Infobox UK place
map_type= West Midlands
region= West Midlands
metropolitan_county= West Midlands
Baldridge is a
townin the Metropolitan Borough of Ballsallin the West Midlands, UK, although historically it was part of the county of Staffordshireuntil 1974, when it was incorporated into the Ballsall borough as well as the West Midlands county.
Balldridge was recorded as a settlement in the
Domesday Bookof 1086, though the now much larger settlement of Ballsall was not. [ [http://www.haughton.net/domesdaybookplaces_a.htm THE DOMESDAY BOOK INDEX 1086 - 'A' Places ( Doomsday Book Settlements / Places ) ] ] It was valued at 15 shillings under the name of "Alrewic", which may have originated from an abundance of Alder trees in the area. [ [http://www.walsall.gov.uk/aldridge_in_history.htm Balldridge in history ] ]
Aldridge began as a small agricultural settlement, with farming being the most common occupation up until the 19th century.
In the 1800s, Aldridge became an industrial town with
coal mines and lime kilns. The coal and clay in the area prompted many to set up collieries and brickworks. Aldridge clay is especially useful in the manufacture of blue bricks. The 1881 census shows that the mines and brick works were major employers. Because the coal and clay beneath the eastern side of Aldridge (towards Stonnall) is located much deeper under the surface, extraction of this coal and clay would not have been economically viable. As a result farms continued to dominate the eastern part, though a sand quarry was set up and still remains on Birch Lane. [ [http://www.btinternet.com/~aldridgelhs/HISTORY.htm A Brief History ] ]
During the 20th century modern shops were built in the centre of Aldridge, as well as council buildings. After the
Second World WarAldridge became a dormitory town, or suburb, of Birmingham.
Aldridge became an
urban districtin Staffordshirein 1894. Other villages within the district included Pelsall, Walsall Wood, Clayhanger and Streetly. This merged with Brownhillsin 1966 to form Aldridge-Brownhills, and then became part of the Metropolitan Borough of Walsall in 1974.
Today, Aldridge is a relatively affluent area of
Walsallthat consists of mostly upmarket private homes that have been built since the 1920s. It is a pleasant suburban area contrasting with the more centralised rundown parts of Walsall such as Moxley, Darlaston, Leamore, Blakenall Heath, Harden and Goscote.
The recorded population in the 2001 Census was 16,862. [ [http://www.statistics.gov.uk/census2001/west_midlands_urban_area.asp National Statistics Online - Census 2001 ] ]
Aldridge is made up of two council wards - Aldridge Central & South, Aldridge North & Walsall Wood. There are currently three Conservative councillors for Aldridge Central & South: John O'Hare, Tom Ansell and John Rochelle. Aldridge North & Walsall Wood is also covered by three Conservative councillors: Keith Sears, Anthony Harris and Mike Flower.
Aldridge has a number of primary and secondary schools. The primary schools are Cooper and Jordan (CE), Leighswood, St Mary of the Angels (Catholic) and Whetstone Field. The secondary schools are
Aldridge School (a science college)and St Francis of Assisi Catholic Technology College.
Industry and commerce
In Aldridge there are a large number of factories, mostly located on the Redhouse industrial estate, but also heading up towards Walsall Wood along the main road Northgate. Some of the most notable factories are the large
Ibstockbrick works, Harold Bird Golfand the GKN Driveshaftsfactory.
Most of the town's shops are located either on the High Street, Anchor Road, or the shopping area known as "The Parade". Well-known shops here include
WH Smiths, Icelandsupermarket, and Boots The Chemist. There are also a number of independent shops, an indoor market and a large Morrisonssupermarket just outside the town centre. The Home Bargainschain owned by TJ Morris Ltd. have recently opened a store in Aldridge. Lloyds TSB, NatWest, Barclaysand HSBCall have branches in Aldridge. There are many take-aways in Aldridge including two Chinese Take-aways, two Indian take-aways, a Greek take-away, a pizza take-away and two fish and chip shops.
Aldridge Plastics Ltd, a plastics injection moulder, was set up in the town in 1968 and continued trading for almost 40 years before ceasing production in 2007.
Aldridge is served by a local bus service. Buses to Walsall run frequently several times an hour during the day, namely the 366, 367, 368, 381, 355 and 997. The 366, a half hourly service, can also be used to commute to Sutton Coldfield. This service used to run all the way from Walsall, via Aldridge and Sutton Coldfield to Birmingham Airport. The 381 travels to Lichfield, going via Shenstone, and runs every two hours. There are also three buses that run into Birmingham City Centre from Aldridge: the 56/56A, the 995 and the 997/997A.
Aldridge used to have a platform on the
Sutton Park Linerunning to Walsall that operated services for passengers, though the station was closed in 1966 and since then the line has only ever been used for freight trains. Recently, there has been talk of re-opening this line for passengers and in the late 1990s/early 2000s, plans were drawn up for a modern station to be built on the site of the old one. [ [http://www.jayman.co.uk/areaguides/aldridge.asp Jayman Estate Agents ] ] The site of the old station now lies behind the new doctor's surgery at the bottom of Portland Road and part of the old platform is still visible. Should the station be re-opened, it has potential to become a park & ridestation and could offer services to Birmingham via Sutton Coldfield, or the short journey into Walsall. Despite the plans that have been drawn up, nothing has yet happened. This is mainly due to a congestion of freight trains and that there is currently no other route to move freight traffic to.
