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Smethwick
Smethwick
(/ˈsmɛðɪk/ SMEDH-ik) is a town in Sandwell, West Midlands, historically in Staffordshire. It is 4 miles west of Birmingham city centre
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
Birmingham
districts of Handsworth, Winson Green, 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 Notable residents 8 See also 9 References 10 External links

History[edit]

Street nameplate on Rutland Road, Smethwick
Smethwick
in April 2007, showing painted out "County Borough" lettering, and the former 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".[2] Smethwick
Smethwick
was recorded in the Domesday Book
Domesday Book
as Smedeuuich, the d in this spelling being the Anglo-Saxon letter eth.[2] Until the end of the 18th century it was an outlying hamlet of the south Staffordshire
Staffordshire
village of 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
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
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 & Sons Ltd was based at Halford's Lane where the company manufactured steel window systems, roof glazing, gearings and metalwork. Council housing
Council housing
began in Smethwick
Smethwick
after 1920 on land previously belonging to the Downing family, whose family home became Holly Lodge High School for Girls in 1922. The mass council house building of the 1920s and 1930s also involved Smethwick's boundaries being extended into part of neighbouring Oldbury in 1928.[3] The Ruskin Pottery
Ruskin Pottery
Studio, named in honour of the artist John Ruskin, was in Oldbury Road. Many English churches have stained glass windows made by Hardman Studios in Lightwoods House, or, before that, by the Camm family. During the Second World War, Smethwick
Smethwick
was bombed on a number of occasions by the German Luftwaffe. A total of 80 people died as a result of these air raids.[4] After the Second World War, Smethwick
Smethwick
attracted a large number of immigrants from Commonwealth countries, the largest ethnic group being Sikhs from the Punjab in India. The ethnic minority communities were initially unpopular with the white British population of Smethwick, prompting the election of Conservative Party Member of Parliament (MP) Peter Griffiths at the 1964 general election. In the election, the Labour Party MP was unseated following a campaign slogan "If you want a nigger for a neighbour, vote Labour" allegedly being used by supporters of the winning candidate.[5] This came two years after race riots had hit the town in 1962[6] and was set against a background of factory closures and a growing waiting list for local council accommodation. In 1961 the Sikh
Sikh
community purchased the Congregational Church on the High Street in Smethwick. Soon after, this was converted into a gurdwara. The Guru Nanak Gurdwara
Gurdwara
Smethwick
Smethwick
is said to be the oldest and now the largest gurdwara in Europe. In the mid- to late 1960s, a large council estate in the west of Smethwick
Smethwick
was built. It was officially known as the West Smethwick Estate, but as all of the homes were constructed from concrete the estate was known locally as the "concrete jungle".[7] The homes, mostly three or four storey townhouses, were prone to damp and other faults. By the 1980s, levels of crime and unemployment on the estate were high, and by the early 1990s, Sandwell
Sandwell
Council had decided to demolish it. Between 1993 and 1997, the estate was redeveloped with modern low-rise housing and renamed Galton Village. Another housing estate called the Windmill Lane Estate, located near Cape Hill, met a similar fate. There is a collection of red brick turn-of-20th century terrace, 1930s semi-detached, newly built modern housing and a number of high rise blocks of flats. Other estates and areas include Black Patch, Cape Hill, Uplands, Albion Estate, Bearwood, Londonderry and Rood End. In July 2013, a major fire occurred at the Jayplas plastics and paper recycling plant on Dartmouth Road.[8] Architecture[edit]

