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Bloxwich in history


High Street, Bloxwich

'Bloc's Village' goes right back to before the Norman Conquest. When the Romans left, Britain was invaded by the Anglo-Saxons and the Midlands became the Kingdom of Mercia. Mercian families established many small communities in the area and the family of Bloc settled in Bloxwich (Blocheswic in Domesday Book, meaning Bloc's Village). In 1162 the Manor of Walsall was granted to Herbert Ruffus by William II. Bloxwich was included in the grant as part of the 'Foreign of Walsall' and was known as such until 1835.

Throughout the Middle Ages Bloxwich had been a small agricultural village with a population of around 600, but it expanded in the 18th century when coal mines were opened. There were many cottage industries at this time, making awls, nails, needles and saddle blades. By early 19th century Bloxwich was surrounded by canals, encouraging expansion, as goods could be moved more easily.

Bloxwich had a chapel of ease within the parish of Walsall, granted in the 15th century, but did not become a separate parish until the 19th century. An old preaching cross, believed to pre-date the church still stands in the churchyard. All Saints Church dates mostly from 1875-1877 when the original church, St. Thomas of Canterbury, was rebuilt and rededicated. Church Street led to the poorest part of Bloxwich known as Chapel Field Cottages. A workhouse on Elmore Green was open by 1752.

Bloxwich Hall was built in 1830 for an ironmaster. It fell into neglect for some time, but was beautifully restored as offices for Barry Rhodes advertising, and now houses various companies. Nearby the old house known as 'Manor House' which became a maternity hospital is now a hospital for elderly patients.

The oldest surviving building in Bloxwich is the ‘Cottage Shop’ on the corner of Samuel Street, the foundations of which go back to the 15th century. The old Vicarage is also interesting and is believed to date back to the 1600's.

Pat Collins, 'King of Showmen', used to live in Lime Tree House. He held the Bloxwich Wakes here every August. The site is now the ASDA supermarket car park. Bloxwich had a music hall and two cinemas at one time. The music hall became the Labour Exchange and is currently a sports hall. The first cinema was in the former 1832 Methodist Chapel, now in use as a retail unit after spending many years as a factory. Another cinema, The Grosvenor, was built by Pat Collins in 1922 in High Street, and is still there opposite the church, going through many uses since it closed in 1959.

Wolverhampton Road, Bloxwich

Bloxwich expanded further during the 1950's and 60's. Three large new housing estates were built and several schools. Elmore Green High School became the Annex for T. P. Riley Comprehensive School, which is presently undergoing demolition. Elmore Green School still has its infants and juniors and the other part of the school, across the road, is now a nursery school and adult education centre.

Bronwyn Pace

This page was last updated on 26 September 2014