Things to do in Tipton, West Midlands
Little is known of Tipton's earliest history, the area was once part of the Royal Forest of Cannock, and records survive of land ownership in Norman times. By the 12th century there was a church (St. John's) and a moated manor house. During the Civil War Edward Dudley raised troops for his Parliamentary attack on Royalist held Dudley Castle. Dudley's sortie was unsuccessful, and his troops were defeated in a pitched battle at Tipton Green.
In the 18th century Tipton was still a collection of hamlets - Princes End, Ocker Hill, Toll End, Great Bridge, Burnt Tree and Tipton Green.
The town's growth started when ironstone and coal were discovered there, and the Birmingham-Wolverhampton canal started the industrialisation process in 1772. The Toll End Communication Canal (1809) and Thomas Telford's New Main Line (1838) completed a circle of waterways round the town, while for many years James Watt's first steam engine worked at the Birmingham Canal Company's works at Ocker Hill.
Massive expansion in the coal and iron trades led to the population rising from 4,000 to 30,000 during the 19th century. Houses and factories grew up side by side, while chimneys belched pollution into the air. Tipton, as the Shell Guide to Staffordshire puts it, was 'the quintessence of the Black Country'. Soap, bricks, cement, tiles, chains, machinery and engines were all part of the local production.