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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Coordinates: 52°35′N 1°59′W / 52.58°N 1.98°W / 52.58; -1.98

Walsall in 2007.jpg
A view over Walsall
Walsall is located in West Midlands

 Walsall shown within the West Midlands
Population 174,994 
OS grid reference SP0198
    - London  124 mi (200 km) 
Metropolitan borough Walsall
Metropolitan county West Midlands
Region West Midlands
Country England
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Post town WALSALL
Postcode district WS1
Dialling code 01922
Police West Midlands
Fire West Midlands
Ambulance West Midlands
EU Parliament West Midlands
UK Parliament Walsall North
Walsall South
List of places: UK • England • West Midlands

Walsall (About this sound pronunciation ) is a large industrial town in the West Midlands of England. It is located northwest of Birmingham and east of Wolverhampton. Historically a part of Staffordshire, Walsall is a component area of the West Midlands conurbation, and is sometimes described as part of the Black Country.

Walsall is the administrative headquarters of the Metropolitan Borough of Walsall. In the 2001 census, the town had a population of 170,994 with the wider borough having a population of 253,500. Neighbouring towns in the borough include Willenhall, Bloxwich and Aldridge.



The name Walsall is thought to have derived from the words "Walh halh", meaning "valley of the Celtic speakers" (referring to the Celts). Walsall is first referenced as 'Walesho' in a document dated 1002, however it is not referenced in the Domesday Book. Although, it is believed that a manor was held here by William FitzAnsculf, who held numerous manors in the Midlands.[1] By the first part of the 13th century, Walsall was a small market town, with the weekly market being introduced in 1220 and held on Tuesdays.[2] The Mayor of Walsall was created as a political position in the 14th century. Walsall is known as "the town of a hundred trades". (This appellation is a nod to the fact that nearby Birmingham is known as "the city of a thousand trades".)

The town was visited by Queen Elizabeth I, when it was known as 'Walshale'.[2] It was also visited by Henrietta Maria in 1643. She stayed in the town for one night at a building named the 'White Hart' in the area of Caldmore.[3] Queen Mary's Grammar School was founded by Mary I of England in 1554, and the school carries the Queen's personal badge as its emblem: the Tudor Rose and the sheaf of arrows of Catherine of Aragon tied with a Stafford Knot[4].

The Industrial Revolution changed Walsall from a village of 2,000 people in the 16th century to a town of over 86,000 in approximately 200 years. The town manufactured a wide range of products including saddles, chains, buckles and plated ware. Nearby, limestone quarrying provided the town with much prosperity.[5]

In 1821, St. Matthews Church was demolished with exception of the tower and chancel and replaced at a cost of £20,000[5] to a design by Francis Godwin.[6] In 1824, the Walsall Corporation received an Act of Parliament to improve the town by providing lighting and a gas works. The gas works were built in 1826 at a cost of £4,000. In 1825, the Corporation built eleven tiled, brick almshouses for poor women. They were known to the area as 'Molesley's Almshouses'.[7]

The 'Walsall Improvement and Market Act' was passed in 1848 and amended in 1850. The Act provided facilities for the poor, improving and extending the sewerage system and giving the commissioners the powers to construct a new gas works.[8] On 10 October 1847, a gas explosion killed one person and destroyed the west window of St Matthews Church.[9]

48 years after canals reached the town, Walsall finally received a railway line in 1847, Bescot having been served since 1838, by the Grand Junction Railway. In 1855, Walsall's first newspaper, the Walsall Courier and South Staffordshire Gazette, was published.

Walsall underwent modernisation in the 1970s with a new town centre being built at the expense of some medieval properties. In 1974, Walsall was transferred from the county of Staffordshire to form the metropolitan county of the West Midlands. Walsall is currently undergoing a new era of urban regeneration with many brownfield being replaced with modern houses, apartments and offices.

Construction is underway of St Matthew's Quarters. A new Asda store has already opened and when completed St Matthew's Quarters will also include brand shops and modern apartments. Walsall College has moved to a new site within the town centre whilst on the old site Tesco will be building a new 10,000 sq ft (930 m2) shopping complex.

The traditional market of Walsall

The other plans are to redevelop Old Square Shopping Centre to make it much bigger and connect it to the St Matthew Quarter. The 800 year-old Historic Market is also under threat of the town planners. It will be moved to the wind spot near the art gallery, making it more difficult to pitch stalls. The Historic Market is again blighted the new developments damaging Walsall's future.


