Known as the Hagley Road in Birmingham, the A456 is a main road in England running between Central Birmingham and Woofferton, south of Ludlow. Some sections of the route, for example Edgbaston near Bearwood, are the route of the Elan Aqueduct which carries Birmingham's water supply from the Elan Valley. Much of the road is certainly medieval in origin. However, the road was laid out in its present form by a series of 18th century turnpike trusts. From Birmingham to Blakedown section was the responsibility of one trust established in 1753 to improve roads from the market house in Stourbridge. Blakedown was part of Hagley, giving rise to the name for it of'Hagley Road'. Sections of the route have had other names. For example, the 1903 Ordnance Survey map shows the name "Beech Lane" by Lightwoods House west of Bearwood, the area south of Hagley Road between Lordswood Road and Wolverhampton Road is still referred to as "Beech Lanes"The section from Blakedown to Bewdley Bridge represents two of the eight roads from the market house in Kidderminster that were maintained by a trust established in 1759.
The turnpike road passed through Halesowen, following what is now A458 road and B4183 to Hayley Green. Halesowen was bypassed around the south of the town in the 1950s due to rising traffic levels and the growth of the town, Manor Lane became part of A456. In the 1970s the Quinton Expressway was opened to connect with M5 motorway junction 3, when the northern section of M5 was opened in the 1970s. From the Welsh Gate of Bewdley to Newnham Bridge, it was managed by the Bewdley Trust established in 1753. From Monksbridge (the Shropshire boundary, to Woofferton and so to Ludlow, the road was repaired by the Ludlow First Turnpike Trust of about 1751; the intervening section was handled by the Hundred House Turnpike Trust of 1753. The Hundred House at Great Witley was the meeting place for Doddingtree Hundred; this trust was unusual in being responsible for several roads radiating from a place, not a town. The A456 starts as Broad Street at the Paradise Circus junction on Queensway in the city centre, leading on to the Five Ways junction on the Middleway in Birmingham, heading West through the Birmingham suburbs of Edgbaston and Quinton using a mixture of dual carriageway and single carriageway roads, though maintaining at least 2 lanes in each direction.
Just beyond Quinton, the A458 exits towards Halesowen, while the A456 bypasses the town to the South, meeting the M5 at Junction 3. This route was completed in the 1960s, beginning with Quinton Expressway and resuming beyond the motorway junction as Manor Way. Part of the historic Staffordshire/Worcestershire border runs along the road by Lightwoods Park, today this is the boundary between Birmingham City Council and the Metropolitan Borough of Sandwell; the road resumes its original route on the West side of Halesowen, entering Worcestershire and passing over the Clent Hills. The A491 is crossed in the village of Hagley, where the road becomes single carriageway once more, passing through the village followed by the village of Blakedown. Beyond there a dual carriageway section takes the road to Kidderminster, crossing the A449, before following the town's Ring Road to the North side. Now on the West side of Kidderminster, the road passes the General Hospital before leaving the town and passing the West Midland Safari Park.
The next town of Bewdley is now bypassed by a single carriageway road to the South and West, this road being completed in 1987. Just after Bewdley the A4117 road begins at the Fingerpost junction with the A456. Continuing West, the road is rural in nature, passing the Wyre Forest meeting the A443 at a "T" junction; the road passes just to the North of Tenbury Wells, the A4112 providing access to the town, through the village of Little Hereford. Between Newnham Bridge and Burford the road enters Shropshire, enters Herefordshire for about the same distance, before entering Shropshire again at its junction with the A49; the A456 terminates shortly after on the A49 in Woofferton. Bewdley Halesowen Kidderminster Birmingham Oratory, Edgbaston West Midland Safari Park Severn Valley Railway Wyre Forest River Teme The road crosses a number of water courses along its route, both natural and man-made. Traveling eastbound, one will cross Gosford Brook, River Teme, Ledwyche Brook, Corn Brook, River Rea, River Severn, River Stour, the Staffordshire and Worcestershire Canal, the Elan Aqueduct and the BCN Main Line, along with many other smaller streams and brooks
1918 United Kingdom general election
The 1918 United Kingdom general election was called after the Armistice with Germany which ended the First World War, was held on Saturday, 14 December 1918. The governing coalition, under Prime Minister David Lloyd George, sent letters of endorsement to candidates who supported the coalition government; these were nicknamed "Coalition Coupons", led to the election being known as the "coupon election". The result was a massive landslide in favour of the coalition, comprising the Conservatives and Coalition Liberals, with massive losses for Liberals who were not endorsed. Nearly all the Liberal M. P.s without coupons were defeated, although party leader H. H. Asquith managed to return to Parliament in a by-election, it was the first general election to include on a single day all eligible voters of the United Kingdom, although the vote count was delayed until 28 December so that the ballots cast by soldiers serving overseas could be included in the tallies. It resulted in a landslide victory for the coalition government of David Lloyd George, who had replaced H. H. Asquith as Prime Minister in December 1916.
