The town of Bloxwich (Blocheswic or ‘Bloc’s Village’ in Domesday Book, 1086) was once part of the Anglo-Saxon Kingdom of Mercia. In 1162, the Manor of Walsall included Bloxwich as part of the ‘Foreign of Walsall’.
Medieval Bloxwich was a small agricultural village of around 600 people, expanding in the 1700’s with coal mining, when many cottage industries thrived. By the early 1800’s Bloxwich was surrounded by canals, with goods easily transported, encouraging expansion. The village became a small town, justly famed for its light metalwork, especially ‘awl blades of Bloxwich repute’.
From the 1400’s, Bloxwich had a chapel of ease within the parish of Walsall, and its own parish from the 1800’s. Originally named St. Thomas of Canterbury, All Saints Church dates mostly from c1875 when it was rebuilt and rededicated.
The workhouse on ‘Chapel Green’ opened by 1752 on the present car park site in Elmore Row. Bloxwich Hall, built in 1830 for ironmaster Henry Morson, was neglected for years. Restored as offices for Barry Rhodes Advertising in the 1980’s, it now houses various companies. Nearby Bloxwich Hospital, originally ‘Manor House’, later a maternity hospital, now offers mental health services for older people.
The former ‘Cottage Shop’ (now Eden Florist) on Wolverhampton Road has foundations from the 1400’s. On Sandbank, an early 1800’s cottage has been restored. Historic pubs abound in Bloxwich, including the Turf Tavern, Royal Exchange and many others.
Pat Collins, ‘King of Showmen’, held the Bloxwich Wakes fair on the site of the present ASDA car park every August. Bloxwich had a Music Hall (now used for sports) and three cinemas over the years. The former 1832 Methodist Chapel in Park Road has subsequently been a cinema, garage, factory and retail unit. Another cinema, The Electric Palace opposite the War Memorial in High Street, was replaced by Pat Collins’ Grosvenor Cinema (later Odeon) in 1922, closing in 1959.
Bloxwich expanded further during the 1950’s-60’s. Three large housing estates and several schools were built. Elmore Green High School (now primary) became annexe for T. P. Riley Comprehensive School, itself now replaced by Walsall Academy. The historic ‘National School’ by Bloxwich Park is now Bloxwich CofE Primary School.
In recent years, much good work has been done restoring Bloxwich parks and gardens and some of the old High Street shops, and present-day Bloxwich is still a pleasant place to live, with an independent spirit and unique character.