Sandwell Valley Crematorium,
Sandwell, in the heart of England's 'Black Country', is the 3rd most populous (309,000) district of the West Midlands, the 29th largest district in England and borders the City of Birmingham to the east and is circled on the other sides by Wolverhampton, Dudley and Walsall.
The Black Country has no clearly defined borders but Sandwell and its towns are in the heart of this famous industrial area. Partly due to large coal seams found in the region, it is considered to be associated with the very birth of the 'industrial revolution' with foundries, mills, factories and other industrial services associated with coal. A 14-mile stretch of road from Wolverhampton (immediately north-east of Sandwell), through Sandwell's towns and on to Birmingham was described as "one continuous town" as early as 1785.
Although Sandwell MBC was only created in 1974, the area has ancient roots and is named after Sandwell Benedictine Priory founded in the 12th century. Sandwell was formed from six towns: Oldbury, Rowley Regis, Smethwick, Tipton, Wednesbury and West Bromwich, many of which date back to medieval and Anglo Saxon times.
Today, with a population of 137,000, the largest of these towns is West Bromwich, first mentioned as 'Bromwic' in the Domesday Book of 1086. Although the location of both another Benedictine Priory in Medieval times and later, a coaching stop, West Bromwich is renowned as an industrial area linked with coal mining and the manufacture of nails, springs and guns. It suffered a major outbreak of cholera in the first half of the 19th century and was the target for air raids during WW2.
Sandwell MBC's cemeteries and crematoria services reflects the history of the area in that they manage 9 cemeteries and 2 crematoria across the area. The sites, in alphabetical order, are listed below with the earliest recorded burials indicated:
- Fallings Heath Cemetery (aka Wednesbury Cemetery), Wednesbury, WS10 0SX: records from 1938
- Heath Lane Cemetery, West Bromwich, B71 3HR: records from 1858
- Holly Lane, Smethwick, records from 1868
- Oldbury Cemetery, Smethwick, B66 1QT: records from 1858
- Rowley Regis Cemetery, Rowley Regis, B65 0AG: records from 1921
- Rowley Regis Crematorium, Rowley Regis, B65 0AG: records from 1962
- Sandwell Valley Crematorium, Newton Road, West Bromwich, B71 3SX: records from 1962
- Tipton Cemetery, Tipton, DY4 7NP: records from 1873
(note: some records were lost during the war. If your relations were buried between April 18th 1899 and July 18th 1908 or August 24th 1911 and August 20th 1915 there is an index record that they were buried in Tipton Cemetery but it is not possible to establish their address, date of death, age or the grave were they were actually buried or who they were buried with).
- Thimblemill Cemetery, Smethwick, B67 6LS: records from 2008
- Uplands Cemetery, Smethwick, B67 6EF: records from 1890
- Wednesbury Cemetery (aka Wood Green Cemetery), Wednesbury, WS10 9QS: records from 1888
- Wood Green Cemetery, Wednesbury, WS10 9QS: records from 1868
Records for all sites are currently available with the exception of three cemeteries in Smethwick, Holly Lane, Thimblemill, and Uplands which will be added soon.
Information recorded comprises the following:
Scans of original registers (until the early 2000's when replaced by computerised records, dates vary by site) -
Thimblemill Cemetery has only computerised records.
Computerised register records (from the 2000's, dates vary by site)
Grave details indicating all those buried within each grave
Maps indicating the section of a cemetery where graves are located
Maps indicating scattering locations of ashes in the crematorium
In the locations above there are approximately 300,000 burials and over 130,000 cremations and the total number of items across all records is approximately 1 million.
Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council: www.sandwell.gov.uk
Wikipedia page on Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council: Wiki: Sandwell
West Bromwich: Wiki: West Bromwich
The Birmingham and Midlands Society for Heraldry and Genealogy: www.bmsgh.org
West Midland Group of Family History Societies: wmgfhs.wordpress.com
History of the Black Country: blackcountryhistory.org