Tipton


Tipton

Infobox UK place
official_name= Tipton
country= England
region= West Midlands
population= 47,000
os_grid_reference= SO9592
map_type= West Midlands
latitude= 52.5259
longitude= -2.0751
post_town= TIPTON
postcode_area= DY
postcode_district= DY4
dial_code=
constituency_westminster=
civil_parish=
metropolitan_borough= Sandwell
metropolitan_county= West Midlands

Tipton is a town in the Sandwell borough of the West Midlands, England, with a population of around 47,000.

Tipton is located about halfway between Birmingham and Wolverhampton. It is a part of the West Midlands conurbation, and is a part of the Black Country.

Tipton was an urban district council in Staffordshire, until 1938, when it became a municipal borough. The vast majority of Tipton borough was transferred into West Bromwich County Borough in 1966, although the Tividale part of the town became part of Warley. Along with the rest of West Bromwich and Warley, Tipton became part of the Sandwell Metropolitan Borough in 1974 and remains within this local authority to this day.

It is a poor area with around half of all households in Tipton not owning a car and around 40 per cent of residents have incomes of less than £20,000 a year.

Tipton was once one of the most heavily industrialised towns in the Black Country. But most of its factories closed during the 1980s and new housing estates have been built on the site of many former factories, the new private homes have seen an upturn in Tipton's fortunes by rising house prices.

The far right British National Party is popular among voters in the town, currently having three elected councillors; one in Princes End, one in Great Bridge and one in Tividale. Tividale has a relatively high percentage of ethnic minority residents, mostly Muslims of Pakistani origin, but the Princes End and Great Bridge areas are predominantly occupied by white British residents, which has made the BNP's popularity all the more unusual.

History

Until the 18th century, Tipton was a collection of small hamlets. Industrial growth started in the town when ironstone and coal were discovered in the 1770s. A number of canals were built through the town, and later railways, which greatly accelerated the pace of industrialisation.

The engineer James Watt built his first steam engine in or very near Tipton in the 1770s, which was used to pump water from the mines. In 1780, James Keir and Alexander Blair set up a chemical works there, making vast quantities of alkali and soap.

The massive expansion in iron and coal industries led to the population of Tipton expanding rapidly through the 19th century, going from 4,000 at the beginning of the century to 30,000 at the end. Tipton gained a reputation as being "the quintessence of the Black Country" because chimneys of local factories belched heavy pollution into the air, whilst houses and factories were built side by side. Most of the traditional industries which once dominated the town have since disappeared.

The Black Country Living Museum in nearby Dudley re-creates life in the early 20th century Black Country, in original buildings which have been painstakingly rebuilt and furnished. There is a residential canal basin at the museum - Tipton was once known as the "Venice of the Midlands" because it had so many canals, although some of the 'minor' canals in the town were filled-in during the 1970s. The canals today form a vital cycling, wildlife and leisure facility.

The area has a distinctive spoken dialect, different from the Birmingham accent. The richest of Tipton speech is very similar to that which Shakespeare, or even Chaucer, would have spoken. Those who grew up here can often tell the difference between Tipton speech and the speech of people from other Black Country towns.

The town has retained a traditional horse-keeping culture; private horses are kept freely on public land, and are occasionally 'trotted' on roads (pulling a rider on a lightweight racing cart). There are also tatters (i.e. rag-and-bone men), who also have links to the horse culture. Despite persistent council attempts to clear horses off public land, horses still appear in parks and on canal banks from time to time.

Public transport

Buses

Tipton has direct bus links with the towns of Dudley, Walsall, Stourbridge, Brierley Hill, Sedgley, Coseley, West Bromwich, Oldbury, Bilston, Wednesbury and Darlaston, though not all buses reach the town centre.

Railway

Tipton has a direct rail link with the areas of Wolverhampton, Birmingham and Coventry. There are passenger stations, Tipton railway station in the town centre and at Dudley Port railway station.

It is currently served by just one railway line, as the line from Walsall to Stourbridge closed in 1964. This line served passenger stations at Dudley Port Lower Level and Great Bridge North, both of which closed in 1964 due to the Beeching Axe, though the line remained open to goods trains until 1993. It is set to re-open in 2011 as a Midland Metro expansion on one side and a freight track on the other.

A railway line existed between Great Bridge and Swan Village in nearby West Bromwich, but was closed in 1968 under the Beeching Axe.

Another line existed between Princes End and Ocker Hill, being closed to passenger trains in 1916 but remaining open to freight traffic until 1980. The closure of the railway was followed with the construction of a pedestrian walkway on the trackbed. The final stub of the line, which linked Wednesbury with Ocker Hill Power Station was closed in 1991.

Outsiders' opinion of Tipton

The Newcastle upon Tyne based adult comic "Viz" used Tipton as a perennial butt of jokes throughout the 1990s, involving a fictitious councillor, Hugo Guthrie. Guthrie may, however, have been based on the real inter-war figure of Councillor Doughty who forbade any more pubs to open until one was opened carrying his name — now renamed the Pie Factory.

Tipton was described by the BBC during the 2000 West Bromwich West by-election as, "One of the few places in Britain with no middle-class".

