Smethwick in 1868


1868 - The National Gazetteer of Great Britain and Ireland

[Description(s) from The National Gazetteer (1868)]

"SMETHWICK, a hamlet in the parish of Harborne, hundred of South Offlow, union of King's Horton, county Stafford, 3 miles W. of Birmingham. It is traversed by the Stour Valley railway, and has good rail and water means of transit.

Besides the station in Rolfe-street, the Sponlane and Soho stations accommodate the hamlet, and it is within 1½ mile of Handsworth station, on the Great Western line from Birmingham to Wolverhampton. The canals form a remarkable feature here, one being raised 70 or 80 feet above the other. The "Summit Bridge" over the new canal and railway is of iron, and 265 feet long, and 68 feet high.

Smethwick is governed by a local board of health, is lighted with gas, and has a plentiful supply of good water. It has a literary institute in Rolfe-street, with library and newsroom. It has greatly increased in population and wealth of late years, its rapid growth being due to its contiguity to Birmingham, and the extension of its manufactures, glass, iron and steel, zinc, and copper works. Its population in 1851 was 8,379, and in 1861 was 13,379. The area of the hamlet is 1,885 acres.

There are many large works in the district, one of the most extensive being the glass works of Chance Bros., which occupy nearly 40 acres of land, and give employment to about 1,700 hands. There are other large glass works, iron-foundries, tube, rivet, and gun-barrel works.

Smethwick, which is in the archdeaconry of Stafford and diocese of Lichfield, has four churches, besides places of worship belonging to Roman Catholics and Protestant Dissenters, and several National, infant, and other schools."


[Description(s) from The National Gazetteer of Great Britain and Ireland (1868) - Transcribed by Colin Hinson ©2003]