The old Toll House

The oldest surviving building in Smethwick
Smethwick
is the Old Church[9] 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. 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
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
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.[10] 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
Soho Manufactory
in nearby Soho) in the late 18th century. In 1802, William Murdoch
William Murdoch
illuminated the foundry with gas lighting of his own invention. The foundry was later home to weighing scale makers W & T Avery Ltd.. Rolfe Street public baths were among the first public swimming baths in the country when opened north of the town centre in 1888. The baths remained open for nearly a century before closing. In the late 1980s, the Black Country Museum
Black Country Museum
expressed interest in transferring the building to its site in Dudley
Dudley
and so the transfer of the building began in 1989. It was finally opened to visitors at the museum in 1999, housing the museum's exhibition gallery and archive resource centre.[11] Thimblemill Library is a Grade II listed building
Grade II listed building
built in brick in the Moderne style.[12] Political history[edit] Main article: Smethwick
Smethwick
(UK Parliament constituency) The town has often enjoyed a somewhat turbulent political history. Smethwick
Smethwick
was created as a separate parliamentary constituency in 1918, having previously been part of the Handsworth constituency. At that year's general election, Christabel Pankhurst, standing as a Women's Party candidate, narrowly failed to become Britain's first woman MP, being defeated by Labour by 775 votes in a straight fight. Labour held the seat until 1931, from 1926 the MP being Sir Oswald Mosley, future founder of the British Union of Fascists. Mosley resigned the Labour whip in March 1931 but continued to represent the constituency until it was taken by the Conservatives at that year's general election. Labour won in the UK general election, 1945 on 26 July. However, the victorious MP, Alfred Dobbs, was killed in a car crash the very next day. He is the shortest-serving Member of Parliament (MP) in British history, if one discounts a few cases of people being elected posthumously. In the resulting by-election, Patrick Gordon Walker
Patrick Gordon Walker
won for Labour. In the 1964 general election, Gordon Walker, who was Shadow Foreign Secretary, was defeated in controversial circumstances in the constituency by Conservative candidate Peter Griffiths; 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 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.[13] Civic history[edit] See also: Evolution of Worcestershire
Worcestershire
county boundaries Originally a hamlet within the parish of Harborne, 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. 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.[14] 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.[15] The archives for the Borough of Smethwick
Smethwick
are held at Sandwell Community History and Archives Service Transport history[edit] 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. James Brindley
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
& Dudley
Dudley
Railway (of 1852) near the current Hawthorns and Stourbridge
Stourbridge
with a station at Smethwick
Smethwick
West and a link to the Stour Valley line
Stour Valley line
towards New Street called Smethwick Junction, the Stourbridge Railway was merged into the Great Western in 1870. It was not until 1931 that a railway station was constructed at the Hawthorns, although it was a 'Halt' primarily for football ground, this station closed in 1967.

British Rail Class 33
British Rail Class 33
at Swanage, built by the Birmingham
Birmingham
Railway Carriage and Wagon Company

From 1854 the Birmingham
Birmingham
Railway, Carriage & Wagon Works was based in Smethwick
Smethwick
until its closure in 1963. The company not only built trains, but also London Underground
London Underground
stock, buses and a military equipment. Soho railway station closed in 1949, followed by Spon Lane in 1968. beginning the first of a several rail closures in the town. In 1972 the section of line between Smethwick
Smethwick
West and Birmingham
Birmingham
Moor Street, as well as the Birmingham, Wolverhampton
Wolverhampton
and Dudley
Dudley
railway, was closed with the exception of a single line between Smethwick
Smethwick
West and Coopers Scrap Metal in Handsworth and all Stourbridge
Stourbridge
services were diverted into Birmingham
Birmingham
New Street. In 1995 the line between Birmingham
Birmingham
Snow Hill and Smethwick
Smethwick
West was restored and a new station called Galton Bridge
Galton Bridge
was constructed over both the Snow Hill and Stour Valley lines to provide an interchange. Smethwick
Smethwick
West was due to close when Galton Bridge
Galton Bridge
opened, but due to a legal error British Railways had to maintain a Parliamentary train
Parliamentary train
service to the station. Most local trains from Stourbridge
Stourbridge
to Birmingham
Birmingham
were diverted into Snow Hill although it was not until 2004 that the last regular service used the route into Birmingham
Birmingham
New Street via Smethwick
Smethwick
Junction. A train maintenance depot is located in Soho next to Soho rail junction, road access is just of Wellington Street. It is the principle train depot for London Midland's Class 323 train fleet, which are often seen providing local train services in the area. Buses and trams

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.[16] Smethwick
Smethwick
never had its own Corporation Transport Department, like West Bromwich
West Bromwich
or 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.[17] 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
The Hawthorns railway station
and metro stop

The 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 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
Bilston
Road into Wolverhampton
Wolverhampton
city centre. From late 2015 the service was extended from its former terminus at Snow Hill through the city centre to New Street railway station.[18] The metro can be caught at the Hawthorns railway station. Industry and commerce[edit]

This section needs expansion. You can help by adding to it. (November 2010)

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.[19] In 1659, a mill in the Hockley Brook is recorded as belonging to a Mr. Lane.[19] 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.[19] 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.[20] The railway was opened in 1852.

