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Bilston

Bilston

Overview
Bilston is a town in the English
England
England is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Scotland to the north and Wales to the west; the Irish Sea is to the north west, the Celtic Sea to the south west, with the North Sea to the east and the English Channel to the south separating it from continental...

 county of West Midlands, situated in the southeastern corner of the City of Wolverhampton
Wolverhampton
Wolverhampton is a city and metropolitan borough in the West Midlands, England. For Eurostat purposes Walsall and Wolverhampton is a NUTS 3 region and is one of five boroughs or unitary districts that comprise the "West Midlands" NUTS 2 region...

. Three wards of Wolverhampton City Council cover the town: Bilston East
Bilston East
Bilston East is a ward of Wolverhampton City Council, West Midlands. It covers the southern and eastern parts of the town of Bilston, as well as Bradley. It borders the Spring Vale, Ettingshall, and Bilston North wards, as well as the Metropolitan Boroughs of Walsall, Sandwell, and Dudley...

 and Bilston North
Bilston North
Bilston North is a ward of Wolverhampton City Council, West Midlands. As its name suggests, it covers the northern parts of the town of Bilston, such as Bunkers Hill, Stowlawn and Portobello. It borders the Bilston East, Ettingshall and East Park wards, and the Metropolitan Borough of Walsall...

, which almost entirely comprise parts of the historic Borough of Bilston, and Ettingshall
Ettingshall
Ettingshall is an area of Wolverhampton, West Midlands, England, and is a ward of Wolverhampton City Council.-History:Ettingshall was mentioned as an ancient manor in the Domesday Book of 1086...

 which comprise a part of Bilston and parts of Wolverhampton
Wolverhampton
Wolverhampton is a city and metropolitan borough in the West Midlands, England. For Eurostat purposes Walsall and Wolverhampton is a NUTS 3 region and is one of five boroughs or unitary districts that comprise the "West Midlands" NUTS 2 region...

.

Historically
Historic counties of England
The historic counties of England are subdivisions of England established for administration by the Normans and in most cases based on earlier Anglo-Saxon kingdoms and shires...

 within Staffordshire
Staffordshire
Staffordshire is a landlocked county in the West Midlands region of England. For Eurostat purposes, the county is a NUTS 3 region and is one of four counties or unitary districts that comprise the "Shropshire and Staffordshire" NUTS 2 region. Part of the National Forest lies within its borders...

, Bilston was first referred to in AD 985 as Bilsatena when Wolverhampton was granted to Wulfrun then in 996 as Bilsetnatun in the grant charter of St.
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Encyclopedia
Bilston is a town in the English
England
England is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Scotland to the north and Wales to the west; the Irish Sea is to the north west, the Celtic Sea to the south west, with the North Sea to the east and the English Channel to the south separating it from continental...

 county of West Midlands, situated in the southeastern corner of the City of Wolverhampton
Wolverhampton
Wolverhampton is a city and metropolitan borough in the West Midlands, England. For Eurostat purposes Walsall and Wolverhampton is a NUTS 3 region and is one of five boroughs or unitary districts that comprise the "West Midlands" NUTS 2 region...

. Three wards of Wolverhampton City Council cover the town: Bilston East
Bilston East
Bilston East is a ward of Wolverhampton City Council, West Midlands. It covers the southern and eastern parts of the town of Bilston, as well as Bradley. It borders the Spring Vale, Ettingshall, and Bilston North wards, as well as the Metropolitan Boroughs of Walsall, Sandwell, and Dudley...

 and Bilston North
Bilston North
Bilston North is a ward of Wolverhampton City Council, West Midlands. As its name suggests, it covers the northern parts of the town of Bilston, such as Bunkers Hill, Stowlawn and Portobello. It borders the Bilston East, Ettingshall and East Park wards, and the Metropolitan Borough of Walsall...

, which almost entirely comprise parts of the historic Borough of Bilston, and Ettingshall
Ettingshall
Ettingshall is an area of Wolverhampton, West Midlands, England, and is a ward of Wolverhampton City Council.-History:Ettingshall was mentioned as an ancient manor in the Domesday Book of 1086...

 which comprise a part of Bilston and parts of Wolverhampton
Wolverhampton
Wolverhampton is a city and metropolitan borough in the West Midlands, England. For Eurostat purposes Walsall and Wolverhampton is a NUTS 3 region and is one of five boroughs or unitary districts that comprise the "West Midlands" NUTS 2 region...

