Bilston is now a town in the English county of West Midlands, situated in the southeastern corner of the City of Wolverhampton. Historically in Staffordshire, three wards of Wolverhampton City Council cover the town: Bilston East and Bilston North, which almost entirely comprise parts of the historic Borough of Bilston, and Ettingshall which comprises a part of Bilston and parts of Wolverhampton.
Bilston Urban District Council was formed in 1894 under the Local Government Act 1894 covering the ancient parish of Bilston. The urban district was granted a Royal Charter in 1933, becoming a municipal borough.
In 1966 the Borough of Bilston was abolished, with most of its territory incorporated into the County Borough of Wolverhampton, although parts of Bradley in the east of the town were merged into Walsall borough.
Few towns were more dramatically transformed during the Industrial Revolution as Bilston was. In 1800, it was still a largely rural area dependent on farming. By 1900, it was a busy town with numerous factories and coalmines, as well as a large number of houses that had been built to house the workers and their families.
With the opening of the Birmingham Canal to the west of the town in 1770, industrial activity in the local area increased, with the first blast furnaces near the canal at Spring Vale being erected by 1780. Six new blast furnaces were erected there between 1866 and 1883. Five of these were producing a total of nearly 25,000 tons of steel per year at what was now known as Bilston Steel Works. The first electric powered blast furnaces opened there in 1907, and finally in 1954 the "Elisabeth" blast furnace was erected, creating 275,000 tons of steel per year.