The town of Oldbury is situated within the Black Country area close to Birmingham. The town dates from the thirteenth century and is unusual in that for most of its history it was part of the Parish of Halesowen in Worcestershire whilst its neighbouring towns were in Staffordshire.
There was mention of a Manor House in the fifteenth century, this was demolished in the middle of the eighteenth century leaving Ye Big House in Church Street the home of the Freeth family and built in 1705 as the town’s most historic building.
In the eighteenth century Oldbury began to expand and the main reason for this being the construction of canals within its boundaries and the exploration of local deposits of coal and iron. The industry sprang up the earliest being the Brades Works followed by others in subsequent years such as Arthur Albrights Phosphorous Works (latterly Albright & Wilson), Chances Chemicals for the manufacture of glass and Accles & Pollocks, Tube & Midland Tar Distillers to name a few and Oldbury became a heavily industrialised town. Chemical industries became a feature of the town amongst other items manufactured, there were boilers, bricks and surgical dressing. First World War tanks were also made and for many years one of these was displayed in the town.
In 1894 an urban district was created that combined Oldbury and Warley to form the Borough of Oldbury. In 1935 the town was granted a Charter of Incorporation and had its own Town Council being elevated to being full borough status having its own Mayor and corporation. Oldbury’s Coat of Arms of the Borough of Oldbury patented by the College of Arms in 1926. In 1966 it was absorbed into Warley and later into Sandwell in 1974.
Among the famous names to come from Oldbury include the Composer Sir Fred Bridge and Jack Judge who stirred the hearts of the nation with his song “ It’s a Long Way to Tipperary” Today the town which housed the first branch of Lloyds Bank in the country has its own Town Centre landscape including Sainsburys and Sandwell Council House.
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