.

History


Historically
Historic counties of England
The historic counties of England are subdivisions of England established for administration by the Normans and in most cases based on earlier Anglo-Saxon kingdoms and shires...

 within Staffordshire
Staffordshire
Staffordshire is a landlocked county in the West Midlands region of England. For Eurostat purposes, the county is a NUTS 3 region and is one of four counties or unitary districts that comprise the "Shropshire and Staffordshire" NUTS 2 region. Part of the National Forest lies within its borders...

, Bilston was first referred to in AD 985 as Bilsatena when Wolverhampton was granted to Wulfrun then in 996 as Bilsetnatun in the grant charter of St. Mary's Church (now St. Peter's Collegiate Church, Wolverhampton
St. Peter's Collegiate Church, Wolverhampton
St. Peter's Collegiate Church is located on the highest and the oldest developed site in central Wolverhampton, England. For many centuries it was a chapel royal, and from 1480 a royal peculiar, independent of the Diocese of Lichfield and even the Province of Canterbury. The collegiate church was...

). It is later mentioned in the Domesday Book
Domesday Book
Domesday Book , now held at The National Archives, Kew, Richmond upon Thames in South West London, is the record of the great survey of much of England and parts of Wales completed in 1086...

 as a village called Billestune, being a largely rural area until the 19th century. Bilsetnatun can be interpreted as meaning the settlement (ton) of the folk (saetan) of the ridge (bill).

Situated just two miles southeast of Wolverhampton, it was extensively developed for factories and coal mining
Coal mining
The goal of coal mining is to obtain coal from the ground. Coal is valued for its energy content, and since the 1880s has been widely used to generate electricity. Steel and cement industries use coal as a fuel for extraction of iron from iron ore and for cement production. In the United States,...

. Many houses were constructed in the Bilston area. Between 1920 and 1966, the council replaced most of the 19th century terraced house
Terraced house
In architecture and city planning, a terrace house, terrace, row house, linked house or townhouse is a style of medium-density housing that originated in Great Britain in the late 17th century, where a row of identical or mirror-image houses share side walls...

s with rented modern houses and flats on developments like Stowlawn, The Lunt and Bunker's Hill. Bilston has had a market
Market
A market is one of many varieties of systems, institutions, procedures, social relations and infrastructures whereby parties engage in exchange. While parties may exchange goods and services by barter, most markets rely on sellers offering their goods or services in exchange for money from buyers...

 in the town centre for many years.

Bilston Urban District
Urban district
In the England, Wales and Ireland, an urban district was a type of local government district that covered an urbanised area. Urban districts had an elected Urban District Council , which shared local government responsibilities with a county council....

 Council was formed in 1894 under the Local Government Act 1894
Local Government Act 1894
The Local Government Act 1894 was an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom that reformed local government in England and Wales outside the County of London. The Act followed the reforms carried out at county level under the Local Government Act 1888...

 covering the ancient parish of Bilston. The urban district was granted a Royal Charter
Royal Charter
A royal charter is a formal document issued by a monarch as letters patent, granting a right or power to an individual or a body corporate. They were, and are still, used to establish significant organizations such as cities or universities. Charters should be distinguished from warrants and...

 in 1933, becoming a municipal borough
Municipal borough
Municipal boroughs were a type of local government district which existed in England and Wales between 1835 and 1974, in Northern Ireland from 1840 to 1973 and in the Republic of Ireland from 1840 to 2002...

 and the First Charter Mayor was Alderman Herbert Beach. In 1966 the Borough of Bilston was abolished, with most of its territory incorporated into the County Borough
County borough
County borough is a term introduced in 1889 in the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland , to refer to a borough or a city independent of county council control. They were abolished by the Local Government Act 1972 in England and Wales, but continue in use for lieutenancy and shrievalty in...

 of Wolverhampton (see History of West Midlands), although parts of Bradley in the east of the town were merged into Walsall
Walsall
Walsall 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 part of the Black Country.Walsall is the administrative...

 borough.

Bilston Town Hall (pictured below in about 1900) has now been refurbished and re-opened. It had been derelict for more than a decade after Wolverhampton Council discontinued its use as housing offices. It is hoped that the town hall will be brought back into public use following the completion of its refurbishment. It dates back to the 19th century.