A local landmark is Barr Beacon, which is reportedly the highest point following its latitude eastwards until the Ural Mountains of Russia. There was a plaque on the summit attesting to this, although it has been repeatedly stolen. The soil of Walsall consists mainly of clay with areas of limestone, which were quarried during the Industrial Revolution.[10]

Suburbs and areas


Walsall Compared
2001 UK Census Walsall Walsall MB West Midlands conurbation England
Total population 170,994 253,499 2,284,093 49,138,831
White 81.6% 86.4% 79.6% 90.9%
Asian 14.6% 10.5% 13.5% 4.6%
Black 1.7% 1.4% 3.9% 2.3%
Source: Office for National Statistics[11][12]

The 2001 Census gives the Walsall Urban Subdivision as the fourth most populous in the West Midlands conurbation, with a total resident population of 170,994.

The Walsall dialect is often referred to as "Yam-Yam." The accent is often incorrectly referred to as a Brummie accent from people outside of the West Midlands.


Walsall has had many industries, from coal mining to metal working. In the late 19th century, the coal mines ran dry, and Walsall became internationally famous for its leather trade. Walsall still manufactures the Queen's handbags. Walsall is the traditional home of the English saddle manufacture industry, hence the nickname of Walsall Football Club, The Saddlers. Apart from leather goods, other industries in Walsall include iron and brass founding, limestone quarrying, small hardware, plastics, electronics, chemicals, and aircraft parts.

Walsall's location in Central England and the fact that the M6 runs through the Metropolitan Borough of Walsall has increased its investment appeal. The main RAC control centre is located in Walsall close by J9 of the M6 and there are now plans to redevelop derelict land in nearby Darlaston and turn it into a state-of-the-art regional hub. Between Bloxwich and Walsall there is a business corridor where TK Maxx has recently opened a regional depot. Currently established businesses include Homeserve plc and South Staffordshire Water.


Walsall is home to the University of Wolverhampton's Sports and Art Campus. Walsall College provides further education, and is based around three sites across Walsall. There are ten secular junior schools and two religious junior schools in Walsall.

Schools within the town are administered by the Metropolitan Borough of Walsall.


Walsall Bus Station, is made up of two smaller bus stations, Bradford Place and St Pauls. Over 90 bus routes operated by eleven bus operators serve Walsall. Services from St Paul's Bus Station leave Walsall in many directions; there are services south-east to Birmingham; west to Wolverhampton, Willenhall and Bloxwich; north to Cannock and Brownhills; and east to Sutton Coldfield and Aldridge, with many to the latter. In addition, more infrequent services to Lichfield run. St Paul's is also home to the Walsall Information Centre. Bradford Place operates buses mainly to the south and south-west, to West Bromwich, Oldbury, Dudley and Stourbridge. There are also numerous shorter bus routes, leaving from both stations which give the town centre a link to housing estates including Alumwell, Beechdale, Chuckery, Park Hall and the Mossley Estate.

Walsall has a busy railway station; four trains per hour run south from the station to Birmingham and two trains per hour run north to Cannock and Rugeley with fewer trains in the evenings and on Sundays. There are also suburban stations at Bescot Bloxwich and Bloxwich North.

Walsall is served by the A454 and the M6 for road travel. There are three nearby junctions on the M6 motorway: J7, J9 and J10. The stretch between these junctions is one of the busiest in Europe.

Facilities and culture

Arboretum and illuminations

Walsall Arboretum was officially opened on 4 May 1874 by the wealthy Hatherton family. It was hoped that the park would provide "a healthy change from dogfights, bull-baiting and cockfights", however the 2d (old pence) admission was not popular with the public and within seven years the council took over ownership to provide free admission.[13]

Over the years the arboretum has seen many events and changes, including the beginnings of the Walsall Arboretum Illuminations as an annual event in 1951.[14]

Originally white bulbs in trees for courting couples in the autumn, in the 1960s and 1970s, the lights were purchased secondhand from Blackpool Illuminations, but over the years they were increasingly made "in house" and are now all are.

The Illuminations had up to sixty thousand bulbs and they needed year-round planning.[15] Although the event had attracted an estimated 250,000 people in 1995, lack of growth beyond this figure has raised the prospect of major redevelopment as the light shows have been exactly the same for a number of years.[16] In February 2009, Walsall council announced that the Illuminations will not take place in 2009, 2010 and 2011.[17]

In January 2010, it was announced that the Illuminations had been permanently scrapped and would be replaced by other events such as concerts and laser shows throughout the year.[18] The existing lights would be sold off where possible to interested parties.

