
city centre and borders West Bromwich
West Bromwich
and Oldbury to the north and west. Formerly a Staffordshire
Staffordshire
county borough, Smethwick
Smethwick
is situated near the edge of Sandwell
Sandwell
metropolitan borough and borders the Birmingham districts of Handsworth , Winson Green , Harborne
Harborne
, Edgbaston
Edgbaston
and Quinton to the south and east, as well as the Black Country towns of West Bromwich
West Bromwich
and Oldbury in the north and west.

CONTENTS

* 1 History

* 1.1 Architecture * 1.2 Political history * 1.3 Civic history * 1.4 Transport history

* 2 Industry and commerce * 3 Education * 4 Transport * 5 Public services and government * 6 Districts * 7 Places of worship * 8 Parks * 9 Public houses * 10 Notable residents * 11 See also * 12 References * 13 External links

HISTORY

Street nameplate on Rutland Road, Smethwick
Smethwick
in April 2007, showing painted out "County Borough" lettering, and the original B17 district code

It was suggested that the name Smethwick
Smethwick
meant "smiths' place of work", but a more recent interpretation has suggested the name means "the settlement on the smooth land". Smethwick
Smethwick
was recorded in the Domesday Book
Domesday Book
as Smedeuuich, the d in this spelling being the Anglo-Saxon letter eth. Until the end of the 18th century it was an outlying hamlet of the south Staffordshire
Staffordshire
village of Harborne
Harborne
. Harborne
Harborne
became part of the county borough of Birmingham
Birmingham
and thus transferred from Staffordshire
Staffordshire
to Warwickshire
Warwickshire
in 1891, leaving Smethwick
Smethwick
in the County of Staffordshire.

The world's oldest working engine, made by Boulton and Watt , the Smethwick Engine , originally stood near Bridge Street, Smethwick. It is now at Thinktank , the new science museum in Birmingham.

One notable company was The London Works, manufacturing base of the Fox Henderson Company which made the steel framework for the Crystal Palace . This was founded by Charles Fox , whose inventions included the first patented railway points. His notable employees included William Siemens , the notable mechanical and electrical engineer. The company was bankrupted in 1855 by the failure of an overseas railway to pay for work done. The site was later used by the GKN company. In 2015 the site was being cleared to build the new Midland Metropolitan Hospital which combines the Sandwell
Sandwell
General Hospital at West Bromwich and City Hospital , Dudley
Dudley
Road.

Other former industry included railway rolling stock manufacture, at the Birmingham
Birmingham
Railway Carriage and Wagon Company factory; screws and other fastenings from Guest, Keen and Nettlefolds (GKN); engines from Tangye ; tubing from Evered's; steel pen nibs from British Pens; and various products from Chance Brothers ' glassworks, including lighthouse lenses and the glazing for the Crystal Palace (the London works, in North Smethwick, manufactured its metalwork). Phillips Cycles , once one of the largest bicycle manufacturers in the world, was based in Bridge Street, Smethwick. Nearby, in Downing Street, is the famous bicycle saddle maker, Brooks Saddles . The important metalworking factory of Henry Hope "> The old Toll House

The oldest surviving building in Smethwick
Smethwick
is the Old Church which stands on the corner of Church Road and the Uplands. This was consecrated in 1732 as a Chapel of Ease in the parish of St Peter, Harborne
Harborne
. The building was originally known as "Parkes' Chapel" in honour of Mistress Dorothy Parkes who bequeathed the money for the church and also for a local school. The chapel was later known as the "Old Chapel", and the public house next to it is still called this. In the church there are several fine memorials, including one to Dorothy Parkes.

The Grade I listed Galton Bridge spans the New Line canal and railway. When built in 1829 by Telford, it was the longest single-span bridge in the world. Its name commemorates Samuel Galton , a local landowner and industrialist. It is identical to Telford's bridge at Holt Fleet over the River Severn built in 1828 and opened in 1830. The public library by Yeoville Thomason

The public library in the High Street was originally built as the Public Hall in 1866–67 and is designed by Yeoville Thomason .