Since 1966, Bilston has been the centre of the WV14 postal district, which also incorporated most of Coseley
Coseley
Coseley is a town located mostly within the Metropolitan Borough of Dudley in the English West Midlands. Part of the Black Country, it lies south east of Wolverhampton and north of Dudley....

 and parts of Darlaston
Darlaston
Darlaston is a town in the Metropolitan Borough of Walsall in the West Midlands of England.-History:Archaeological evidence of the history of Darlaston has been destroyed by The de Darlaston family owned Darlaston and lived in the manor between the 12th century and 15th century. When the de...

 - although all of Darlaston is situated in the Walsall borough and approximately half of the former Coseley urban district council is situated in Dudley.

St Leonard's Church



Christian
Christian
A Christian is a person who adheres to Christianity, an Abrahamic, monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus of Nazareth as recorded in the Canonical gospels and the letters of the New Testament...

 worship in Bilston can be traced back to the original chapel dating from 1090. In 1458 the chapel was replaced by St Leonard's Chantry. And a third renovated church was consecrated in 1733. The modern church dates from a rebuilding of 1826 and is thus the fourth church on the same site. The church has a stunningly modern appearance being whitewashed inside and out, giving it a very neat and clean appearance compared to most English churches. In this respect it resembles many American and German churches and some of the Russian Orthodox Church
Russian Orthodox Church
The Russian Orthodox Church or, alternatively, the Moscow Patriarchate The ROC is often said to be the largest of the Eastern Orthodox churches in the world; including all the autocephalous churches under its umbrella, its adherents number over 150 million worldwide—about half of the 300 million...

es. It is also unusual in having a chamfer
Chamfer
A chamfer is a beveled edge connecting two surfaces. If the surfaces are at right angles, the chamfer will typically be symmetrical at 45 degrees. A fillet is the rounding off of an interior corner. A rounding of an exterior corner is called a "round" or a "radius"."Chamfer" is a term commonly...

ed square tower, giving it an octagonal appearance, in being surmounted with a cupola
Cupola
In architecture, a cupola is a small, most-often dome-like, structure on top of a building. Often used to provide a lookout or to admit light and air, it usually crowns a larger roof or dome....

, a golden globe with weather vane
Weather vane
A weather vane is an instrument for showing the direction of the wind. They are typically used as an architectural ornament to the highest point of a building....

 and a fenced viewing platform. These are all extremely unusual features rarely found in English churches.

Industry


Few towns were more dramatically transformed during the Industrial Revolution
Industrial Revolution
The Industrial Revolution was a period from the 18th to the 19th century where major changes in agriculture, manufacturing, mining, transportation, and technology had a profound effect on the social, economic and cultural conditions of the times...

 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.

Bilston Steelworks opened to the west of the town centre during the 19th century and was the most dominant factory in the town. However, it closed in April 1979 as Britain's economy slid towards recession
Early 1980s recession
The early 1980s recession describes the severe global economic recession affecting much of the developed world in the late 1970s and early 1980s. The United States and Japan exited recession relatively early, but high unemployment would continue to affect other OECD nations through at least 1985...

 and the Bilston plant was one of the first major casualties of this downturn, which saw unemployment double from around 1,500,000 in 1979 to more than 3,000,000 in 1982.

The industry remained prolific during the interwar
Interwar period
Interwar period can refer to any period between two wars. The Interbellum is understood to be the period between the end of the Great War or First World War and the beginning of the Second World War in Europe....

 years, but much of the housing was now sub-standard, and during the 1920s and 1930s many of the older houses were cleared and replaced by new council houses that featured so many modern conveniences that were previously unknown to their occupants. Many of these houses were built on new housing estates previously occupied by coalfield
Coalfield
A coalfield is an area of certain uniform characteristics where coal is mined. The criteria for determining the approximate boundary of a coalfield are geographical and cultural, in addition to geological...

s or farmland
Arable land
In geography and agriculture, arable land is land that can be used for growing crops. It includes all land under temporary crops , temporary meadows for mowing or pasture, land under market and kitchen gardens and land temporarily fallow...

, though some were built on the sites of older houses.

The council housing revolution in Bilston continued after the Second World War and for some time after the area became part of Wolverhampton
Wolverhampton
Wolverhampton is a city and metropolitan borough in the West Midlands, England. For Eurostat purposes Walsall and Wolverhampton is a NUTS 3 region and is one of five boroughs or unitary districts that comprise the "West Midlands" NUTS 2 region...

 in 1966.