They were both Liberals and continued to battle for control of the party, fast losing popular support and never regained power. It was the first general election to be held after enactment of the Representation of the People Act 1918, it was thus the first election in which women over the age of 30, all men over the age of 21, could vote. All women and many poor men had been excluded from voting. Women showed enormous patriotism, supported the coalition candidates, it was the first parliamentary election in which women were able to stand as candidates following the Parliament Act 1918, believed to be one of the shortest Acts of Parliament given Royal Assent. The Act was passed shortly, it followed a report by Law Officers that the Great Reform Act 1832 had specified parliamentary candidates had to be male and that the Representation of the People Act passed earlier in the year did not change that. One women, Nina Boyle, had presented herself for a by election earlier in the year in Keighley but had been turned down by the returning officer on technical grounds.
The election was noted for the dramatic result in Ireland, which showed clear disapproval of government policy. The Irish Parliamentary Party were completely wiped out by the Irish republican party Sinn Féin, who vowed in their manifesto to establish an independent Irish Republic, they refused to take their seats in Westminster, instead forming a breakaway government and declaring Irish independence. The Irish War of Independence began soon after the election. Lloyd George's coalition government was supported by the majority of the Liberals and Bonar Law's Conservatives. However, the election saw a split in the Liberal Party between those who were aligned with Lloyd George and the government and those who were aligned with Asquith, the party's official leader. On 14 November it was announced that Parliament, sitting since 1910 and had been extended by emergency wartime action, would dissolve on 25 November, with elections on 14 December. Following confidential negotiations over the summer of 1918, it was agreed that certain candidates were to be offered the support of the Prime Minister and the leader of the Conservative Party at the next general election.
To these candidates a letter, known as the Coalition Coupon, was sent, indicating the government's endorsement of their candidacy. 159 Liberal, 364 Conservative, 20 National Democratic and Labour, 2 Coalition Labour candidates received the coupon. For this reason the election is called the Coupon Election.80 Conservative candidates stood without a coupon. Of these, 35 candidates were Irish Unionists. Of the other non-couponed Conservative candidates, only 23 stood against a Coalition candidate; the Labour Party, led by William Adamson, fought the election independently, as did those Liberals who did not receive a coupon. The election was not chiefly fought over what peace to make with Germany, although those issues played a role. More important was the voters' evaluation of Lloyd George in terms of what he had accomplished so far and what he promised for the future, his supporters emphasised. Against his strong record in social legislation, he called for making "a country fit for heroes to live in".
This election was known as a khaki election, due to the immediate postwar setting and the role of the demobilised soldiers. The coalition won the election with the Conservatives the big winners, they were the largest party in the governing majority. Lloyd George remained Prime Minister, despite the Conservatives outnumbering his pro-coalition Liberals; the Conservatives welcomed his leadership on foreign policy as the Paris Peace talks began a few weeks after the election. An additional 47 Conservatives, 23 of whom were Irish Unionists, won without the coupon but did not act as a separate block or oppose the government except on the issue of Irish independence. While most of the pro-coalition Liberals were re-elected, Asquith's faction was reduced to just 36 seats and lost all their leaders from parliament. Nine of these MPs subsequently joined the Coalition Liberal group; the remainder became bitter enemies of Lloyd George. The Labour Party increased its vote share and surpassed the total votes of either Liberal party.