Soho Foundry
Soho Foundry
main gate

The Soho Foundry, opened in 1796 by James Watt
James Watt
and 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 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.,[21] 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
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.[22] Teale & Yates Ltd (Inc. 29 November 1962) was a fish, game and poultry shop which also sold fruit and vegetables. It was on the High Street for many years during the 1960s-70s providing good quality fresh food for many local people. The shop was owned by Arthur Teale and his wife Joan, with their eldest son joining the family business in the early 70s. The courier company Interlink Express established its head office and national distribution hub in the town in the early 2000s, and is a major employer in the area.

Smethwick
Smethwick
Heritage Centre

The Smethwick
Smethwick
Heritage Centre museum was opened on 15th September 2004 by Professor Carl Chinn. It maintains a collection of material on Smethwick's industrial and social heritage.[23] Education[edit]

Abbey Junior and Infants (two sites), Abbey Road, Bearwood Annie Lennard Infant School, The Oval, Thimblemill Bearwood Primary School, Bearwood Road, Bearwood Cape Hill Primary School, Cape Hill Crocketts Primary School, Coopers Lane, Cape Hill Devonshire Primary School, Auckland Road, Uplands Galton Valley Primary school George Betts Primary School, West End Avenue Holly Lodge High School, Holly Lane, West Smethwick Ruskin House Pupil Ref. Unit, Holly Lane, West Smethwick St Gregory's Roman Catholic Primary School, Park Road St Mathew's Church of England
England
School, Windmill Lane St Phillip's Catholic Primary, Messenger Road Sandwell
Sandwell
Academy, Halfords Lane, West Bromwich
West Bromwich
(built on the sites of Sandwell
Sandwell
Secondary Modern and Albion Junior schools) Shireland Collegiate Academy, Waterloo Road, Cape Hill Shireland Hall Infant and Junior School, Edith Road, Cape Hill Smethwick
Smethwick
College (part of Sandwell
Sandwell
College, now in a new purpose-built building in West Bromwich
West Bromwich
town centre), Crocketts Lane Uplands Manor Primary School, Addenbrooke Road, Uplands Victoria Park Primary School, Ballot Street

Transport[edit] Major roads The M5 runs along the western edge of Smethwick, passing over the two canals and a railway near Spon Lane. M5 Junction 1 is accessible at West Bromwich
West Bromwich
using the A41 road
A41 road
Soho Road. M5 Junction 2 is accessible at Oldbury on the A4123 Wolverhampton
Wolverhampton
Road ( Harborne
Harborne
to Wolverhampton) at Birchley Island. Another major road passing through Smethwick
Smethwick
is the A456 (Hagley Road) from Birmingham
Birmingham
to Halesowen, Kidderminster
Kidderminster
and Ludlow, which passes through Bearwood, along Lightwoods Park. Public transport Local bus service is provided primarily by National Express, as well as other operators. Smethwick
Smethwick
is on both the Hagley Road (Birmingham, Dudley, Merry Hill, Halesowen
Halesowen
and Stourbridge) and Dudley
Dudley
Road (Birmingham, Smethwick, Oldbury and Dudley) bus corridors and the famous Number 11 Birmingham
Birmingham
Outer Circle bus routes. There are also direct regular bus services to West Bromwich, Wolverhampton, Oldbury, Blackheath, Harborne, Birmingham
Birmingham
University and Dudley.[24] Dudley Road corridor buses provide a bus link to the nearby City Hospital in Winson Green. Smethwick
Smethwick
has three operational railway stations providing regular local and some long distance services. All of the stations are currently managed by London Midland
London Midland
who provide most of the train services. The closest 'intercity' railway stations are either Birmingham
Birmingham
New Street or Sandwell
Sandwell
and Dudley.