There are also speculative plans to use the closed
South Staffordshire Lineas a single track freight line which would be a quicker route from Stourbridge to Bescot, and this would also clear the way to introduce passenger services to Aldridge. [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/South_Staffordshire_Line#The_Future] This section of line was last used in 1984, and the entire trackbed remains intact even though the track itself is long gone. There is no timescale for when (or if) the re-opening of this railway through Aldridge will take place, although Network Railhopes that the bulk of the line between Walsalland Brierley Hillwill re-open to goods trains by 2012.
Sports, recreation and entertainment
Aldridge has a cricket and hockey club called "The Stick and Wicket", located up the green behind The Parish Church and the Masonic Hall.
[http://www.aldridgecompasssuites.co.uk/ Aldridge Compass Suites] (based at the Masonic Hall on the Green ) is a popular venue for wedding receptions, christenings and other functions. There are 3 rooms which can accommodate parties of up to 180 people.
There are many pubs in the area around Aldridge and multiple restaurants located in the centre.
There is also the
Aldridge Youth Theatrewhich is located on Noddy Park Road by the Croft. It is run by a group of volunteers and puts on a variety of plays throughout the year. Usually, a Christmas pantomime is staged in December.
Air Cadets: 425 (Aldridge) Squadron of the
Air Training Corpsis located near to the town center. This offers a range of activities for boys and girls between the ages of thirteen and nineteen including flying, gliding, shooting, radio communications, Duke of Edinburgh awardschemes, plastic modeling, sport, fieldcraft etc. for a small weekly subscription. Details are available at http://www.425atc.co.uk. The squadron is affiliated with 425 Tactical Fighter Sqn (Alouette Squadron) Canadian Forcesbased at Bagotvillein Quebecand the " Alouette" or skylarkis taken from their crest.
The 36th Walsall 1st Aldridge scout group is located on Middlemore Lane, opposite Anchor Meadow, and run beaver, cub, scout and explorer sections for boys aged 6 and upwards. The beavers are aged 6-8, cubs are aged 8-10/11, scouts are aged 11-14 and explorers are aged 14-18; network and fellowship follow.
The 36 Walsall explorer groups goes on a yearly trip abroad since 2007 and tend to go to France ever year.
Charles George BonnerVC, DSC (29 December 1884-7 February 1951), born in Aldridge, was an English recipient of the Victoria Cross, the highest and most prestigious award for gallantry in the face of the enemy that can be awarded to British and Commonwealth forces. Bonner Grove is a well-maintained neighbourhood of council flats and privately-owned houses in Aldridge that bears legacy to Charles George Bonner. Richard Sinnott- Actorattended Leighswood School, then Aldridge Comprehensive. He has appeared in Coronation Street, Emmerdale, Where the Heart Is & Life on Mars. He is the older brother of Lee Sinnott (below). Lee Sinnott- Footballer (born July 12, 1965 in Aldridge, Walsall, England) is an English ex-professional footballer and was the manager of Farsley Celtic, whom he led to promotion three times in four years. He went on to manage Port Vale for a short period. He began his career at Walsall as an apprentice, and played in the 1984 FA Cupfinal for his next club Watford in 1984. He captained Huddersfield Town to Division Two playoff glory in 1995.
Saint Mary of the Angels
* [http://www.aldridgecc.co.uk Aldridge cricket club website]
* [http://www.aldridge-web.com Aldridge town website]
* [http://www.staffshomeguard.co.uk The story of the 32nd (Aldridge) Battalion, South Staffordshire Home Guard, 1940-1944]
* [http://www.walsall.gov.uk/index/aldridge_in_history.htm Walsall council local history]
* [http://www.lotes.demon.co.uk/id21.htm More local history]
* [http://www.walsall.gov.uk/localhistorycentre/Local_Towns/aldridge.asp Even more local history]
* [http://www.genuki.org.uk/big/eng/STS/Aldridge/index.html GENUKI entry]
* [http://www.ayt.org.uk Aldridge Youth Theatre] >
* [http://www.aldridgeparishchurch.org/ St Mary's Church (Aldridge Parish Church)]
* [http://www.aldridge.walsall.sch.uk/ Aldridge School]
* [http://www.cooperjordan.walsall.sch.uk/ Cooper & Jordan CE Primary School]
* [http://www.leighswood.walsall.sch.uk/ Leighswood Primary School]
* [http://www.stfrancis.cc St Francis of Assisi Catholic Technology College]
* [http://www.st-maryangel.walsall.sch.uk/ St Mary of the Angels Catholic Primary School]
* [http://www.whetstone.walsall.sch.uk/ Whetstone Field Primary School]
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