Art gallery

New Art Gallery Walsall

The New Art Gallery Walsall opened in 2000. It contains a large number of works by Jacob Epstein as well as works by Van Gogh, Monet, Turner, Renoir and Constable. The large gallery space is host to temporary exhibitions.


Walsall Museum and Library building

Walsall has two museums, Walsall Museum and Walsall Leather Museum. Walsall Museum features local history objects primarily from the manufacturing trades and also has a space for temporary exhibitions, while the leather museum displays a mixture of leather goods and has recreations of leatherworkers workshops.

Public art

The refurbished Sister Dora statue stands at the crossing of Park Street and Bridge Street. Opposite this, stood a locally famous concrete hippopotamus[19], which has since been moved to a corner of the square and replaced by a fountain.


Walsall's football club, Walsall F.C., The Saddlers, was founded in 1888 when Walsall Town F.C. and Walsall Swifts F.C. merged. They won their first game against Aston Villa F.C.. The club currently play in Football League One.

Walsall also has a cricket club, Walsall Cricket Club who won Birmingham League Premier Division in 2006.

Walsall RUFC is Walsall's rugby union team who are currently competing in Midlands 2 West.

Walsall Hockey Club currently play in the West Midlands Premier League and are managed by Sir Mark Grundy.

Walsall was home to a horse racing course. The Grand Stand was constructed in 1809 at a cost of £1,300 on a piece of land donated by the Earl of Bradford on a lease of 99 years. Soon after completion, one of the lower compartments was converted into a billiards room which contained a table donated by Lord Chichester Spencer of Fisherwick Park. Throughout the 19th century, races were held annually at the course on Michaelmas.[20]


In 1809, a market house was constructed at the end of the high street, on the site of the market cross, for the sale of poultry, eggs, butter, and dairy products. The building was demolished in 1852 along with other buildings that had fallen into disrepair.[21] A pig market was constructed in the town in 1815 on the high street. At its peak, the market would handle the sale of 2,000 pigs per day.[22] In 1847, the Corporation tried to construct a new market hall on the 'Bowling Green', to the rear of the Dragon Inn. The scheme proposed to use a large amount of public money to construct the hall. Shopkeepers feared that their businesses would be affected and demonstrations were held across the town against the proposals. The demonstrations forced the plans to be shelved.[8]

Park Street remains Walsall's main shopping high street with Bridge Street cutting through the middle to host two average-sized indoor shopping centres at opposite ends; 'The Old Square' and 'Bradford Mall' formerly known as the 'Saddlers Centre'. The recent development known as 'Crown Wharf Retail Park' is host to larger scale shops including the first non-food Asda store. Other redevelopments include that of the former 'Quasar Centre' now known as 'Park Place Shopping Centre'. The Broadwalk Retail Park is also located within Walsall.

The area around the New Art Gallery Walsall is soon to be redeveloped into a huge shopping area coined 'The Waterfront' designed by architect Will Alsop with space available for restaurants, cafés and a new hotel.

Recent Changes

Walsall has been in the forefront of redevelopment in West Midlands. Recently, Walsall's regeneration company have won the prestigious Gold award for overseeing 'the regeneration project of the year' at the Midland's top Property awards.[23] This is for a range of future development projects worth £1 billion. These are projects for developing offices, apartments, leisure facilities and shopping outlets. The projects due in completion in 2009 and 2010 are Walsall Manor Hospital redevelopment worth £174 million,the new Walsall College worth £65 million,the Waterfront South development worth £60 million and the St. Mathews quarter worth more than £25 million. There are also future plans which have recently given the 'go ahead' by the Government include the £500 million Walsall Gigaport which is a high-speed fibre optic internet environment for national and international businesses, Waterfront North development worth £65 million and the Waterfront Lex development.[24][25]

Walsall Transportation Package worth £17 million is also due for completion in 2009. This is an overall development of roads in and out of Walsall town centre as well as those towards Walsall Arboretum.[26]