By the end of the 1970s, almost all of the sub-standard housing in Bilston had been cleared, but the area was in the early stages of an industrial decline which put hundreds of local people out of work and saw unemployment reach its highest levels in living memory. Things have improved over the last 20 years with more businesses in the service sector setting up around Bilston, but unemployment is still higher than the local average.

Other exciting modern day projects in Bilston include the Black Country Route
Black Country Route
The Black Country Route is a road in the West Midlands region of England.The plans for a motorway were drawn up in 1962 to ease congestion in the Black Country towns of Bilston and Willenhall, as well as giving the residents of Dudley, Coseley and Sedgley a more direct link with the M6 motorway...

 (opened in phases between 1986 and 1995), that gave Bilston quick road links to important towns such as Dudley
Dudley
Dudley is a large town in the West Midlands county of England. At the 2001 census , the Dudley Urban Sub Area had a population of 194,919, making it the 26th largest settlement in England, the second largest town in the United Kingdom behind Reading, and the largest settlement in the UK without...

 and Walsall
Walsall
Walsall 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 part of the Black Country.Walsall is the administrative...

, and the opening of the Midland Metro
Midland Metro
The Midland Metro is a light-rail or tram line in the West Midlands of England between the cities of Birmingham and Wolverhampton via West Bromwich and Wednesbury. It is owned and promoted by Centro, and operated by West Midlands Travel Limited, a subsidiary of the National Express Group , under...

 tram
Tram
A tram is a passenger rail vehicle which runs on tracks along public urban streets and also sometimes on separate rights of way. It may also run between cities and/or towns , and/or partially grade separated even in the cities...

 line in 1999, which gives a speedy public transport
Public transport
Public transport is a shared passenger transportation service which is available for use by the general public, as distinct from modes such as taxicab, car pooling or hired buses which are not shared by strangers without private arrangement.Public transport modes include buses, trolleybuses, trams...

 link to Wolverhampton
Wolverhampton
Wolverhampton is a city and metropolitan borough in the West Midlands, England. For Eurostat purposes Walsall and Wolverhampton is a NUTS 3 region and is one of five boroughs or unitary districts that comprise the "West Midlands" NUTS 2 region...

 and Birmingham
Birmingham
Birmingham is a city and metropolitan borough in the West Midlands of England. It is the most populous British city outside the capital London, with a population of 1,036,900 , and lies at the heart of the West Midlands conurbation, the second most populous urban area in the United Kingdom with a...

.

People


Bilston was the birthplace of the poet Sir Henry Newbolt and Nelson, New Zealand
Nelson, New Zealand
Nelson is a city on the eastern shores of Tasman Bay, and is the economic and cultural centre of the Nelson-Tasman region. Established in 1841, it is the second oldest settled city in New Zealand and the oldest in the South Island....

 Mayor George Page
George Page (mayor)
George Lloyd Page Mayor of Nelson, New Zealand from 1935 to 1941. Page was born in Bilston, Staffordshire, England on 31 March 1878 and his family migrated to New Zealand in 1879. His father was also named George.....

.

John Wilkinson
John Wilkinson (industrialist)
John "Iron-Mad" Wilkinson was an English industrialist who pioneered the use and manufacture of cast iron and cast-iron goods in the Industrial Revolution.-Early life:...

, "king of the ironmasters", built a blast furnace in Bilston in 1748. He lived and died in Bradley, West Midlands
Bradley, West Midlands
Bradley was originally a village in the Manor of Sedgley, England. Nowadays it is situated in the Bilston East ward of Wolverhampton City Council....

. His body was returned to his hometown of Clifton in Cumberland
Cumberland
Cumberland is a historic county of North West England, on the border with Scotland, from the 12th century until 1974. It formed an administrative county from 1889 to 1974 and now forms part of Cumbria....

.

Hugh Walters
Hugh Walters (author)
Hugh Walters was a writer of juvenile Science Fiction novels from Bradley in the West Midlands region of the United Kingdom.-Biography:...

 lived all his life in Bilston.

James Fleet
James Fleet
James Edward Fleet is an English actor. He is most famous for his roles as the bumbling and well-meaning Tom in the 1994 British romantic comedy film Four Weddings and a Funeral, and the dim-witted Hugo Horton in the BBC situation comedy television series The Vicar of Dibley.-Personal life:Fleet...