Matthew Boulton
Matthew Boulton
and James Watt
James Watt
opened their Soho Foundry
Soho Foundry
in the north of Smethwick
Smethwick
(not to be confused with the Soho Manufactory in nearby Soho ) in the late 18th century. In 1802, William Murdoch illuminated the foundry with gas lighting of his own invention. The foundry was later home to weighing scale makers W Labour's victory at the general election would inevitably have seen him appointed as Foreign Secretary for the government of Harold Wilson . Smethwick
Smethwick
had been a focus of immigration from the Commonwealth in the economic and industrial growth of the years following the Second World War
Second World War
and Griffiths ran a campaign critical of the government's policy. There were rumours that his supporters had covertly circulated the slogan "If you want a nigger for a neighbour, vote Liberal or Labour." Hardly had the heat of the election subsided when, on 12 February 1965, United States black activist Malcolm X
Malcolm X
visited the region just nine days before his assassination. He fuelled further controversy when he told the press:

I have come here because I am disturbed by reports that coloured people in Smethwick
Smethwick
are being treated badly. I have heard they are being treated as the Jews under Hitler. I would not wait for the fascist element in Smethwick
Smethwick
to erect gas ovens.

Malcolm X's visit to Smethwick
Smethwick
had been organised by a BBC News journalist with a view to X having a debate with Peter Griffiths outside the Smethwick
Smethwick
council house. Griffiths declined at late notice and so an interview with X was conducted on the streets of Smethwick. This was to be X's last TV interview before his assassination nine days later. It was never aired.

Labour candidate and actor Andrew Faulds defeated Griffiths in the 1966 general election and remained as an MP until his retirement at the 1997 general election , 23 years after Smethwick
Smethwick
became part of the Warley East constituency. Peter Griffiths subsequently moved away from the area and served as a Conservative MP for Portsmouth North for many years.

CIVIC HISTORY

See also: Evolution of Worcestershire county boundaries

Originally a hamlet within the parish of Harborne, Staffordshire
Staffordshire
, Smethwick
Smethwick
was made into an urban district in 1894, and later incorporated as a municipal borough in 1899, and county borough in 1907. In 1966, Smethwick
Smethwick
was merged with the boroughs of Oldbury and Rowley Regis
Rowley Regis
to form the new County Borough of Warley , and was transferred into the county of Worcestershire
Worcestershire
. This in turn was merged with West Bromwich
West Bromwich
in 1974 to form the Sandwell
Sandwell
Metropolitan Borough , which was incorporated into the new West Midlands county.

In 1888, there had been plans for Smethwick
Smethwick
to be incorporated into the city of Birmingham, but the urban district council voted against these plans by a single vote.

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

TRANSPORT HISTORY

CANALS

SEE ALSO: BCN Main Line

Smethwick
Smethwick
has a long association with canals, which were the town's first major transport links from a time before decent roads and of course railways. The Birmingham
Birmingham
Canal Navigation Old and New Main Line Canals run through the industrial areas and right past the High Street, running parallel to the Stour Valley Railway Line: all three end up in Wolverhampton
Wolverhampton
. James Brindley was the engineer charged with building the canal, a man who gives his name to the busy district in the centre of Birmingham
Birmingham
near the International Convention Centre, National Indoor Arena and Broad Street. Galton Bridge viewed from the Galton Tunnel

The old main line was completed though Smethwick
Smethwick
by 1769. It required 12 locks to climb over the hill though the town; Brindley had found the earth too soft to dig a cutting though at the time. Water was supplied by two steam engines. One of them was located on the Engine Arm which led to the Smethwick Engine on Rabone Lane and the other was near Spon Lane. Smethwick
Smethwick
New Pumping Station next to Brasshouse Lane was added later in 1892. Because of the locks, the canal through Smethwick
Smethwick
became a bottleneck and Thomas Telford was commissioned in 1824 to look at alternatives.