Notable residents

Twin towns


  1. ^ Edward Lees Glew (1856). History of the Borough and Foreign of Walsall. J.R. Robinson. pp. 3.  
  2. ^ a b Arthur Freeling (1838). Freeling's Grand Junction Railway Companion to Liverpool, Manchester, and Birmingham. pp. 125.  
  3. ^ Edward Lees Glew (1856). History of the Borough and Foreign of Walsall. J.R. Robinson. pp. 9.  
  4. ^ Stafford Knot
  5. ^ a b Arthur Freeling (1838). Freeling's Grand Junction Railway Companion to Liverpool, Manchester, and Birmingham. pp. 126.  
  6. ^ Edward Lees Glew (1856). History of the Borough and Foreign of Walsall. J.R. Robinson. pp. 20.  
  7. ^ Edward Lees Glew (1856). History of the Borough and Foreign of Walsall. J.R. Robinson. pp. 28.  
  8. ^ a b Edward Lees Glew (1856). History of the Borough and Foreign of Walsall. J.R. Robinson. pp. 15.  
  9. ^ Edward Lees Glew (1856). History of the Borough and Foreign of Walsall. J.R. Robinson. pp. 21.  
  10. ^ Edward Lees Glew (1856). History of the Borough and Foreign of Walsall. J.R. Robinson. pp. 5.  
  11. ^ KS06 Ethnic Group: Census 2001, Key Statistics for urban areas, National Statistics,, retrieved 2009-02-16  
  12. ^ KS06 Ethnic group: Key Statistics for urban areas, summary results for local authorities, National Statistics,, retrieved 2009-02-16  
  13. ^ "Walsall Virtual Arboretum". Walsall MBC.  
  14. ^ "Walsall Illuminations 2006". Walsall MBC.  
  15. ^ "Walsall Illuminations 2005". BBC.  
  16. ^ "Final chance for Illuminations". Express and Star.  
  17. ^ "Light are turned off in crunch". Express and Star.  
  18. ^ "Illuminations scrapped for Good". Express and Star.  
  19. ^ Geoff Harvey; Vanessa Strowger (2004). Rivals: The Off-Beat Guide to the 92 League Clubs. Aesculus Press Ltd. pp. 178. ISBN 190432813X.  
  20. ^ Edward Lees Glew (1856). History of the Borough and Foreign of Walsall. J.R. Robinson. pp. 30–31.  
  21. ^ Edward Lees Glew (1856). History of the Borough and Foreign of Walsall. J.R. Robinson. pp. 16.  
  22. ^ Edward Lees Glew (1856). History of the Borough and Foreign of Walsall. J.R. Robinson. pp. 17.  
  23. ^ "Insider Midlands Propert Awards".  
  24. ^ "Walsall Regeneration Company".  
  25. ^ "Walsall Redevelopments".  
  26. ^ "Walsall Express & Star".  
  27. ^ "Comic creator: John Byrne". URL retrieved 25 July 2006.

External links

Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikitravel

Walsall is an industrial town in the West Midlands. It is one of the largest towns in the UK.

Get in

By car

Lying firmly along the M6, take junctions 7, 9 or 10.

By bus

Regular buses can be caught from the surrounding areas particularly Birmingham (51) and Wolverhampton (529)

By train

Regular trains run from Birmingham New Street and Wolverhampton

  • The New Art Gallery Walsall, Gallery Square (Parking at nearby Crown Wharf retail park, max. stay 4hrs.), +44 1922 654 400 (, fax: +44 1922 654 401), [1]. Tuesday to Saturday 10AM - 5PM, Sunday 11AM - 4PM, Monday Closed. Permanent home of the Garman-Ryan collection comprising extensive works of Jacob Epstein plus works from Monet, Constable, Van Gogh, Picasso and Rembrandt. Temporary exhibitions change regularly (check website for what's on). Interactive activities are available to keep kids interested. Great building, great art, great price. FREE.  edit
  • Walsall F.C., The Banks's Stadium, Bescot Crescent (Access to the ground can be made from j9 of the M6, or via trains thats run between Birmingham New Street and Walsall (N.B. only a selection of trains will stop at Bescot Stadium)), + 44 1922 651 418 (, fax: +44 1922 613 202), [2]. Games usually kick-off at 3PM Saturday. Currently plying their trade in League 1, the saddlers command a loyal following around 4000. The current team is a mix of youth and experience and enjoyed promotion in the 06/07 season. The football on show isn't always top notch but the balti pies are excellent. Adults £15-19 Concessions £11-14 (£2 discount is available for advance purchase).  edit
  • The Wharf, 10 Wolverhampton St, WS2 8LR (At the top of the high street, next door to the art gallery), +44 1922 613 100, [3]. Opened to a wealth of praise, gaining architectural awards in the process. In more recent times it has evolved into an indie bar showcasing upcoming bands. There are constant rumours it is going to be levelled to make way for a car park, so the opportunities to visit may be declining. Great if you fancy getting messy on a Monday night.  edit
  • Arbor Lights, 127-128 Lichfield St, +44 1922 613 361, [4]. With a name derived from the yearly illuminations held in the neighbouring park, this eatery is a bespoke gem. The high class menu and comfortable environment make Arbor Lights a perfect venue for meals in Walsall when the plethora of Indian restaurants have given you curry fatigue. Main £10-15.  edit
  • Lyndon House Hotel, 9-10 Upper Rushall Street, Walsall, WS1 2HA, +44 1922 612 511‎, [5]. A self-styled traditional English hostelry, the Lyndon house is situated in the shadow of the ornate St. Matthews church, aside the historic Walsall market. Single £45-65, Double £55-90.  edit