 (born 1954) is a British actor. He is most famous for his roles as the bumbling and well-meaning Tom in the 1994 British romantic comedy film
Romantic comedy film
Romantic comedy films are films with light-hearted, humorous plotlines, centered on romantic ideals such as that true love is able to surmount most obstacles. One dictionary definition is "a funny movie, play, or television program about a love story that ends happily"...

 Four Weddings and a Funeral
Four Weddings and a Funeral
Four Weddings and a Funeral is a 1994 British comedy film directed by Mike Newell. It was the first of several films by screenwriter Richard Curtis to feature Hugh Grant...

, and the dim-witted Hugo Horton in the BBC
BBC
The British Broadcasting Corporation is a British public service broadcaster. Its headquarters is at Broadcasting House in the City of Westminster, London. It is the largest broadcaster in the world, with about 23,000 staff...

 situation comedy
Situation comedy
A situation comedy, often shortened to sitcom, is a genre of comedy that features characters sharing the same common environment, such as a home or workplace, accompanied with jokes as part of the dialogue...

 television series The Vicar of Dibley
The Vicar of Dibley
The Vicar of Dibley is a British sitcom created by Richard Curtis and written for its lead actress, Dawn French, by Curtis and Paul Mayhew-Archer, with contributions from Kit Hesketh-Harvey. It aired from 1994 to 2007...

.

David Daker
David Daker
David Daker is an English actor.His is best known for his role as Harry Crawford in the hit series Boon. He also played PC Owen Culshaw in Z-Cars, Jarvis in Porridge, Captain Nathan Spiker in Dick Turpin....

, born in Bilston in 1937, is a British actor. His best-known roles are in television. He played PC Owen Culshaw in Z-Cars
Z-Cars
Z-Cars is a British television drama series centred on the work of mobile uniformed police in the fictional town of Newtown, based on Kirkby in the outskirts of Liverpool in Merseyside. Produced by the BBC, it debuted in January 1962 and ran until September 1978.-Origins:The series was developed by...

, Jarvis in Porridge, Captain Nathan Spiker in Dick Turpin and Harry Crawford in Boon.

Don Powell
Don Powell
Don Powell is a drummer who founded the English glam rock group, Slade.- Biography :As a child Powell joined the Boy Scouts where he became interested in the drums after being asked to join the band on a Sunday morning parade. After Etheridge Secondary Modern School he studied Metallurgy at...

, drummer in the band Slade
Slade
Slade are an English rock band from Wolverhampton, who rose to prominence during the glam rock era of the early 1970s. With 17 consecutive Top 20 hits and six number ones, the British Hit Singles & Albums names them as the most successful British group of the 1970s based on sales of singles...

, was born in Bilston.

Clive Pomeroy. One time hair stylist and inventor of the "1000 yard stare"

Richard Salter began making the first spring scale
Spring scale
The spring scale apparatus is simply a spring fixed at one end with a hook to attach an object at the other. It works by Hooke's Law, which states that the force needed to extend a spring is proportional to the distance that spring is extended from its rest position...

s in Britain in Bilston in the late 1760s.

Transport


From 1850 to 1972 there was a railway station
Bilston Central railway station
Bilston Central railway station was a station on the Great Western Railway's Birmingham Snow Hill-Wolverhampton Low Level Line. It was built in 1854 and served the town of Bilston in the West Midlands. It closed in 1972, with the closure of Snow Hill and the line to Wolverhampton...

 in Bilston town centre, but passenger services were then withdrawn and the line via Bilston (from Wolverhampton Low Level
Wolverhampton Low Level railway station
Wolverhampton Low Level was a railway station on Sun Street, in Springfield, Wolverhampton, England .It was built by the Great Western Railway, on their route from London to Birkenhead via Birmingham...

 to Birmingham Snow Hill) had been almost completely abandoned within a decade. The final stub of the railway, connecting a town centre scrapyard with the South Staffordshire Line
South Staffordshire Line
The South Staffordshire Line was a railway line that connected Lichfield in Staffordshire, England with Dudley, formerly in Worcestershire. However, it joined the Oxford, Worcester and Wolverhampton Railway's line just north of Dudley Station, where it, in essence, continued to Stourbridge, in...

 at Wednesbury
Wednesbury
Wednesbury is a market town in England's Black Country, part of the Sandwell metropolitan borough in West Midlands, near the source of the River Tame. Similarly to the word Wednesday, it is pronounced .-Pre-Medieval and Medieval times:...

