Old Hill

Cradley Heath Council House, now Sandwell MBC offices, situated at the southern end of Old Hill.

Old Hill is a locality in the metropolitan borough of Sandwell in West Midlands, England. It is a district of Cradley Heath.

Contents

General description

Old Hill is a parish in the Birmingham borough of Sandwell on the Halesowen Road about 2 miles north of Halesowen and is home of the famous Old Hill Cricket Ground. It is also where the chains for the infamous White Star Line RMS Titanic were made.

Old Hill High Street is home to several takeaways, ladies clothes shop, pet food shop, former butchers, KFC (opened in 2005 on the site of a former public house) and six different churches. Old Hill has undergone redevelopment.

The Eliza Tinsley factory was sold off in 2005 due to the firm's financial difficulties and has now become a housing estate.

In the 1940s and 1950s the High Street was very different and contained some desirable shops typical of many main streets in the Black Country at that time. Thomas' Butchers and slaughterhouse was next door to the Grand. It was a family business as most shops were and old Mrs Thomas worked tirelessly well into retirement age. Needhams was a small family grocers and was spotlessly clean. Old Guys sweetshop and tobacconist was a joy to visit. Old Mr Guy was a tiny man who stocked all the best sweets and sold ice cream cornets with chocolate sprinkles. The greengrocers on The Cross was called 'Timmies' and was completely open at the front like a market rather than a shop.

In 1945 prefabs were built to house young families. They were in Cherry Orchard and Spring Meadow. Although they were meant to be temporary housing they were much loved family homes for twenty years or more.To most of the people who moved into them they were the ultimate luxury with big rooms, large windows, indoor toilet and a bathroom. Kitchens with built in cookers and fridge a real luxury for people moving from tiny terraced houses with the privy in the back yard and only the brewhouse to do the washing and get hot water. They all had gardens big enough for flowers and vegetables and plenty of room to play.

The Cook Shop is the longest serving business in Old Hill and in 2010 celebrated its 120th anniversary under the ownership of the same family.

Old Hill's market hall closed down in 2006. In December 2010 it reopened as a Cost Cutter store.

The old Plaza bingo hall, formerly a theatre, has been redeveloped and reopened April 2010. The building now called the Plaza was originally The Grand, a cinema, and then became the Plaza, a dance hall where many stars of the day performed including The Beatles, Joe Brown and Lulu. When it first opened only soft drinks and snacks were available at the 'bar'.

The town centre was by-passed with the construction of a new single-carriageway road (Heathfield Way) in 1991, relieving the town centre of some of its heavy congestion. The new road runs alongside Heathfield Foundation Technology College (previously Heathfield High School) which was built during the 1970s and is the only secondary school in Old Hill and Cradley Heath. By 1988 the school built a new technology block and a sports hall.

Haden Hill House, a Victorian gentleman's residence set in a park is situated to the south of the town centre. The house and park are owned by Sandwell Borough Council and are open to the public . Haden Hall, a building dating from the Tudor period is next to Haden Hill House.

Transport

Old Hill is served by Old Hill railway station on the main line from Birmingham, Snow Hill, to Stourbridge.

It is on a number of bus routes and has links to Halesowen, Dudley, Walsall, West Bromwich, Birmingham, and Merry Hill Shopping Centre.

Notable people

It is the birthplace of cricketer Eric Hollies and his father Billy Hollies, one of the last of the underarm bowlers in League cricket. At present the most famous person from the town is comedienne/comic actress Josie Lawrence who has been the star of Whose Line Is It Anyway?, EastEnders and has topped the bill in London's WestEnd.

Churches

The Parish Church is Holy Trinity, situated at the junction of Lawrence Lane and Halesowen Road (the main street).

Our Lady of Lourdes serves the Roman Catholic community.

The Methodists now meet at a building on the corner of Lawrence Lane and Clyde Street, built after several other congregations amalgamated. There is also a Wesleyan Reform Union church, St James', relocated to Highgate Street (opposite Willetts Way) to make way for Cradley Heath bypass.

There are two Strict Baptist chapels, Spring Meadow and Station Road.

There is an independent mission church, the Masefield Mission, in Claremont Street.

Coordinates: 52°28′27″N 2°04′01″W / 52.47417°N 2.06694°W / 52.47417; -2.06694


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