Rolfe Street railway station in Smethwick

Smethwick Rolfe Street railway station
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. Smethwick
Smethwick
Galton Bridge
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, linking Birmingham
Birmingham
and Wolverhampton. The Jewellery Line
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, 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.[25]

By road the fastest routes are either via the M5, M6 and M42 Motorways, or via Birmingham city centre
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).

Public services and government[edit] Government Smethwick
Smethwick
is represented at Sandwell
Sandwell
Metropolitan Borough Council by 12 councillors, covering the four wards of Soho & Victoria, St Pauls (which covers up to the Hawthorns ground), Smethwick
Smethwick
and Abbey. It is represented in the House of Commons as part of the Warley constituency. It also included Bristnall ward up until 2004, when it was transferred to Oldbury 'town'. Library services There are two public libraries in Smethwick; the larger main library is located on the High Street[26] and a smaller one islocated on Thimblemill Road.[27] Smethwick
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.[28] 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.[29] Emergency services Policing in Smethwick
Smethwick
is provided by the 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
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[edit] 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[30] (Including Galton Village)

Notable residents[edit]

Charles Douglas Fox
Charles Douglas Fox
(1843–1921), English civil engineer Sydney Barnes (1873–1967), England
England
fast bowler, was born in Smethwick Billy Williams (1876–1929), English professional footballer entirely with West Bromwich
West Bromwich
Albion Harold John Colley
Harold John Colley
VC MM (1894-1918) Ann George (1903–1989), actress Ken Wharton
Ken Wharton
(1916–1957), British racing driver Christine McVie
Christine McVie
(1943-) Musician, songwriter Julian Dawes (1942–), musician, composer Bobby Thomson, English professional footballer Julie Walters
Julie Walters
(1950–), actress, spent her early years at 69 Bishopton Road, in the Bearwood area of Smethwick Patrick Cowdell (1953–), British boxer Mark Van Hoen
Mark Van Hoen
(1966–), electric music artist, born in Croydon but brought up in Smethwick There is disputed evidence that Charlie Chaplin
Charlie Chaplin
might have been born in the Black Patch Park
Black Patch Park
area of the town.

See also[edit]

Wikimedia Commons has media related to Smethwick.

Black Patch Park The Black Country

References[edit]

^ " Smethwick
Smethwick
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External links[edit]

Sandwell
Sandwell
Council Smethwick
Smethwick
Local History Society Smethwick: Economic history, A History of the County of Staffordshire: Volume XVII: Offlow hundred (part) (1976), pp.107–18 Smethwick
Smethwick
Borough Archive Catalogue Smethwick
Smethwick
Heritage Centre

v t e

Ceremonial county of West Midlands

Metropolitan districts

City of Birmingham City of Coventry City of Wolverhampton Metropolitan Borough of Dudley Metropolitan Borough of Sandwell Metropolitan Borough of Solihull Metropolitan Borough of Walsall

Major settlements

Aldridge Bilston Birmingham Blackheath Bloxwich Brierley Hill Brownhills Coventry Cradley Heath Darlaston Dudley Fordbridge Halesowen Oldbury Rowley Regis Smethwick Solihull Stourbridge Sutton Coldfield Tipton Walsall Wednesbury West Bromwich Willenhall Wolverhampton See also: West Midlands

Rivers

River Blythe River Cole River Penk River Rea Smestow Brook River Sherbourne River Sow River Sowe River Stour River Tame

Canals

Birmingham
Birmingham
Canal Navigations Shropshire Union Canal Staffordshire
Staffordshire
& Worcestershire Worcester & Birmingham

Topics

Places Population of major settlements Parliamentary constituencies SSSIs Country houses Grade I listed buildings Grade II* listed buildings Conservation areas History Lord Lieutenants High Sheriffs Museums

Black Country Birmingham
Birmingham
Airport Coventry/Bedworth Urban Area Transport for West Midlands West Midlands conurbation West Midlands Combined Authority Mayor of the West Midlands

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