, closed in 1992, only to be re-opened seven years later as the first phase of the Midland Metro
Midland Metro
The Midland Metro is a light-rail or tram line in the West Midlands of England between the cities of Birmingham and Wolverhampton via West Bromwich and Wednesbury. It is owned and promoted by Centro, and operated by West Midlands Travel Limited, a subsidiary of the National Express Group , under...

 tram
Tram
A tram is a passenger rail vehicle which runs on tracks along public urban streets and also sometimes on separate rights of way. It may also run between cities and/or towns , and/or partially grade separated even in the cities...

 line between Wolverhampton and Birmingham
Birmingham
Birmingham is a city and metropolitan borough in the West Midlands of England. It is the most populous British city outside the capital London, with a population of 1,036,900 , and lies at the heart of the West Midlands conurbation, the second most populous urban area in the United Kingdom with a...

.

There was also a further railway station within the town: Bilston West
Bilston West railway station
Bilston West railway station was a station built by the Oxford, Worcester and Wolverhampton Railway in 1854. It was situated on the Oxford-Worcester-Wolverhampton Line. The station eventually closed in 1962.-References:*...

 on the Oxford-Worcester-Wolverhampton Line.

Another significant development in the Bilston area was the A463 Black Country Route
Black Country Route
The Black Country Route is a road in the West Midlands region of England.The plans for a motorway were drawn up in 1962 to ease congestion in the Black Country towns of Bilston and Willenhall, as well as giving the residents of Dudley, Coseley and Sedgley a more direct link with the M6 motorway...

. With more and more cars on the road, the roads around Bilston town centre became increasingly congested as the twentieth century progressed. It became so severe that, by the late 1960s, the government had drawn up plans for a new motorway bypassing Bilston (and running from the A4123
A4123 road
The A4123, also known as the Birmingham New Road, is a major road in the West Midlands linking Wolverhampton with Birmingham. It was one of the first major new roads constructed for use by motor traffic, and was designed as an unemployment relief project....

 near Coseley
Coseley
Coseley is a town located mostly within the Metropolitan Borough of Dudley in the English West Midlands. Part of the Black Country, it lies south east of Wolverhampton and north of Dudley....

 to Junction 10 of the M6 motorway
M6 motorway
The M6 motorway runs from junction 19 of the M1 at the Catthorpe Interchange, near Rugby via Birmingham then heads north, passing Stoke-on-Trent, Manchester, Preston, Carlisle and terminating at the Gretna junction . Here, just short of the Scottish border it becomes the A74 which continues to...

 at Walsall
Walsall
Walsall 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 part of the Black Country.Walsall is the administrative...

), which was scheduled to be completed by 1976. However, the plans collapsed and Bilston was condemned to increased congestion, for another decade at least.

The plans for a new dual carriageway were revived in the early 1980s. This time the planners had decided on a slightly different route, which would run much closer to Bilston town centre. The first phase of the road (to be known as Black County Route) was completed in 1986, though initially running around half a mile east of the A4123. It was extended in 1990 to Oxford Street in Bilston town centre. This expansion resulted in a number of buildings being demolished and some roads having to be re-routed while one road (Market Street) was completely obliterated. This new road changed the face of Bilston town centre forever.

During 1995, the final phase of the Black Country Route between Bilston town centre and Junction 10 of the M6 was completed. This new road has seen a major improvement in the traffic flow around Bilston town centre.

Bilston is served by several bus routes at Bilston bus station
Bilston bus station
Bilston bus station is a small bus interchange located in Bilston Town Centre, Wolverhampton . It opened in 1991 as a new bus station to serve the town of Bilston and became an interchange on 31 May 1999 when the Midland Metro service opened on the adjacent railway line that had been disused since...

. It is also served by National Express West Midlands
National Express West Midlands
National Express West Midlands , formerly known as Travel West Midlands , is the trade name of West Midlands Travel Ltd , a company which operates bus services from depots in the cities of Birmingham, and Wolverhampton, as well as the boroughs of Dudley, Sandwell, Solihull and Walsall in the West...

 service 79 (Birmingham
Birmingham
Birmingham is a city and metropolitan borough in the West Midlands of England. It is the most populous British city outside the capital London, with a population of 1,036,900 , and lies at the heart of the West Midlands conurbation, the second most populous urban area in the United Kingdom with a...

 - West Bromwich
West Bromwich
West Bromwich is a town within the Metropolitan Borough of Sandwell, in the West Midlands, England. It is north west of Birmingham lying on the A41 London-to-Birkenhead road. West Bromwich is part of the Black Country...