The new main line through Smethwick
Smethwick
was completed by 1829 and completely bypassed all 6 remaining locks of the summit with a deep cutting. The Engine Arm and Stewarts aqueducts were built to carry their respective canals over the new mainline. The cutting was built through the land of the local businessman Samuel Galton and thus this cutting created the Galton Valley and Galton Bridge was named in his honour. The bridge was the longest single-span iron bridge in the world at the time. The canals of the new and old main line diverged at one end at Smethwick
Smethwick
Junction near Bridge Street and rejoined at Bromford Junction near Bromford Road in Oldbury.

Today Galton Valley is a nature area and of more historical interest than commercial, and used mainly for leisure rather than transporting commercial goods.

RAILWAYS

The LNWR was the first to construct a railway through Smethwick
Smethwick
in 1852 from New Street towards Wolverhampton
Wolverhampton
and the North West, Rolfe Street and Spon Lane opened that year followed by Soho in 1853. In 1867 the Stourbridge Railway opened a link between the Great Western Birmingham, Wolverhampton
Wolverhampton
"> British Rail Class 33 at Swanage, built by the Birmingham
Birmingham
Railway Carriage and Wagon Company

From 1854 the Birmingham
Birmingham
Railway, Carriage "> A Midland Red
Midland Red
D9 in 2002

The town of Smethwick
Smethwick
has a long association with buses. From 1914 the famous Birmingham
Birmingham
and Midland Motor Omnibus Company (BMMO or Midland Red) was based on Bearwood Road on the site of the current Bearwood Shopping Centre until 1974. The garage later saw use as an indoor market until it was demolished in 1979. Smethwick
Smethwick
never had its own Corporation Transport Department, like West Bromwich
West Bromwich
or Birmingham
Birmingham
. Most bus services until the earlier 1970s were provided by the Midland Red, West Bromwich
West Bromwich
and Birmingham. In the early '70s all local bus transport was taken over by the WMPTE until deregulation in the 1980s. Since then West Midlands Travel, now part of National Express Group, has been the primary operator in the West Midlands.

Steam trams started through Smethwick
Smethwick
in 1885 operated by Birmingham and Midland Tramways. These were replaced by electric trams in 1904 and then merged into the Birmingham
Birmingham
Corporation Tramways in 1906 and trams eventually ran from both the Dudley
Dudley
Road and Hagley Road direction. Dudley
Dudley
Road trams operated to Cape Hill and then diverged to either take the route towards Dudley
Dudley
(Route 87) via the High Street or towards Bearwood (Route 29) via Waterloo Road, terminating near the site of current Bearwood Bus Station and Kings Head public house. Route 34 from Birmingham
Birmingham
to Bearwood along the Hagley Road and terminated at the top of Bearwood Road next to the route from Cape Hill, despite terminating slow close to each other there was no physical link between route 29 and 34 in Bearwood. Route 34 was the first route to go in Smethwick
Smethwick
in 1930 and the last tram route was closed in 1939 and replaced by motor buses. Both the current National Express West Midlands routes 82 and 87 are former tram routes and the 87 in fact uses the same number. The Hawthorns railway station and metro stop

The Midland Metro
Midland Metro
, opened in 1999, is more of a light railway than a tramway. It follows the former Great Western Railway
Great Western Railway
track bed from Birmingham
Birmingham
Snow Hill railway station to the former Wolverhampton
Wolverhampton
Low Level via West Bromwich
West Bromwich
until Priestfield in Wolverhampton. After that, it becomes a tramway proper and runs along the Bilston Road into Wolverhampton
Wolverhampton
city centre. From late 2015 the service will be extended from its current terminus at Snow Hill through the city centre to New Street railway station. The metro can be caught at the Hawthorns railway station.