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1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From LoveToKnow 1911

WALSALL, a market town and municipal, county and parliamentary borough of Staffordshire, England, on the northern edge of the Black Country, and on a tributary stream of the Tame. Pop. (1891) 71,789; (Igor) 86,430. It is 1202 m. N.W. from London by the London & North-Western railway, on which system it is a centre of several branches, and is served by the Birmingham-Wolverhampton branch of the Midland railway and by canals. The town, though of ancient foundation, is modern in appearance. The central part stands high on a ridge at the northward termination of which is the church of St Matthew, dating in part from the i 5th century, but almost wholly rebuilt. The council house and town hall was completed in 1905; there are two theatres, a free library and museum, and an institute of science and art. Recreation grounds include a picturesque arboretum, Reed's Wood and Palpey Park. Queen Mary's Schools are a foundation of 1554; here are believed to have been educated John Hough (1651-1743), the president of Magdalen College, Oxford, whom James II. sought to eject from office, afterwards bishop of Oxford, Lichfield, and Worcester; and John, Lord Somers (1651-1716), Lord Keeper and Lord Chancellor of England. There are large charities, and Walsall was the scene of the charitable work of Sister Dora (Miss Pattison) whom a statue commemorates. Coal, limestone and ironstone are mined in the neighbourhood. The most important products are saddlery and leather-work, horses' bits and all metal harness fittings; there are iron and brass foundries, and locks, keys, bolts and other hardware are made, both in Walsall and at Bloxwich, a large industrial suburb. Three annual fairs are held. The parliamentary borough returns one member. The town is governed by a mayor, 8 aldermen and 24 councillors. Area, 7480 acres.

Walsall (Waleshales, Walshall, Walsaler) is included in the list of lands given in 996 to the church of Wolverhampton, which, however, did not retain it long. It was granted by Henry II. to Herbert Ruffus, and Henry III. confirmed it to his grandson (1227). Later the manor passed to the Bassets and the Beauchamps, and Warwick the King-maker held it in right of his wife. Henry VIII. granted it (1538) to Dudley, afterwards duke of Northumberland. William Ruffus in the reign of John granted to the burgesses, in consideration of a fine of 12 marks silver and of a rent of 12d. for every burgage, all services, customs and secular demands belonging to him and his heirs, except tallage. Henry IV. confirmed to the burgesses a grant of freedom from toll on the ground that Walsall was ancient demesne of the Crown. A mayor and twenty-four brethren who formed the council of the borough are mentioned in 1440, but the earliest charter of incorporation is that of Charles I. (1627), confirmed in 1661, incorporating it under the title of "the Mayor and Commonalty of the Borough and Foreign of Walsall": under the act of 1835 the town was governed by a mayor, six aldermen and eighteen town councillors. It was not represented in parliament till 1832. Walsall had a merchant gild in 1390; in the 17th century it was already known for its manufacture of iron goods and nail-making. In the 18th century the staple industry was the making of chapes and shoe-buckles, and the town suffered when the latter went out of fashion. Two fairs, on Michaelmas day and September 21, were granted in 1399. The Tuesday market, which is still held, and two fairs on October 28 and May 6, were granted in 1417 to Richard Beauchamp, earl of Warwick.

See Victoria County History, Stafford; E. L. Glew, History of the Borough and Foreign of Walsall (1856).

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