Labour became the Official Opposition for the first time, but they lacked an official leader and so the Leader of the Opposition for the next fourteen months was the stand-in Liberal leader Donald Maclean (Asquith
West Midlands conurbation
The West Midlands conurbation is the large conurbation that includes the cities of Birmingham and Wolverhampton and the large towns of Sutton Coldfield, Walsall, West Bromwich, Solihull and Halesowen in the English West Midlands. Not to be confused with the region or metropolitan county of the same name, the conurbation does not include parts of the metropolitan county such as Coventry, but does include parts of the surrounding counties of Staffordshire and Worcestershire. According to the 2011 Census the area had a population of 2,440,986, making it the third most populated in the United Kingdom behind the Greater London and Greater Manchester Built Up Areas; however it should be stated that the Conurbation sits within the UK's largest Metropolitan Area outside London. The conurbation has several other unofficial names, such as the controversial Greater Birmingham, the Birmingham conurbation, the Birmingham-Wolverhampton conurbation and the Greater Birmingham-Black Country conurbation with the latter gaining wide traction as an alternative to the unliked official name of the Conurbation.
The conurbation is polycentric - Birmingham and Wolverhampton have separate Eurostat Larger Urban Zones, there are separate Travel to Work areas defined for Birmingham, Dudley & Sandwell and Walsall & Cannock. Although the exact boundaries of any conurbation are open to debate, dependent on what criteria are used to determine where an urban area ceases, the Office for National Statistics defines the West Midlands Built Up Area as including the urban areas of Birmingham, Solihull, West Bromwich and Walsall amongst others; these settlements are not coterminous with the Metropolitan Boroughs of the same name. The area of conurbation between Birmingham and Wolverhampton is known as the Black Country; the Black Country has no single centre, having grown up from a number of historic market towns and industrial villages that coalesced during the 20th century. It remains polycentric with many of the towns and villages remaining recognisable communities. Coventry is separated from the West Midlands conurbation by the Meriden Gap, other urban areas, such as Cannock and Codsall are only narrowly avoided.
The conurbation is seen as being coterminous with the West Midlands Metropolitan county. For administrative purposes, the vast majority of the conurbation falls within the six Metropolitan Boroughs of Birmingham, Sandwell, Solihull and Wolverhampton. Two Local enterprise partnerships cover the majority of the conurbation area: Black Country LEP comprises the local authorities of Dudley, Sandwell and Wolverhampton while the Greater Birmingham & Solihull LEP includes those two authorities and a number of satellite boroughs, many remote from the conurbation and not traditionally associated with it; the West Midlands Built Up Area consists of the below settlements. Due to the change in methodology between the 2001 and 2011 Census, the amount of change between 2011 Census and previous census data, it is impossible to compare the data directly between 2011 and earlier Censuses. In the 2011 Census and Water Orton are two separate built-up areas with populations of 6,341 and 3,444 respectively. Prior to 2011, they were considered part of the West Midlands Urban Area.
