Walsall

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Walsall Art Gallery

Walsall is an industrial town in the West Midlands of England, it is located northwest of Birmingham and east of Wolverhampton. Walsall is a part of the West Midlands conurbation and a part of the Black Country.

Walsall is a medium sized, industrial town in the English Midlands, and is the administrative headquarters of the Walsall Metropolitan Borough. In 2002 the town had a population of 178,600 with nearly 250,000 living in the surrounding borough. Neighbouring towns in the borough include Willenhall, Bloxwich and Aldridge.


Contents

History

The name Walsall is thought to have derived from the words "Walh halh", meaning Valley of the foreigners (referring to the Celts). By the first part of the 13th Century A.D. Walsall was a small market town, with the weekly market being introduced in 1220 AD. The Mayor of Walsall was created as a political position in the 14th Century.

Queen Mary's Grammar School opened in Walsall in 1554, the 450th anniversary was commemorated by the School achieving Language College status, and the date 2004 being added to the crest, next to 1554.

The industrial revolution changed the town from a village of 2,000 in the 16th century to a town of over 86,000 in approximately 200 years. It is a local story, although perhaps not accurate, that Walsall declined a railway line, which was later given to Birmingham, now England's second city. Walsall finally received a railway line in 1847, 48 years after canals reached the town.

Economy

Walsall has had many industries, from coal mining to metal working, but in the late 19th century the coal mines ran dry and Walsall became internationally famous for the Leather trade. Walsall still manufactures the Queen's handbags, and Walsall leather products have been found as far afield as Italy, which prompted some embarrassment when a husband gave one to his wife as a present after a business trip, when she realised she immediately assumed that the handbag had been bought when the husband returned. Apart from leather goods, other industries in Walsall include: Iron and brass founding, limestone quarrying, small hardware, plastics, electronics, chemicals, and aircraft parts.

Politics

The local council is presently Conservative controlled. The Mayor is a conservative councillor by the name of Mike Bird. Walsall has three Members of Parliament in the constituencies Walsall North, Walsall South, and Aldridge / Brownhills . The member for Walsall North is currently David Winnick M.P. (Labour) and Rt. Hon. Bruce George, M.P. (Labour) is the member for Walsall South. Bruce George is also chair of the Defence select committee, a member of H.R.H.'s most honourable privy council, and was leader of the international team overseeing the recent elections in Ukraine.

Facilities and culture

The Walsall Memorial Gardens and Arboretum opened in 1952 and holds the second biggest Illuminations in the country. They purchase their lights second hand from Blackpool.

Walsall Leather Museum is one of its key attractions, as is the Walsall Art Gallery, rebuilt in the year 2000.

Walsall's football club, Walsall F.C., The Saddlers, was founded in 1887 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.

Pork scratchings are the most famous local snack.

A local landmark is Barr Beacon.

Famous people

The writer Jerome K. Jerome was born in Walsall, as was Noddy Holder the lead singer of the rock band Slade, the Coronation Street actress Sue Nicholls and the Radio 2 presenter Alex Lester. Also from Walsall was the exciting 1930s Northamptonshire batsman Fred Bakewell. Comic book creator John Byrne was born in Walsall but grew up in Canada. Sister Dora, another local, is honoured by a status in the centre of town, next to the legendary Concrete Hippo. The town has multiple pieces of public art.

External links

eo:Walsall

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