- To draw people’s attention to the history that is all around them.
- To encourage research into, and conservation of, the history of Smethwick.
In 1998 the Society became a registered charity. In addition to an annual charity fund-raising event, we have made donations towards the following:
- Smethwick Heritage Centre
- The National Maritime Museum’s purchase of Able Seaman Savage’s Victoria Cross medal for the nation.
- The restoration of the History of Smethwick mural at Smethwick Hall School.
- The planting of trees for the restoration of Warley Woods.
- The replica books of civic remembrance at Smethwick High Street library.
- The purchase for the nation of the Staffordshire Hoard.
- The provision of a plaque commemorating the presence of Romanies and other travelling communities at Black Patch Park.
- The memorial at the National Memorial Arboretum to the Special Operations raid which captured the “Pegasus” bridge in 1944 in advance of the D-Day landings.
1990 – We obtained a grant from Sandwell MBC to fund a series of workshops in basic techniques of local history. This led to the foundation of the Researcher’s Group, which met for 14 years.
1992 – We raised funds to commemorate the men, women and children of Smethwick who were killed and injured in the Second World War air raids. On the 50th anniversary of the worst raid, we unveiled a plaque and held a commemorative service in Holy Trinity Church.
1995 – Following the discovery of a hitherto-unknown large-scale survey and landowner’s list of 1828, members traced the map and carried out extensive research on the period. The map was re-drawn to AO scale and published with all known period details added. (Photocopies are still on sale see Publications).
1997 – Society member David Bryant took the initiative of setting up a permanent heritage centre in Smethwick, comprising a museum and meeting room, which opened in 2004 as a separate entity from Smethwick Local History Society.
2000 – We successfully campaigned to get the Lloyds Bank building on Cape Hill protected status as a listed building.
2001 – We obtained £2,540 funding from the Heritage Lottery “Awards for All” scheme to place informative blue plaques on ten sites of historical interest. The sites were chosen by a poll of members and local people.
2002 – We raised funds to commemorate the Queen’s Golden Jubilee with the planting of five oak trees in Victoria Park, marking this with a plaque on the park gates.
2003 – We successfully petitioned the Department of Culture, Media & Sport for protected status as a listed building of the original Technical School in Crocketts Lane. We opened a dialogue with Sandwell MBC to designated a conservation area in the vicinity of Smethwick Council House. This was achieved in 2012.
2004 – We began working with Sandwell MBC on the creation of a local list of buildings of architectural/historic interest which, while not meeting the criteria for statutory listing, give special character to the landscape.
2005 – We planted tulip bulbs on the grave at Smethwick Old Church of Luke Pope, a tulip specialist and noted nurseryman.
2011 – We produced a Smethwick perpetual calendar.
2012 – We purchased eleven rose bushes from David Austin roses to commemorate Queen Elizabeth II’s Diamond Jubilee to be planted in the Shakespeare Garden at Lightwoods House (see image below).
2013 – We provided a statue John Tradescant (royal gardener to Queen Elizabeth I) to mark the Queen Elizabeth II’s Diamond Jubilee.
2017 – We provided a blue plaque for the newly-restored Lightwoods House to commemorate its use as a military hospital during the First World War.
2018 – We prevailed (eventually) upon Mitchells & Butlers to provide a plaque to commemorate the historic name of the “Cock & Magpies” after the name disappeared on its conversion to its present chain restaurant (Miller & Carter Steakhouse).
2021 – a new website was produced (this one!).
2021/2022 – Liaison with Sandwell MBC has resulted in promised funding for the provison of seven native Oak trees in West Smethwick Park to mark Queen Elizabeth II’s Platinum Jubilee. It is hoped these will be planted early in 2022 by the Parks Department and a commemorative plaque will be placed on the new Pavilion. This chimes in with various initiatives such as the Green Canopy Scheme and the forthcoming Commonwealth Games.