Prior to the 2011 census, the conurbation was known by the ONS as the West Midlands Urban Area, which contained the following Urban Sub-Divisions: Notes: Knowle and Bentley Heath are considered as one settlement in 2001, but are considered separately in 1991 and 1981. Bentley Heath was not considered to be a settlement within the West Midlands Urban Area in 1981. Coleshill and Water Orton were not considered to be part of the West Midlands Urban Area in 1981, but a separate Coleshill/Water Orton Urban Area with a total population of 9,554. Yew Tree is only considered part of the West Midlands Urban Area in the 2001 census. Cheswick Green was not considered to be a settlement within the West Midlands Urban Area in 1981. Shelly Green was not considered to be a settlement within the West Midlands Urban Area in 1981 or 1991. Constituent areas of Birmingham, England List of areas in Dudley list of areas in Sandwell List of areas in Walsall List of areas in Wolverhampton Office for National Statistics, Key Statistics for urban areas in the Midlands, London: TSO Laid before Parliament pursuant to Section 4 Census Act 1920 Census 2001, retrieved April 2013
Mary Reid Macarthur was a British suffragist and Scottish trades unionist. She was the general secretary of the Women's Trade Union League and was involved in the formation of the National Federation of Women Workers and National Anti-Sweating League. In 1910 Mary led the women chain makers of Cradley Heath to victory in their fight for a minimum wage and led a strike to force employers to implement the rise. Macarthur was born Mary Reid Anderson on 13 August 1880 in Glasgow, the eldest of six children to John Duncan Macarthur, the owner of a drapery business, his wife, Anne Elizabeth Martin, she attended Glasgow Girls' High School, after editing the school magazine, decided she wanted to become a full-time writer. After her Glasgow schooling she spent time studying in Germany before returning to Scotland to work for her father as a bookkeeper. About 1901, Macarthur became a trade unionist after hearing a speech made by John Turner about how badly some workers were being treated by their employers.
Mary became secretary of the Ayr branch of the Shop Assistants' Union, her interest in this union led to her work for the improvement of women's labour conditions. In 1902 Mary became friends with Margaret Bondfield who encouraged her to attend the union's national conference where Macarthur was elected to the union's national executive. In 1903 Macarthur moved to London. Active in the fight for the vote, she was opposed to those in the NUWSS and the WSPU who were willing to accept the franchise being given to only certain groups of women. Macarthur believed that a limited franchise would disadvantage the working class and feared that it might act against the granting of full adult suffrage; the Women's Trade Union League united women-only unions from different trades including a mixed-class membership. The conflicting aims of activists affiliated with different classes and organisations barred the league from affiliation to the Trades Union Congress. To solve this conflict Macarthur founded the National Federation of Women Workers in 1906.
The model for the Federation was a general labour union, "open to all women in unorganised trades or who were not admitted to their appropriate trade union."In general Macarthur chose the universal suffrage position over gradualist approaches both within the Trade Union movement and the Women's Rights movement. "Mary Macarthur estimated that if women were enfranchised on the same terms as men, less than 5 per cent of working women would be eligible." Macarthur was involved in the Exhibition of Sweated Industries in 1905 and the formation of the Anti-Sweating League in 1906. The following year she founded a monthly newspaper for women trade unionists. In 1910 the women chainmakers of Cradley Heath won a battle to establish the right to a fair wage following a 10-week strike; this landmark victory changed the lives of thousands of workers who were earning little more than'starvation wages'. Macarthur was the trade unionist. In reference to female earnings, Macarthur commented that "women are unorganised because they are badly paid, poorly paid because they are unorganised.".
The Cradley Heath Workers' Institute was funded using money left over from the strike fund of the 1910. Because of the fame she had earned as an organiser at Cradley Heath Macarthur was sent for in August, 1911, when the Bermondsey Uprising began. Early in 1911 Ada Salter had founded a Women's Labour League branch in Bermondsey and was recruiting women in the local food and drink factories to Macarthur's NFWW. In August, one of the hottest on record, the appalling conditions in some of these factories became unbearable and 14,000 women walked out on strike from 22 factories; this was the Bermondsey Uprising. Though inspired by Salter it was Macarthur who organised the strikers, led the negotiations and secured a historic victory for low-paid women; the highlight was a mass rally in Southwark Park where the blistering oratory of Macarthur was backed up by Sylvia Pankhurst, Charlotte Despard and George Lansbury. In August 1913, in response to the government Prisoners Act 1913 whereby hunger striking prisoners would be released when too weak to be active and permitting their re-arrest as soon as they were active, Macarthur took part in a delegation to meet with the Home Secretary, Reginald McKenna and discuss the Cat and Mouse Act.