 - Wednesbury
Wednesbury
Wednesbury is a market town in England's Black Country, part of the Sandwell metropolitan borough in West Midlands, near the source of the River Tame. Similarly to the word Wednesday, it is pronounced .-Pre-Medieval and Medieval times:...

 - Darlaston
Darlaston
Darlaston is a town in the Metropolitan Borough of Walsall in the West Midlands of England.-History:Archaeological evidence of the history of Darlaston has been destroyed by The de Darlaston family owned Darlaston and lived in the manor between the 12th century and 15th century. When the de...

 - Bilston - Wolverhampton
Wolverhampton
Wolverhampton is a city and metropolitan borough in the West Midlands, England. For Eurostat purposes Walsall and Wolverhampton is a NUTS 3 region and is one of five boroughs or unitary districts that comprise the "West Midlands" NUTS 2 region...

).

Arts and culture



At the Bilston end of the Black Country Route
Black Country Route
The Black Country Route is a road in the West Midlands region of England.The plans for a motorway were drawn up in 1962 to ease congestion in the Black Country towns of Bilston and Willenhall, as well as giving the residents of Dudley, Coseley and Sedgley a more direct link with the M6 motorway...

 can be seen the group of wooden statues designed by Robert Koenig
Robert Koenig (sculptor)
Robert Koenig is an English sculptor, who specialises in wood sculpture and is a prominent exponent of the art of woodcarving using the traditional tools of mallet and chisel.-Early life:...

 and called "Steel Columns." "This sculpture was made from 15 lengths of sweet chestnut
Sweet Chestnut
Castanea sativa is a species of the flowering plant family Fagaceae, the tree and its edible seeds are referred to by several common names such Sweet Chestnut or Marron. Originally native to southeastern Europe and Asia Minor, it is now widely dispersed throughout Europe and parts of Asia, such as...

 which stretch up to 6 metres in height. The male and female figures depicted are based on those found in old Victorian
Victorian era
The Victorian era of British history was the period of Queen Victoria's reign from 20 June 1837 until her death on 22 January 1901. It was a long period of peace, prosperity, refined sensibilities and national self-confidence...

 photographs of Bilston. The title Steel Columns is a reference to Bilston's steel making background and the connection the figures had with this history."

Art and craft works of local significance from the eighteenth century are displayed at Bilston Craft Gallery
Bilston Craft Gallery
Bilston Craft Gallery is the largest dedicated craft venue in the West Midlands, located at Mount Pleasant, Bilston, near Bilston town centre.-Building:...

, which also has a temporary exhibition space where local art and crafts are often displayed.

The artist William Harold Dudley
William Harold Dudley
William Harold Dudley was a painter, born in Bilston in the English West Midlands. He taught at Cheltenham College of Art and was Head of Art at Newport College of Art between 1922-1940. He exhibited at the Royal Academy, Royal West of England Academy, Royal Birmingham Society of Artists and the...

 as born in Bilston; several of his works are in the collection of Wolverhampton Art Gallery
Wolverhampton Art Gallery
Wolverhampton Art Gallery is located in the City of Wolverhampton, in the West Midlands, United Kingdom. The building was funded and constructed by local contractor Philip Horsman , and built on land provided by the Council...

.

Education


Bilston has many primary schools, and two secondary schools - South Wolverhampton and Bilston Academy, which is presently split between two sites - only one of which being in Bilston - and Moseley Park School, which was originally Bilston Boys' Grammar. Manor Primary School, which used to be a secondary school, is sometimes incorrectly believed to be in Bilston, but is actually in Woodcross which is within the Wolverhampton-governed part of Coseley.

Crime


In recent years, Bilston has been the scene of several high profile crimes, some of which highlight the town's growing problem with knife and gun crime and gang culture.

On 30 September 2007, the body of 16-year-old Shane Owoo was recovered from a flooded clay pit near the Lunt estate. Two Wolverhampton
Wolverhampton
Wolverhampton is a city and metropolitan borough in the West Midlands, England. For Eurostat purposes Walsall and Wolverhampton is a NUTS 3 region and is one of five boroughs or unitary districts that comprise the "West Midlands" NUTS 2 region...

 men, Christopher Lewis and Marvin Walker, were found guilty of manslaughter on 25 April 2008 and sentenced to five and a half years in prison. The jury at Birmingham
Birmingham
Birmingham is a city and metropolitan borough in the West Midlands of England. It is the most populous British city outside the capital London, with a population of 1,036,900 , and lies at the heart of the West Midlands conurbation, the second most populous urban area in the United Kingdom with a...

