Lost urban district mapped out
BRIERLEY Hill Urban District Council ceased to exist on April 1, 1966, wiped out by the stroke of a bureaucrat’s pen.
The district was absorbed into neighbouring Dudley Borough Council but there are many who still lament those changes of more than half a century ago and the loss of local identity.
Thanks to Bugle reader David Cookson, of Amblecote, Stourbridge, we have a reminder of the old days with this 1960s map that shows the former authority’s boundaries.
David’s father Norman Cookson was a council official all his working life, joining Stourbridge Council in 1931. After service in India in the Second World War, Norman returned to Stourbridge but later went to work for Brierley Hill UDC and remained when it was absorbed into Dudley.
Brierley Hill Urban District Council was created in 1894 but it was originally much smaller than the extent shown on this map. Its final borders were established in 1934, when Brierley absorbed its neighbours, Quarry Bank Urban District and Kingswinford Rural District.
The boundaries then stretched from the River Stour in the south to Daffydingle Pool, near Himley, in the north; Coppice Lane in the east, to Swindon Road in the west.
Comparing this map with the street plan of today it becomes apparent how much development there has been in the area over the last 50 years. In the 1960s, the open spaces north and south of Bromley Lane stand out, as do the undeveloped areas of Wall Heath, Mount Pleasant and Lawnswood.
Another interesting feature of the map is the extent of the Earl of Dudley’s Mineral Railway. The first line was laid in 1829 and it grew into a comprehensive network linking the earl’s business interests of coal mines, ironworks and the canals in the area. The system was gradually wound up in the 1950s and ’60s, as the mines closed. The last surviving section of line served the Round Oak steelworks until they closed down.
•What are your memories of the old Brierley Hill Urban District Council? Have you any mementoes? Please contact us at the Black Country Bugle, Dudley Archives Centre, Tipton Road, Dudley, DY1 4SQ, call 01384 889000 or email [email protected] countrybugle.co.uk
Map of Brierley Hill Urban District Council