INDUSTRY AND COMMERCE

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Until the end of the 18th century, Smethwick
Smethwick
was largely rural, with farming as the main industry. A water mill named Briddismylne is recorded in 1499 as belonging to Halesowen
Halesowen
Abbey, thought to be on the more recent Thimblemill site. In 1659, a mill in the Hockley Brook is recorded as belonging to a Mr. Lane. The mill which led to the street name "Windmill Lane" was built on land bought in 1803 by William Croxall, a miller. The last part of the windmill building was demolished in 1949.

The route of the canal, passing through the valley of the Hockley Brook, the boundary with Handsworth on the north side of Smethwick, resulted in most of the heavy industry being located there. The railway was opened in 1852. Soho Foundry
Soho Foundry
main gate

The Soho Foundry
Soho Foundry
, opened in 1796 by James Watt
James Watt
and Matthew Boulton
Matthew Boulton
, trading as Boulton, Watt & Sons, was built to produce complete steam engines to Watt's designs. Waste dumped from the foundry gave rise to the name Black Patch to the field to the east. The Soho Foundry
Soho Foundry
is now the headquarters of the Avery Company .

One of Smethwick's significant industrial enterprises of the 19th century was the Fox, Henderson Company , formerly Brannah, Fox and Co., which built the steel structure for the Crystal Palace in 1851. At its peak this employed about 2,000 people at the London Works. The bankruptcy and closure of the firm in 1856 had a devastating effect on the local economy. The site of the London Works was later acquired by Chamberlain and Nettlefold, and in 2014 was cleared to build the new Midland Metropolitan Hospital , amalgamating the Sandwell
Sandwell
General Hospital at West Bromwich
West Bromwich
with the City Hospital , Dudley
Dudley
Road.

Richard Tangye was a notable builder of steam engines in the late 19th century. His designs, in a characteristic green colour, have a distinctive elegance of form. He demolished Smethwick
Smethwick
Hall, on the border with Handsworth, and built his factory, the Cornwall Works, on the site.

Mitchells & Butlers opened a brewery on Cape Hill in 1879. It was a local landmark in Smethwick
Smethwick
and provided employment in the town for 123 years. However, following a decline in sales and revenue, American owners Coors closed the brewery on 6 December 2002. It was demolished two years later and a 650-home private housing estate was developed on its site.

Teale "> Rolfe Street railway station in Smethwick
Smethwick

* Smethwick Rolfe Street railway station – Rolfe Street & North Western Road (near the High Street). Located on the Stour Valley , it is mainly for local trains between Birmingham
Birmingham
New Street , Wolverhampton
Wolverhampton
and Walsall
Walsall
. * Smethwick
Smethwick
Galton Bridge – Oldbury Road. As a bi-level railway station it sits on both the Stour Valley (a section of the WCML ) and the Jewellery Line . It has the same services as both the Hawthorns and Rolfe Street railway stations, plus it has direct long distance services to Birmingham
Birmingham
International , Shrewsbury , Chester , Northern Wales, Crewe , Liverpool and a limited peak time only direct service to London. * The Hawthorns – Halfords Lane and close to the West Bromwich football ground . It sits on the Jewellery line just like Galton Bridge station but also interchanges with the Midland Metro
Midland Metro
, linking Birmingham
Birmingham
and Wolverhampton. The Jewellery Line has regular direct services to Birmingham
Birmingham
Snow Hill , Solihull, Stratford-upon-Avon, Stourbridge
Stourbridge
Junction , Kidderminster
Kidderminster
and Worcester. Chiltern Railways also provide a limited service direct to London Marylebone .

AIRPORTS

The closest airport to Smethwick
Smethwick
is Birmingham
Birmingham
, which is around 20 miles east at the other side of Birmingham
Birmingham
city centre. National Express do provide some long distance coach services to some London Airports from Bearwood .