McKenna was unwilling to talk to them and when the women refused to leave the House of Commons and Margaret McMillan were physically ejected and Evelyn Sharp and Emmeline Pethick-Lawrence were arrested and sent to Holloway Prison. Although an opponent of the war Macarthur nonetheless became secretary of the Ministry of Labour's central committee on women's employment. After the Representation of the People Act 1918 had enfranchised women over the age of thirty and the Parliament Act 1918 allowed women to stand for Parliament, Macarthur stood as Labour Party candidate in the newly created county constituency Stourbridge, Worcestershire at the General Election on 14 December 1919; this was a large constituency which included Halesowen, Oldbury and Warley Woods. It did not include the Cradley Heath area; the returning officer insisted that she was listed under her married name of Mrs W. C. Anderson; the defending Liberal MP was John Wilson a director of the Albright and Wilson chemicals firm in Oldbury, in the constituency.
She was opposed by Victor Fisher of the National Democratic and Labour Party, who had the
England is a country, part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Wales to Scotland to the north-northwest; the Irish Sea lies west of England and the Celtic Sea lies to the southwest. England is separated from continental Europe by the North Sea to the east and the English Channel to the south; the country covers five-eighths of the island of Great Britain, which lies in the North Atlantic, includes over 100 smaller islands, such as the Isles of Scilly and the Isle of Wight. The area now called England was first inhabited by modern humans during the Upper Palaeolithic period, but takes its name from the Angles, a Germanic tribe deriving its name from the Anglia peninsula, who settled during the 5th and 6th centuries. England became a unified state in the 10th century, since the Age of Discovery, which began during the 15th century, has had a significant cultural and legal impact on the wider world; the English language, the Anglican Church, English law – the basis for the common law legal systems of many other countries around the world – developed in England, the country's parliamentary system of government has been adopted by other nations.
The Industrial Revolution began in 18th-century England, transforming its society into the world's first industrialised nation. England's terrain is chiefly low hills and plains in central and southern England. However, there is upland and mountainous terrain in the west; the capital is London, which has the largest metropolitan area in both the United Kingdom and the European Union. England's population of over 55 million comprises 84% of the population of the United Kingdom concentrated around London, the South East, conurbations in the Midlands, the North West, the North East, Yorkshire, which each developed as major industrial regions during the 19th century; the Kingdom of England – which after 1535 included Wales – ceased being a separate sovereign state on 1 May 1707, when the Acts of Union put into effect the terms agreed in the Treaty of Union the previous year, resulting in a political union with the Kingdom of Scotland to create the Kingdom of Great Britain. In 1801, Great Britain was united with the Kingdom of Ireland to become the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland.
In 1922 the Irish Free State seceded from the United Kingdom, leading to the latter being renamed the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. The name "England" is derived from the Old English name Englaland, which means "land of the Angles"; the Angles were one of the Germanic tribes that settled in Great Britain during the Early Middle Ages. The Angles came from the Anglia peninsula in the Bay of Kiel area of the Baltic Sea; the earliest recorded use of the term, as "Engla londe", is in the late-ninth-century translation into Old English of Bede's Ecclesiastical History of the English People. The term was used in a different sense to the modern one, meaning "the land inhabited by the English", it included English people in what is now south-east Scotland but was part of the English kingdom of Northumbria; the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle recorded that the Domesday Book of 1086 covered the whole of England, meaning the English kingdom, but a few years the Chronicle stated that King Malcolm III went "out of Scotlande into Lothian in Englaland", thus using it in the more ancient sense.
According to the Oxford English Dictionary, its modern spelling was first used in 1538. The earliest attested reference to the Angles occurs in the 1st-century work by Tacitus, Germania, in which the Latin word Anglii is used; the etymology of the tribal name itself is disputed by scholars. How and why a term derived from the name of a tribe, less significant than others, such as the Saxons, came to be used for the entire country and its people is not known, but it seems this is related to the custom of calling the Germanic people in Britain Angli Saxones or English Saxons to distinguish them from continental Saxons of Old Saxony between the Weser and Eider rivers in Northern Germany. In Scottish Gaelic, another language which developed on the island of Great Britain, the Saxon tribe gave their name to the word for England. An alternative name for England is Albion; the name Albion referred to the entire island of Great Britain. The nominally earliest record of the name appears in the Aristotelian Corpus the 4th-century BC De Mundo: "Beyond the Pillars of Hercules is the ocean that flows round the earth.
