Blackheath, West Midlands


Blackheath, West Midlands

Infobox UK place
official_name= Blackheath
map_type= West Midlands
country= England
region= West Midlands
population= 12,355 (2001 Census)
os_grid_reference= SO9786
latitude= 52.476
longitude= -2.037
post_town= ROWLEY REGIS
postcode_area= B
postcode_district= B65
dial_code= 0121
constituency_westminster= Halesowen and Rowley Regis
metropolitan_borough= Sandwell
metropolitan_county= West Midlands
Blackheath is a town in the Metropolitan Borough of Sandwell, West Midlands, England.

Establishment

Before 1841, "Bleak Heath" or "Blake Heath" was a small group of farm houses and inns on the turnpike road from Oldbury to Halesowen, within Rowley Regis. The changes brought about by the industrial revolution led to a Private Act in June that year that allowed the sale of the Rowley Regis glebe lands in order to finance the building of a new vicarage.

The land was purchased by developers who, throughout the remainder of the 19th century, expanded "Blackheath" as a dormitory town for the surrounding industries, in particular, the coal mine at Coombes Wood and the Hailstone quarry. Workers migrated to Blackheath from across England and particularly from Wales until the town and its neighbours grew to form the existing conurbation with nearby Birmingham.

Churches

The parish of St Paul was established in 1865 as a distinct entity from that of Rowley Regis and the new church consecrated in 1869. There has also been a long tradition of nonconformism with many Methodist and Baptist chapels.

Manufacturing, railways, and industrialisation

A market was established and an extension of the Great Western Railway linking Birmingham and Worcester opened a station in the town in 1867.

Into the 20th century, manufacturing grew and extractive industries declined with the last coal mine closing in 1919. Major employers were the fasteners business at the Excelsior Works of Thomas William Lench and the electrical engineering business of British Thomson-Houston (BTH). Manufacturing remained the main source of income up to the start of the 21st century with the BTH works still in operation though in the intervening years it has worked under the successive names of AEI, GEC, GEC-ALSTHOM, Hawker Siddeley, BTR and Electrodrives.

New Boroughship

Blackheath was part of the borough of Rowley Regis until 1966, when it became part of the county borough of Warley. Since 1974 it was formed part of the metropolitan borough of Sandwell.

Economy

Blackheath has always been a predominantly working class area dominated by modest housing. The town was hard hit by the economic slow-down of the 1970s and unemployment of the early 1980s. However, in the 1990s the town became more prosperous with improving housing stock and some substantial development in town centre stores and improvement in the road network.

Blackheath has many transport links with buses travelling throughout the borough and a train station nearby.

Football team Blackheath Town F.C. play in the West Midlands (Regional) League Division One (South).

Judas Priest guitarist Glenn Tipton was born in Blackheath.

With rising traffic on local roads after the Second World War, Blackheath became a congestion hotspot. Things improved slightly with the construction of a new road around the north of the town centre towards the end of the 1970s, but this was only of use to traffic coming to and from Cradley Heath and Brierley Hill. Motorists travelling from Quinton still had to negotiate the original route that was little better than it had been in the days before cars. This problem was solved in 2006 with a new relief road that circles the eastern half of the town centre and diverts traffic coming from Halesowen, Quinton and Oldbury.

Blackheath has some of the strongest public transport links in the Black Country. It has direct bus and rail links with Birmingham, while the extensive bus network gives locals a direct route to Oldbury, Halesowen, Dudley, Cradley Heath, West Bromwich and Walsall.

Blackheath Shopping

Shops within Blackheath are quite basic with charity shops, public houses, takeaway shops and banks dominating. The main feature of the town is the market opening three days a week attracting the majority of the visitors to the town.

Blackheath future expansion plans

Construction of new shops and buildings is resulting in the expansion of Blackheath.

Developers have purchased the former 'Excelsior Works' site, in the aim of building one, two and three bedroomed houses. New homes are also being built on the site of former Blackheath Primary School.

References


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