Notable people

Steve Bull, who was born on the town's Moat Farm estate on 28 March 1965, was a professional footballer. Other footballers born in Tipton included Isaac Clarke (1915-2001), Joe Mayo (born 1953), and Mick Hoban (born 1952). Arthur Hooper was an amateur sprinter with Tipton Harriers and a member of the England Schoolboys team. However, he stopped training for Tipton Harriers and he became a professional footballer with Wolverhampton Wanderers amongst others. Other sportsmen from Tipton include William Perry, a Victorian bareknuckle boxer Champion of England from 1850-57. There is a statue to Perry, known as 'the Tipton Slasher' in Coronation Gardens, in central Tipton. Jack Holden (1907-2004) was a runner for Tipton Harriers and Great Britain. Shaun Perry was a Rugby Union player for Bristol Shoguns and England A.

Norman Kendrick was a resident of Prince's End, Tipton. He was an early pioneer of the Coach Travel Industry and a civic leader for over 50 years up to his death at 75. Known as 'Ten Men' Kendrick because of his 6' 7", 21 stone frame.

The Tipton Three

Shafiq Rasul, Ruhal Ahmed and Asif Iqbal were inmates of Guantanamo Bay in Cuba from 2002 to 2004. They were captured during the invasion of Afghanistan whilst, apparently, operating with the defending Taliban forces. They are popularly known as the "Tipton Three", following a meme whereby victims of an alleged miscarriage of justice have come to be known by the name of a city or town, followed by a number. See the Birmingham Six and the Guildford Four. In 2006, a Michael Winterbottom film claiming to be a historically accurate representation of the their torture and imprisonment was released, called "The Road to Guantánamo".

Although they were released without charge, they allege that people in their home town of Tipton still think they're terrorists, and that there's too much racism in Tipton for them to be able to return. [http://icbirmingham.icnetwork.co.uk/0100news/0100localnews/tm_objectid=16783380&method=full&siteid=50002&headline=we-can-never-go-home---tipton-trio-name_page.html]

Peake Drive murders

Tipton hit the headlines once again on 27 September, 2004, when a fire at a house in Peake Drive, Dudley Port, claimed the lives of four members of an Asian family. A fifth member of the family survived the blaze after jumping out of an upstairs window.

Gurmej Rai, the estranged husband of one of the victims, was found guilty on four charges of murder and a charge of attempted murder on 20 February, 2006. He was sentenced to life imprisonment with a recommended minimum term of 35 years, although he had not actually started the blaze. He had paid two other men, Rajiv Sahonta and Ravinder Bedhan, to dowse the house with petrol and set it alight, as well as giving them a key to enter the house. They were cleared of murder but found guilty of manslaughter and sentenced to 14 years in prison, though they had already spent a year in custody and the terms of their sentence means they will be eligible for parole in 2012.

Local industry

Tipton was one of the key towns in the Industrial Revolution of the 19th century. In 1800, it was a predominantly rural area with just a few coal mines. By the final quarter of the century, it was a heavily populated area with thousands of houses as well as numerous coalmines, factories and blast furnaces.

Notable firms to have been based in Tipton include British Steel, Bean Industries (who owned a huge site which actually crossed the border with Coseley) and Angle Ring. However, most of these factories had closed by the year 2000. The huge rolling mills on Bloomfield Road closed in 2005 and were demolished in the autumn of 2006; the site is now being developed for private housing. The Angle Ring, however, still stands opposite the rolling mills site. Vono only recently moved to a new base on the Patent Shaft site in Wednesbury.

Neighbourhoods

* Tipton Green
* Princes End
* Tibbington
* Toll End
* Ocker Hill
* Great Bridge
* Tividale
* Tividale Quays

Education

econdary schools

* RSA Academy (formerly Willingsworth High School)
* Alexandra High School and Sixth Form Centre
* Tividale High School

Primary schools

* Tipton Green Junior School - located in Park Lane West, Tipton Green. Current building was constructed in 1976, replacing a late 19th century building in Sedgley Road West.
* Joseph Turner Primary School - located in Powis Avenue, Tipton. .
* Victoria Infant School - located in Queen's Road, Tipton Green. Was opened in 1995 to replace the interwar Manor Road Infant School.
* Summerhill Primary School - located in Central Avenue, Tibbington, on the merger of Locarno Primary School and Prince's End Primary School.
* Tividale Primary School - located in Dudley Road West, Tividale.
* Great Bridge Primary School - located in Mount Street, Great Bridge.
* Ocker Hill Primary School - located in Gospel Oak Road, Ocker Hill.
* Glebefields Primary School - located on the Glebefields Estate, Prince's End.
* Sacred Heart RC Primary School - located in Victoria Road, Tipton Green, and is Tipton's only Roman Catholic school.
* Wednesbury Oak Primary School - located off Wednesbury Oak Road.

Religion

[http://www.tiptonfamilychurch.org Tipton Family Church] was established in November 1992. It is an evangelical Christian fellowship.

In popular culture

The area is notable for being the location of filming for the British comedy film "Anita and Me", set in the 1970s.

External links

* [http://encyclopedia.jrank.org/THE_TOO/TIPTON.html Tipton] - 1911 Encyclopædia Britannica article


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