In it are two large islands called Britannia. But modern scholarly consensus ascribes De Mundo not to Aristotle but to Pseudo-Aristotle, i.e. it was written in the Graeco-Roman period or afterwards. The word Albion or insula Albionum has two possible origins, it either derives from a cognate of the Latin albus meaning white, a reference to the white cliffs of Dover or from the phrase the "island of the Albiones" in the now lost Massaliote Periplus, attested through Avienus' Ora Maritima to which the former served as a source. Albion is now applied to England in a more poetic capacity. Another romantic name for England is Loegria, related to the Welsh word for England and made popular by its use in Arthurian legend; the earliest known evidence of human presence in the area now known as England was that of Homo antecessor, dating to approximate
West Midlands (region)
The West Midlands is one of nine official regions of England at the first level of NUTS for statistical purposes. It covers the western half of the area traditionally known as the Midlands, it contains Birmingham and the larger West Midlands conurbation, the third most populous in the United Kingdom. The City of Coventry is located within the West Midlands county, but is separated from the conurbation to the west by several miles of green belt; the region contains 6 shire counties which stretch from the Welsh Border to the East Midlands. The region is geographically diverse, from the urban central areas of the conurbation to the rural western counties of Shropshire and Herefordshire which border Wales; the longest river in the UK, the River Severn, traverses the region southeastwards, flowing through the county towns of Shrewsbury and Worcester, the Ironbridge Gorge, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Staffordshire is home to the industrialised Potteries conurbation, including the city of Stoke-on-Trent, the Staffordshire Moorlands area, which borders the southeastern Peak District National Park near Leek.
The region encompasses five Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, the Wye Valley, Shropshire Hills, Cannock Chase, Malvern Hills, parts of the Cotswolds. Warwickshire is home to the towns of Stratford upon Avon, birthplace of writer William Shakespeare, the birthplace of Rugby football and Nuneaton, birthplace to author George Eliot; the official region contains the ceremonial counties of Herefordshire, Staffordshire, West Midlands and Worcestershire. There is some confusion in the use of the term "West Midlands", as the name is used for the much smaller West Midlands county and conurbation, in the central belt of the Midlands and on the eastern side of the West Midlands Region, it is still used by various organisations within that area, such as West Midlands Police and West Midlands Fire Service. The highest point in the region is Black Mountain, at 703 metres in west Herefordshire on the border with Powys, Wales; the region contains five Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, including the Shropshire Hills, Malvern Hills and Cannock Chase, parts of the Wye Valley and Cotswolds.
The Peak District national park stretches into the northern corner of Staffordshire. Served by many lines in the urban areas such as the West Coast Main Line and branches; the Welsh Marches Line and the Cotswold Line transect the region as well as the Cross Country Route and Chiltern Line. There are plans to reopen the Honeybourne Line. Numerous notable roads pass with most converging around the central conurbation; the M5, which connects South West England to the region, passes through Worcestershire, near to Worcester, through the West Midlands county, past West Bromwich, with its northern terminus at its junction with the M6 just south of Walsall. The M6, which has its southern terminus just outside the southeast of the region at its junction with the M1, which connects the region to North West England, passes Rugby and Nuneaton in Warwickshire and Birmingham, Stafford and Stoke-on-Trent in Staffordshire; the M6 toll provides an alternative route to the M6 between Coleshill and Cannock, passing north of Sutton Coldfield and just south of Lichfield.
