Infobox UK place
country = England
official_name= Bilston
latitude= 52.56605
longitude= -2.07281
population =
metropolitan_borough= Wolverhampton
region= West Midlands
metropolitan_county= West Midlands
postcode_district =
os_grid_reference= SO951964

hide_services = yes

Bilston is a town in England's West Midlands region (Wolverhampton). It is the south-eastern corner of the Metropolitan Borough and City of Wolverhampton. Two wards of Wolverhampton City Council cover the town: Bilston East and Bilston North.


Bilston was first referred to in AD 985 as "Bilsatena" when Wolverhampton was granted to Wulfrun [ [ "Charter S 860"] ] then in 996 as "Bilsetnatun" in the grant charter of St. Mary's (now St Peter's) Church in Wolverhampton. [ [ Charter S 1380"] ] [ [ "Lady Wulfruna"] ] It is later mentioned in the Domesday Book as a village called "Billestune", being a largely rural area until the 19th century. "Bilsetnatun" can be intrepreted as meaning the settlement (ton) of the folk (saetan) of the ridge (bill).

Situated just two miles south-east of Wolverhampton, it was extensively developed for factories and coalmining. Many houses were constructed in the Bilston area. Between 1920 and 1966, the council replaced most of the 19th century terraced houses with rented modern houses and flats on developments like Stowlawn, The Lunt and Bunker's Hill. Bilston has had a market in the town centre for many years.

Bilston Urban District Council was formed in 1894 under the Local Government Act 1894 covering the ancient parish of Bilston. The urban district was granted a Royal Charter in 1933, becoming a municipal borough and the First Charter Mayor was Alderman Herbert Beach. In 1966 the Borough of Bilston was abolished, with most of its territory annexed to the County Borough of Wolverhampton (see History of West Midlands), although parts of Bradley in the east of the town were merged into Walsall borough.

Bilston Town Hall (pictured below in about 1900) is presently being refurbished. It had been derelict for more than a decade after Wolverhampton Council discontinued its use as housing offices. It is hoped that the town hall will be brought back into public use following the completion of its refurbishment. It dates back to the 19th century.

t Leonard's church

Christian worship in Bilston can be traced back to the original Chapel dating from 1090. In 1458 the chapel was replaced by St Leonard's Chantry. And a third renovated church was consecrated in 1733. The modern church dates from a rebuilding of 1826 and is thus the fourth church on the same site. [ [ Brian Lockley, "St Leonard's Church Bilston, a Brief History"] ] The church has a stunningly modern appearance being whitewashed inside and out, giving it a very neat and clean appearance compared to most English churches. In this respect it resembles many American and German churches and some of the Russian Orthodox Church. It is also unusual in having a chamfered square tower, giving it an octagonal appearance, in being surmounted with a cupola, a golden globe with weather vane and a fenced viewing platform. These are all extremely unusual features rarely found in English churches.Fact|date=August 2008


Few towns were more dramatically transformed during the Industrial Revolution as Bilston was. In 1800, it was still a largely rural area dependent on farming. By 1900, it was a busy town with numerous factories and coal mines, as well as a large number of houses that had been built to house the workers and their families.

The industry remained prolific during the interwar years, but much of the housing was now sub-standard, and during the 1920s and 1930s many of the older houses were cleared and replaced by new council houses that featured so many modern conveniences that were previously unknown to their occupants. Many of these houses were built on new housing estates previously occupied by coalfields or farmland, though some were built on the sites of older houses.

The council housing revolution in Bilston continued after the Second World War and for some time after the area became part of Wolverhampton in 1966.

By the end of the 1970s, almost all of the sub-standard housing in Bilston had been cleared, but the area was in the early stages of an industrial decline which put hundreds of local people out of work and saw unemployment reach its highest levels in living memory. Things have improved over the last 20 years with more businesses in the service sector setting up around Bilston, but unemployment is still higher than the local average.

Other exciting modern day projects in Bilston include the Black Country Route (opened in phases between 1986 and 1995), that gave Bilston quick road links to important towns such as Dudley and Walsall, and the opening of the Midland Metro tram line in 1999, which gives a speedy public transport link to Wolverhampton and Birmingham.


On June 6th 1862, Bilston was the birthplace of the poet Sir Henry Newbolt.

John Wilkinson (industrialist), "king of the ironmasters", built a blast furnace in Bilston in 1748. He lived and died in Bradley, West Midlands. His body was returned to his home town of Clifton in Cumberland.

Hugh Walters (author) lived all his life in Bilston. [ [ Hugh Walters ] ]


From 1850 to 1972 there was a railway station in Bilston town centre, but passenger services were then withdrawn and the line via Bilston (from Wolverhampton Low Level to Birmingham Snow Hill) had been almost completely abandoned within a decade. The final stub of the railway, connecting a town centre scrapyard with the South Staffordshire Line at Wednesbury, closed in 1992, only to be re-opened seven years later as the first phase of the Midland Metro tram line between Wolverhampton and Birmingham.

