History of Oldbury, Langley and Warley
Communities of the West Midlands
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Updated 28 November 2008
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Oldbury has not been extensively documented in the past, although there are histories of some individuals, firms and organisations. The following bibliography covers the main sources of information known to the local history groups at present.

Most of these books are available at Sandwell Public Libraries, particularly those in the Oldbury area.

Please contact us if you know of other relevant books or documents.


Cover of Oldbury Book of Memory for the 1914-18 War [Held at Sandwell Community History and Archives, Smethwick]

"Picturesque Oldbury" by Revd Henry McKean

1900 Midland Printing Co Ltd

A limited edition of 250 copies has been issued by Royston T Slim, Janus Books

This book describes the main churches, schools, public buildings, houses and parks in 1900 and is copiously illustrated. In many cases these are the only known photographs of buildings from the period. It also includes a reprint of 'Ye Legende of St Brade', a poem by Rev A W Fox. An accurate reference source.

"Oldbury and Round About" by Frederick William Hackwood

1915  Cornish Brothers and Whitehead Brothers

A limited edition of 750 copies was issued by Brewin Books in 2002 with the type reset and new layout

This book describes aspects of Oldbury's history from around 1000AD, including Halesowen Abbey and parish, religion, industry, local government, and education, with a chapter on Langley and Warley. It also has some information on Rowley Regis, Brierley Hill, Cradley and Clent. Although there are some illustrations, none is of Oldbury, Langley or Warley! Hackwood is sparse on citing references. A useful source, but needing other confirmatory evidence.

"Oldbury and Rowley Regis in Old Photographs" by John Maddison

1991 Alan Sutton Publishing         ISBN 0-86299-976-6

A book of photographs, mainly from the collection of Sandwell Community History and Archives, covering Oldbury, Langley, Warley, Rowley Regis, Blackheath, Old Hill, Cradley Heath and Tividale with detailed captions.

Now out of print.

"Oldbury: The Town of the Four Moons" compiled and edited by Dave Reeves

1994 The Moving Finger for Sandwell Community Library Service ISBN 1-871296-55-2

A collection of extracted articles and creative writing on the history of Oldbury and the reminiscences of people taking part in a creative writing workshop. An interesting compednium with items covering many aspects of Oldbury's history.

Some copies remain, available through libraries in Oldbury

"Jack Judge. The Tipperary Man" by Verna Hale Gibbons

1998 Sandwell Community Library Service ISBN 1 900689-07-3

A biography of the entertainer and song-writer who was born in Oldbury in 1872, and whose most famous song was sung bu troops throughout WW1, "Its a Long Way to Tipperary". Based on extensive research and family memories, and written by a descendant of Jack Judge.

"Oldbury Grammar School 1904 - 1974" by A A L Pearce

1974 Privatey printed

History of the school from ins inception as Oldbury Secondary School in 1904 to it closure on the introduction of comprehensive education in 1974, written by a former history master at the school.

"The Story of BIP 1894 - 1962" by Cyril S Dingley

1963 Published by British Industrial Plastics Ltd

Readable overview of the development of the company that started as 'British Cyanides Co Ltd', and became a leading producer of plastics in the first half of the twentieth century. Written by an ex-employee.

"Growth of a Group. The History of the BIP Group 1895 - 1949"

1949 Published by British Industrial Plastics

History of the company which started at Oldbury, and the group of companies that developed from it.

"100 Years of Phosphorus Making 1851 - 1951" by R E Threlfall

1951 Published by Albright & Wilson Ltd

Excellent easy-to-read history of the growth of Albright and Wilson with much detail on the development of Langely and information on employees and local people.

"Albright and Wilson: The Last Fifty Years" by Hugh Podger

2002 Brewin Books. ISBN 1-858582-23-7

Comprehensive history of the later growth and decline of the company up to 2000. Detailed on the development of the company but without the local background of Threlfall's earlier book.

"A History of Bromford 1780 - 1980" by W K V Gale

Published for Bromford Iron and Steel Co Ltd ISBN 0-950692-60-5

Bromford Iron Works developed on the West Bromwich bank of the River Tame, but had its origins at Bromford Mill on the Oldbury Bank. There are many connections with Oldbury, and the Dawes family owned Oldbury Furnaces for a while.

"TI Metsec 1931 - 1981"

1981 Published for TI Metsec ISBN 0-950073-07-5

The first fifty years of Metal Sections, acquired by Tube Investments in 1932 and moved to Oldbury.

"Excellence in Roll Forming; Seventy Five Years of Metsec"

2006 Published by Metsec

The development of Metal Sections, its processes and its people from 1931 to 2006.

"A History of the Firm of Chance Brothers & Co. Glass and Alkali Manufacturers" by James Frederick Chance.

1919 Private Circulation.

The early history of Chance Brothers, concentration on the glass factory, but also covering the chemical works in Oldbury.

"A Short History of Chance & Hunt 1835 - 1985"

1985 Issued by ICI

A brochure prepared by Eric Thurston which gives a very brief of Chance Brothers' Alkali Works, later Chance and Hunt, and finally part of ICI.

"Accles & Pollock 1899 - 1974"

1974 Issued by Accles & Pollock

A brochure summarising the history of the company and the applications of its cold-drawn tubes

"The Red Bricks by the Pool: The History of Warley College of Technology" by J H Caddick and T Hildred


The history of the Oldbury and Smethwick Colleges that were combined to establish Warley College. It includes a wealth of information on the early development of secondary education in Oldbury, and Oldbury College of Further Education at Causeway Green.

"Walks in the Black Country" by Elihu Burritt Published 1868

Reprint 1976 by Roundwood Press ISBN 0-900093-48-X

Observations on mid-Victorian Black Country life, including Oldbury. Items on Brades Works, brick-making and the nail trade.


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