* By road the fastest routes are either via the M5, M6 and M42 Motorways, or via Birmingham city centre and the A45 . * For travellers by rail there are direct train services from Galton Bridge railway station or from Rolfe Street railway station changing at Birmingham
Birmingham
New Street . * There are no direct bus services from Smethwick
Smethwick
to the airport. Passengers would have to travel to Birmingham
Birmingham
and change buses. The principal bus service to the airport is the National Express West Midlands 'Limited Stop' service 900 ( Birmingham
Birmingham
to Coventry
Coventry
).

PUBLIC SERVICES AND GOVERNMENT

GOVERNMENT

Smethwick
Smethwick
is represented at Sandwell
Sandwell
Metropolitan Borough Council by 12 councillors, covering the four wards of Soho the larger main library is located on the High Street and a smaller one islocated on Thimblemill Road.

SMETHWICK SWIMMING CENTRE

Formerly known as 'Thimblemill Baths', it is a public swimming pool which opened in 1933, located on Thimblemill Road between Gladys Road and Reginald Road in Bearwood. There are two pools (a 1933 main pool and a 1968 small pool), gym, dance studio, sauna and steam facilities.

During the Second World War
Second World War
the basement was used as an air raid shelter and a supply depot for the US Air Force who were stationed in Smethwick. The main pool was capable of being covered for the purpose of public events; concerts, galas and exhibitions once took place until the late 1960s. Famous acts including Tommy Cooper , the Beatles , the Rolling Stones , the Who , the Small Faces and the Kinks played at the baths.

EMERGENCY SERVICES

Policing in Smethwick
Smethwick
is provided by the West Midlands Police
West Midlands Police
, who have a police station on Piddock Road just off the High Street. West Midlands Fire Service is responsible for fire and rescue. A fire station is located on Stony Lane a short distance from the High Street. Emergency medical care is provided by the West Midlands Ambulance Service .

HEALTHCARE

Smethwick
Smethwick
is part of Sandwell
Sandwell
and West Birmingham
Birmingham
Hospitals NHS Trust . The closest hospital is City Hospital (previously known as Dudley Road Hospital) located in Winson Green. Other local hospitals include Sandwell
Sandwell
General Hospital in West Bromwich
West Bromwich
and Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Selly Oak .

DISTRICTS

See: Districts of Smethwick

* Bearwood * Black Patch & Soho * Cape Hill , (including Windmill Lane and French Walls) * High Street Smethwick
Smethwick
(including Victoria Park) * Londonderry * North Smethwick
Smethwick
(Brasshouse Lane, Albion Estate, Hawthorns, Middlemore Estate) * The Uplands * West Smethwick
Smethwick
(Including Galton Village )

PLACES OF WORSHIP

* The Abrahamic Foundation, High Street * The Akrill Memorial Church, The Uplands – now the Gurdwara
Gurdwara
Akal Bunga Sahib * The Apostolic Church, Broomfield * Bearwood Baptist Church, Bearwood Road * Church of God of Prophecy, Regent Street * Gurdwara
Gurdwara
Baba Sang, St Paul's Road, Smethwick * Gurdwara
Gurdwara
Nanaksar, Waterloo Road * Guru Nanak Gurdwara
Gurdwara
Smethwick
Smethwick
, High Street * Holy Trinity Church, South Road & High Street * Jami Mosque and Islamic Centre, Lewisham Road * Masjid Usman, Shireland Road * The Old Church, the Uplands * Raglan Road Christian Church, Raglan Road * Rounds Green Methodist Church, Abbey Road * St Gregory's Roman Catholic Church, Three Shires Oak Road * St Hilda's, Abbey Road * St Mark's Church of England, Hales Lane * St Mary's Church of England, St Mary's Road, Bearwood * St Matthew with St Chad C of E Church, St Matthew's Road * St Philip's Roman Catholic Church, Messenger Road * Smethwick
Smethwick
Baptist Church, Regent Street * Smethwick
Smethwick
Elim Pentecostal Church, Woodland Drive * Warley Woods Methodist Church, Abbey Road * West Smethwick
Smethwick
Congregational Church, Mallin Street