The M40 connects the region through South East England to London, with its northern terminus at its junction with the M42. The M42 connects the M5 at Bromsgrove, passing around the south and east of Birmingham, joining the M40 and M6, passing Solihull and Castle Bromwich, to Tamworth, northeast of Birmingham; the M50 connects the M5 from near Tewkesbury to Ross-on-Wye in the southwest. The M54 connects Wellington in the west, to the M6 near Cannock; the A5 road traverses the region northwest-southeast, passing through Shrewsbury, Cannock and Nuneaton. The longest elevated road viaduct in the UK is the 3 miles section from Gravelly Hill to Castle Bromwich on the M6, opened on 24 May 1972; the section of the A45 in Coventry from Willenhall to Allesley in 1939 was one of the UK's first large planned road schemes. Princes Square in Wolverhampton had Britain's first automatic traffic lights on 5 November 1927. On 13 January 2012, 34-year-old Ben Westwood of Wednesfield, was caught by the police, when speeding at 180 mph, in an Audi RS5 with a Lamborghini engine, from Wolverhampton up to Stafford on the M6, back again.
He was travelling so fast that he was outpacing the Central Counties Air Operations Unit Eurocopter helicopter. He and the vehicle had been in fifteen smash and grab raids and he was jailed for nine years at Wolverhampton Crown Court in August 2012; as part of the transport planning system, the Regional Assembly is under statutory requirement to produce a regional transport strategy to provide long term planning for transport in the region. This involves region wide transport schemes such as those carried out by Highways England and Network Rail. Within the region, the local transport authorities carry out transport planning through the use of a local transport plan which outlines their strategies and implementation programme; the most recent LTP is that for the period 2006–11. In the West Midlands region, the following transport authorities have published their LTP online: Herefordshire, Shropshire U. A. Staffordshire and Wrekin U. A. Warwickshire, West Midlands and Worcestershire; the transport authority of Stoke-on-Trent U.
A. publishes a joint local transport plan in partnership with
Smethwick is a small town in Sandwell, West Midlands in Staffordshire. It is 4 miles west of Birmingham city centre and borders West Bromwich and Oldbury to the north and west. A Staffordshire county borough, Smethwick is situated near the edge of Sandwell metropolitan borough and borders the Birmingham districts of Handsworth, Winson Green, Harborne and Quinton to the south and east, as well as the Black Country towns of West Bromwich and Oldbury, West Midlands in the north and west, it was suggested that the name Smethwick meant "smiths' place of work", but a more recent interpretation has suggested the name means "the settlement on the smooth land". Smethwick was recorded in the 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 village of Harborne. Harborne became part of the county borough of Birmingham and thus transferred from Staffordshire to Warwickshire in 1891, leaving Smethwick in the County of Staffordshire.
The world's oldest working engine, made by Boulton and Watt, the Smethwick Engine 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. His notable employees included 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 used by the GKN company. In 2015 the site was being cleared to build the new Midland Metropolitan Hospital which aims to combine the Sandwell General Hospital at West Bromwich and City Hospital, Dudley Road. Work at the site has come to a standstill because of the crisis in the building industry. Other former industry included railway rolling stock manufacture, at the Birmingham Railway Carriage and Wagon Company factory. 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 and metalwork. Council housing began in Smethwick after 1920 on land 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 involved Smethwick's boundaries being extended into part of neighbouring Oldbury in 1928. The 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 was bombed on a number of occasions by the German Luftwaffe. A total of 80 people died as a result of these air raids. After the Second World War, 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 unpopular with the white British population of Smethwick, prompting the election of Conservative Party Member of Parliament 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" being used by supporters of the winning candidate; this came two years after race riots had hit the town in 1962 and was set against a background of factory closures and a growing waiting list for local council accommodation. In 1961 the Sikh community purchased the Congregational Church on the High Street in Smethwick. Soon after, this was converted into a gurdwara; the Guru Nanak Gurdwara 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 was built, it was 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".
The homes 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, by the early 1990s, 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. 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, Albion Estate, Bearwood and Rood End. In July 2013, a major fire occurred at the Jayplas plastics and paper recycling plant on Dartmouth Road; the oldest surviving building in 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 Harborne; the building was known as "Parkes' Chapel" in honour of Mistress Dorothy Parkes who bequeathed the money for the church and for a local school.