 Crown Court
Crown Court
The Crown Court of England and Wales is, together with the High Court of Justice and the Court of Appeal, one of the constituent parts of the Senior Courts of England and Wales...

 heard that the pair had frogmarched Shane Owoo to the pool amid allegations that he had stolen a bicycle from one of the defendants. A third man, Tobias Davies, received a 12-month prison sentence for assaulting Shane Awoo, but had not been present when the other two men attacked him and chased him into the pool where he drowned.

On 28 July 2009, 47-year-old Moxley
Moxley
Moxley is a part of Darlaston in the West Midlands. It was first developed during the early part of the 19th century when a handful of terraced houses were built to accommodate locals working in factories and mines and the area was created in 1845 out of land from Darlaston, Bilston and...

 pub landlord Swinder Singh Batth was shot dead in the town centre outside Gavin's Sports Bar. Jasbir Singh Takhar, of Coseley
Coseley
Coseley is a town located mostly within the Metropolitan Borough of Dudley in the English West Midlands. Part of the Black Country, it lies south east of Wolverhampton and north of Dudley....

, and Sukwinder Singh Sanghera, of West Bromwich
West Bromwich
West Bromwich is a town within the Metropolitan Borough of Sandwell, in the West Midlands, England. It is north west of Birmingham lying on the A41 London-to-Birkenhead road. West Bromwich is part of the Black Country...

, were jailed for life a year later for the murder; it was established that they had been attempting to shoot someone else. The trial judge recommended minimum terms of 29 and 28 years respectively. Five other people received prison sentences of between 21 months and three years for conspiracy to commit violent disorder in connection with the crime, while a sixth person received a three-and-half year prison sentence for witness intimidation.

On 21 November 2009, 50-year-old Dudley man Daniel McCalla was shot dead at the town's Tropical Harmony nightclub.

On 10 July 2010, 34-year-old local man Thomas Berry was stabbed in Church Street during a fight between two gangs. He died in hospital the next day. Local man Ricky Shaw, a 23-year-old bodybuilder with convictions for drug dealing and violence, was found guilty of Mr Berry's murder on 25 February 2011 and sentenced to life imprisonment
Life imprisonment
Life imprisonment is a sentence of imprisonment for a serious crime under which the convicted person is to remain in jail for the rest of his or her life...

 with a recommended minimum term of 27 years. He was also found guilty of attempting to murder another man in the fight as well as wounding another and also assaulting his own brother.

On 11 November 2010, 31-year-old Lee Douglas was found shot dead at a house in Arthur Street.

Bilston's districts

  • Bradley
    Bradley, West Midlands
    Bradley was originally a village in the Manor of Sedgley, England. Nowadays it is situated in the Bilston East ward of Wolverhampton City Council....

  • Woodcross
    Woodcross
    Woodcross is a residential area of Bilston, West Midlands, England. It is set within the borough of Wolverhampton, though the area existed within the boundaries of Sedgley and finally Coseley until 1966.History=...

  • The Lunt
    The Lunt
    The Lunt is a residential area of Bilston within the city of Wolverhampton and is part of the West Midlands conurbation in England.It was mostly laid out by the local council during the 1920s and 1930s, with houses being built to rehouse people from town centre slums...

  • Stowlawn

Parliament


The town had its own parliament constituency
Bilston (UK Parliament constituency)
Bilston was a parliamentary constituency centred on the town of Bilston in what is now the southeast of the city of Wolverhampton in the West Midlands...

 from 1918 until 1974, which also included nearby Sedgley
Sedgley
Sedgley is an urban village within the West Midlands county of England. Historically a part of Staffordshire, Sedgley was formerly an ancient manor composed of several smaller villages, including Gornal, Gospel End, Woodsetton, Ettingshall, Coseley and Brierley...

 and Coseley
Coseley
Coseley is a town located mostly within the Metropolitan Borough of Dudley in the English West Midlands. Part of the Black Country, it lies south east of Wolverhampton and north of Dudley....

. However, it was then incorporated into Wolverhampton South East, and under further boundary reorganisation it could be divided into up to four parliamentary seats from 2015, with the bulk of the town being divided between two reorganised Wolverhampton seats but smaller parts of the town being absorbed into Dudley and Walsall constituencies.

External links