PARKS

* Black Patch Park , Foundry Lane, Soho * Harry Mitchell Park – Parks Street & Uplands * Lewisham Park, Dartmouth Road, Smethwick * Lightwoods Park , Hagley Road & Lightwoods Hill, Bearwood * Londonderry Lane Playing Fields, Londonderry Lane/Manor Road, Smethwick * Smethwick
Smethwick
Hall Park – Stoney Lane, Uplands * Victoria Park – High Street & Windmill Lane estate * Warley Park, Abbey Road & Lightwoods Hill, Bearwood * West Smethwick
Smethwick
Park – Holly Lane & West Park Road, West Smethwick

PUBLIC HOUSES

OPEN

* The Abbey (Abbey Road & Thimblemill Road, Bearwood) * Bear Tavern (Bearwood Road & Three Shires Oak Road, Bearwood) * Blue Gates Hotel (High Street & Stony Lane) * Cock and Magpies (Hagley Road West & Beechwood Road, Bearwood) * The Dog (Hagley Road West & Galton Road, Bearwood) * The Hollybush (The Uplands & Parks Street) * Ivy Bush (St. Paul's Road & Mallin Street, West Smethwick) * The Midland (Bearwood Road, opposite Rutland Road, Bearwood) * Moilliett Arms (Cranford Street & Grove Lane, Windmill Lane estate) * Night Inn (Great Arthur Street, High Street) * Old Chapel Inn (The Uplands & Church Road) * Old Corner House (Soho Street & Rabone Lane, Soho) * Old Talbot (High Street & Trinity Street) * The Pheasant (273 Abbey Road, Bearwood) * Puffing Billy (Raglan Road, Cape Hill) * Red Cow (High Street) * The Robin (Suffrage Street & Corbett Street, Windmill Lane estate) * Seven Stars ( Cape Hill & Windmill Lane) * The Shireland (Shireland Road, Cape Hill) * Soho Foundry
Soho Foundry
Tavern (Foundry Lane, Soho)

CLOSED: RECENTLY OR OTHERWISE

* The Barleycorn (Bearwood) – closed * Dudley
Dudley
Arms (Cape Hill) – now a restaurant * The Falcon (Windmill Lane estate) – demolished * The George (Windmill Lane estate) – now a restaurant * The Hussar (Windmill Lane estate) – demolished * London Works Tavern (Soho) – demolished * The Londonderry (Londonderry) – demolished * New Navigation (Lewisham Road) – demolished following fire * New Talbot (Bearwood) – demolished * Old Comrades Club (High Street) – demolished * Queen's Head (Londonderry) – now a vets * Sampson Lloyd (Cape Hill) – closed * The Thimblemill (Bearwood) – demolished * Waggon -webkit-column-width: 30em; column-width: 30em; list-style-type: decimal;">

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Smethwick
(Ward): Key Figures for 2011 Census". Neighbourhood Statistics. Office for National Statistics. Retrieved 18 December 2015. * ^ A B Inskip, K. W. (1966). Smethwick, from hamlet to county borough. Smethwick: Corporation of Smethwick. p. 3. * ^ "Smethwick: Other estates British History Online". British-history.ac.uk. Retrieved 2016-06-29. * ^ "Cemetery Details". Cwgc.org. Retrieved 2016-06-29. * ^ Edwards, Kathryn (2008-04-18). "UK England
England
West Midlands Powell\'s \'rivers of blood\' legacy". BBC News
BBC News
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Smethwick
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Smethwick
CB/MB/UD through time". Vision of Britain. Retrieved 25 June 2012. * ^ Country, Black (2008-07-17). "When a single vote saved Smethwick
Smethwick
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