Sandwell is an area steeped in history. The manufacturing hub of the UK, it was at the heart of the country’s industrial revolution.

And what’s not to love about Sandwell? Check out our ‘Top 10 things you didn’t know about Sandwell,’ for some little known local trivia:

  1. Wednesbury Museum and Art Gallery is famous for its Ruskin Pottery collection, which was made in Sandwell and is sought by collectors globally.
  2. Pete Williams, bass player with Dexys Midnight Runners, was educated at Rowley Regis Grammar School (1971 – 1976).
  3. In 1918 Christabel Pankhurst – daughter of suffragette Emmeline Pankhurst – narrowly missed out on becoming Britain’s first woman MP, being defeated by Labour by 775 votes in a straight fight for the Smethwick election.
  4. James Watt built his first steam engine in (or very near to) Tipton in the 1770s, which was used to pump water from the mines. His Watt steam engine was fundamental to the changes brought by the Industrial Revolution of the 19th Century – of which Tipton was one of the key towns.
  5. In response to the booming shipping industry, Chance Brothers Glassworks in Smethwick (founded in 1824) created optic lenses for lighthouses that were distributed globally, illuminating coasts and saving countless lives.
  6. Sandwell is home to many historic buildings – some dating back as far as the 1600s – including Bishop Asbury Cottage, West Bromwich Manor House and Oak House.
  7. voestalpine Metsec plc has been operating at its Broadwell Road site in Oldbury for more than 85 years. So, it’s not surprising that it is commonly believed to have a ghost – which has been spotted by many generations of Metsec workers wandering around the factory at night!
  8. It’s no secret that Sandwell is home to West Bromwich Albion Football Club. But, did you know that Albion was one of the founding members of the Football League in 1888 and has played at the Hawthorns since 1900?!
  9. Rowley Regis made national headlines this month, with residents of ‘Bell End’ calling on the council to rename the street, which has become so infamous that tourists flock from afar to have a photo taken with the sign.
  10. And finally, let’s not forget that Smethwick is, of course, home to national treasure Julie Walters, while West Bromwich is the birthplace of comedian Frank Skinner, who grew up in a council house in Oldbury!


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