There was also a further railway station within the town: Bilston West on the Oxford-Worcester-Wolverhampton Line.

Another significant development in the Bilston area was the A463 Black Country Route. With more and more cars on the road, the roads around Bilston town centre became increasingly congested as the twentieth century progressed. It became so severe that, by the late 1960s, the government had drawn up plans for a new motorway bypassing Bilston (and running from the A4123 near Coseley to Junction 10 of the M6 motorway at Walsall) which was scheduled to be completed by 1976. However, the plans collapsed and Bilston was condemned to increased congestion, for another decade at least.

The plans for a new dual carriageway were revived in the early 1980s. This time the planners had decided on a slightly different route which would run much closer to Bilston town centre. The first phase of the road (to be known as Black County Route) was completed in 1986, though initially running around half a mile east of the A4123. It was extended in 1990 to Oxford Street in Bilston town centre. This expansion resulted in a number of buildings being demolished and some roads having to be re-routed while one road (Market Street) was completely obliterated. This new road changed the face of Bilston town centre forever.

During 1995, the final phase of the Black Country Route between Bilston town centre and Junction 10 of the M6 was completed. This new road has seen a major improvement in the traffic flow around Bilston town centre.

Bilston is served by several bus routes at Bilston bus station. It is also served by National Express West Midlands service 79 (Birmingham - West Bromwich - Wednesbury - Darlaston - Bilston - Wolverhampton)

Local sculpture

At the Bilston end of the Black Country Route can be seen the group of wooden statues designed by Robert Koenig and called "Steel Columns." "This sculpture was made from 15 lengths of sweet chestnut which stretch up to 6 metres in height. The male and female figures depicted are based on those found in old Victorian photographs of Bilston. The title ‘Steel Columns’ is a reference to Bilston’s steel making background and the connection the figures had with this history." [ [ Wolverhampton Council, "Black Country Route Sculptures"] ]


Bilston has many primary schools, one being Manor Primary School (Bilston), which used to be a secondary school and library.

Bilston's districts

*The Lunt

ee also

*Bilston (UK Parliament constituency) 1918–1974

External links

* [ Pictures of the exterior of St Leonard's church, Feb 2008]
* [ Pictures of interior and exterior of St Leonard's church, 2002]


Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Bilston — (spr. Bilst n), 1) Marktflecken in der englischen Grafschaft Suffolk; 2) Stadt in der englischen Grafschaft Stafford, am Birmingham u. Staffordkanal; Eisenwerke, Maschinenbauwerkstätten, Fabrikation von lackirten Blech u. Emaillewaaren; 21,000 Ew …   Pierer's Universal-Lexikon

  • Bilston — Bilston, Stadt in Staffordshire (England), dicht bei Wolverhampton, mit (1901) 24,034 Einw., Eisenhütten, Fabrikation von eisernen Booten, Dampfkesseln, Geldschränken, Ketten, lackierten Kurzwaren etc …   Meyers Großes Konversations-Lexikon

  • Bilston — (spr. billst n), Fabrikstadt in der engl. Grafsch. Stafford, bei Birmingham, (1901) 24.034 E …   Kleines Konversations-Lexikon

  • Bilston — (Bilstʼn), engl. Stadt, 2 St. von Birmingham, 20000 E., Eisenbergwerke, Maschinenfabriken, lackirte und emaillirte Waaren, Mühlsteinbrüche. Steinkohlengruben; das seit mehr als 60 Jahren brennende Steinkohlenlager von Bradley …   Herders Conversations-Lexikon

  • Bilston — This interesting and unusual surname is of Anglo Saxon origin, and is a locational name from either a place called Bilston in Staffordshire, which appears as Bilsetnatun in 996 in Dugdale s Monasticon Anglicanum ; or from Bilstone in… …   Surnames reference

  • Bilston — Original name in latin Bilston Name in other language Bilston State code GB Continent/City Europe/London longitude 52.56667 latitude 2.06667 altitude 136 Population 5000 Date 2013 07 11 …   Cities with a population over 1000 database

  • bilston — ˈbilstən noun ( s) Usage: usually capitalized Etymology: from Bilston, urban district, Staffordshire, England : a type of English enameled ware often characterized by rich ground colors and gilding …   Useful english dictionary

  • bilston — bil·ston …   English syllables

  • Bilston bus station — is a small Bus Interchange located in Bilston Town Centre, Wolverhampton [ [ Bilston Bus Station guide] ] . Within the last couple of years the interchange, which is managed by… …   Wikipedia

  • Bilston East — is a ward of Wolverhampton City Council, West Midlands. It covers the southern and eastern parts of the town of Bilston, as well as Bradley. It borders the Spring Vale, Ettingshall, and Bilston North wards, as well as the Metropolitan Boroughs of …   Wikipedia

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”