Place:Smethwick, Staffordshire, England

Watchers
NameSmethwick
TypeTown, Borough (county)
Coordinates52.493°N 1.968°W
Located inStaffordshire, England     ( - 1966)
Also located inWorcestershire, England     (1966 - 1974)
West Midlands, England     (1974 - )
See alsoHarborne, Staffordshire, Englandparish in which Smethwick was located until 1894
Warley, Worcestershire, Englandcounty borough into which it was merged in 1966
Sandwell, West Midlands, Englandmetropolitan borough into which it was placed in 1974
source: Family History Library Catalog
the following text is based on an article in Wikipedia

Smethwick, formerly a county borough in the county of Staffordshire, is now a town in the Sandwell Metropolitan Borough, in the county of the West Midlands of England. Situated near the edge of the metropolitan borough, it borders the city of Birmingham to the east.

Civic history

Originally a hamlet within the parish of Harborne, Staffordshire, Smethwick was made into an urban district in 1894, and later incorporated as a municipal borough in 1899, and as a county borough in 1907. In 1966, Smethwick was merged with the boroughs of Oldbury and 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 in 1974 to form the Sandwell Metropolitan Borough, which was incorporated into the new county of the West Midlands.

In 1888, there had been plans for Smethwick to be incorporated into the city of Birmingham, but the urban district council voted against these plans by a single vote.

The archives for the Borough of Smethwick are held at the Sandwell Community History and Archives Service (http://www.sandwell.gov.uk/archives).

History

the following text is based on an article in Wikipedia

Until the end of the 18th century Smethwick was an outlying hamlet of the south Staffordshire parish 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.

Smethwick's history over the past two centuries illustrates the importance of industry to what is now the County of the West Midlands.

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 (1823-1883), the notable mechanical and electrical engineer. The company was bankrupted in 1855 by the failure of an overseas railway to pay for work done.

Other former industry included railway rolling stock manufacture, at the 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.

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.

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.

For more information, see the EN Wikipedia article Smethwick.

Staffordshire Research Tips

Reminder: Staffordshire today covers a much smaller area than formerly. The West Midlands now governs the southeastern corner of pre-1974 Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent, although ceremonially still part of Staffordshire, is a unitary authority covering a large well-populated part of the north of the county.

  • The William Salt Library is the reference library in Stafford and is adjacent to the county archive offices. They have an online catalogue of their holdings.
  • GENUKI lists other large libraries in Staffordshire for Wolverhampton, Burton-upon-Trent, Dudley, Walsall, and Sandwell. The last three of these places are now in the West Midlands and may hold items of local interest which are no longer housed in Staffordshire libraries and archives. For example, The Walsall Archives Centre keeps local census records and local church records.
  • The Birmingham & Midland Society for Genealogy and Heraldry includes Staffordshire in its remit. It has branches in Stoke-on-Trent, Burton-on-Trent and Wolverhampton. Publications are available through the BMSGH shop. Payments accepted by debit and credit card and by Paypal. Other family history and local history societies situated around Staffordshire are listed by GENUKI.
  • The Midlands Historical Data project produces searchable facsimile copies of old local history books and directories of interest to genealogists. It specialises in the three counties of Warwickshire, Worcestershire and Staffordshire, working closely with libraries, archives and family history societies in the area. Digital images are made freely available to participating organisations to improve public access. Free search index on its web-site to all its books. In many cases payment will be required to see the extract.
  • GENUKI makes a great many suggestions as to other websites with worthwhile information about Staffordshire as well as leading to a collection of 19th century descriptions of each of the ecclesiastical parishes.
  • The FamilySearch Wiki provides a similar information service to GENUKI which may be more up-to-date. An index of parishes leads to notes and references for each parish. The auxiliary website English Jurisdictions can also be helpful.
  • A Vision of Britain through Time has
  1. organization charts of the hierarchies of parishes within hundreds, registration districts (1837 onwards) and the rural and urban districts of the 20th century. They have just announced (August 2015) a future expansion to their data including 2011 census population data and links to post-1974 county organization.
  2. excerpts from a gazetteer of circa 1870 outlining individual towns and parishes
  3. reviews of population through the time period 1800-1960
  • Brett Langston's list of Staffordshire Registration Districts and parishes within each registration district from 1837 to the present can indicate where to find details of civil registration entries since the process began in England.
  • More local sources can often be found by referring to "What Links Here" in the column on the left.
This page uses content from the English Wikipedia. The original content was at Smethwick. The list of authors can be seen in the page history. As with WeRelate, the content of Wikipedia is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.