Things to do in Walsall, West Midlands
The town centre has undergone redevelopment since the 1970s.
It has a new superstore, modern housing and flats in St Matthew's Quarter.
The Bradford Mall and the Old Square Shopping Centre also provide for the local community.
Things to Do Around Walsall
The unique Leather Centre Museum in Walsall focuses on the town's heritage and leather industry.
It includes recreations of tanners' workshops.
Barr Beacon stands 227m (745 feet) high and was used in the past as a beacon point for sending messages.
The next highest point to the east is the Ural Mountains in Russia.
It contains works by Jacob Epstein, Van Gogh, JMW Turner and many other great masters.
History of Walsall
Walsall probably began with the building of St Matthews Church on the hill, which can still be seen, and the town developed around it.
Walsall was referred to as "Walesho" and "Walkh halh" which means "valley of Celtic speakers" and the town's name clearly derived from these early names.
It was not listed in the Domesday record, possibly due to an oversight.
Mary I founded the Queen Mary's Grammar School in 1554 and the school emblem still shows the Tudor rose.
Within 200 years the Industrial Revolution transformed Walsall from a village of 2,000 people to a town of 86,000.
Limestone quarrying and the production of saddles, chains, spurs and metalware were the mainstay of industry.
In 1799 the canal was built and in 1847 Walsall finally got a railway.
When its coal seams ran out, Walsall became the centre for the manufacture of leather goods and is still nicknamed "The Leather Capital of Britain".
It still has 90 leather factories that provide handbags to the Queen and leather goods to the Prince of Wales among other products.
In 1874 the wealthy Hatherton family provided Walsall Arboretum and charged two old pence admission.
It was barely used until the local council took over and made it free.
It had boating lakes, tennis courts, a swimming pool and a children's play area.
The trees were at one time decorated with 60,000 illuminated bulbs.
The local cenotaph is on the site where a bomb dropped from a Zeppelin airship during World War I, killing the lady mayor among others.
After World War II many of the slum terraced housing was cleared and tower blocks replaced them but these have also proved unsuccessful and most have now been demolished.
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