West Midlands (county)

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West Midlands
West Midlands Combined Authority logo.svg
West Midlands UK locator map 2010.svg
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Constituent country England
Region West Midlands
Established1 April 1974
Established by Local Government Act 1972
Time zone UTC±00:00 (Greenwich Mean Time)
  Summer (DST) UTC+01:00 (British Summer Time)
Members of Parliament
  • 14 Conservative
  • 14 Labour
List of MPs
Police West Midlands Police
Ceremonial county
Lord Lieutenant John Crabtree, OBE
High Sheriff Wade Lyn, CBE [1] (2020–21)
Area902 km2 (348 sq mi)
  Ranked 42nd of 48
Population (2021)2,916,458
  Ranked 2nd of 48
Density3,235/km2 (8,380/sq mi)
Ethnicity70.1% White (69.0% White British)
18.9% Asian
6.0% Black
3.4% Mixed
1.6% Other [2]
Solihull Solihull
Walsall Walsall Aldridge-Brownhills
Wolverhampton Wolverhampton

West Midlands County Council

The arms of the West Midlands County Council, depicted here, became redundant with the abolition of the council in 1986 (though similar arms are used by the West Midlands Fire Service). Arms of West Midlands Metropolitan County Council.svg
The arms of the West Midlands County Council, depicted here, became redundant with the abolition of the council in 1986 (though similar arms are used by the West Midlands Fire Service).

Between 1974 and 1986, the county had a two-tier system of local government, and the seven districts shared power with the West Midlands County Council. However, the Local Government Act 1985 abolished the metropolitan county councils, and the West Midlands County Council ceased to exist in 1986. Most of its functions were devolved to the West Midland boroughs, which effectively became unitary authorities, with responsibility for most local authority functions.

Following the abolition of the county council, some county-wide bodies continued to exist, which were administered by various joint-boards of the seven districts, among these were the West Midlands Police, the West Midlands Fire Service and the West Midlands Passenger Transport Executive.

Boundary changes

In 1994, the western/southern shores of Chasewater, plus the adjacent Jeffreys Swag, were transferred from the Metropolitan Borough of Walsall to the District of Lichfield, Staffordshire. [10] Further boundary changes came into effect in 1995, when part of the Hereford and Worcester parish of Frankley (including the south-west part of Bartley Reservoir) was transferred to Birmingham and became part of the county.

West Midlands Combined Authority

On 17 June 2016, a new administrative body, the West Midlands Combined Authority was created for the county, under the Local Democracy, Economic Development and Construction Act 2009, which created several other combined authorities in England. The new body has powers over transport, economic development, skills and planning. A new directly elected position of Mayor of the West Midlands was created in 2017 to chair the new body. [11] The first Mayoral election was held in May 2017, and the position was won by Andy Street of the Conservative Party.


Map of West Midlands, showing urban areas in grey and metropolitan district boundaries West Midlands outline map with UK.png
Map of West Midlands, showing urban areas in grey and metropolitan district boundaries
Population density map West Midlands population density map, 2011 census.png
Population density map

The West Midlands is a landlocked county that borders the counties of Warwickshire to the east, Worcestershire to the south, and Staffordshire to the north and west.

The West Midlands County is one of the most heavily urbanised counties in the UK. Birmingham, Wolverhampton, the Black Country and Solihull together form the third most populous conurbation in the United Kingdom with a combined population of around 2.44 million. [12] However, the West Midlands is not entirely urban; Coventry is separated from the West Midlands conurbation by a stretch of green belt land approximately 13 miles (21 km) across, known as the "Meriden Gap", which retains a strongly rural character. A smaller piece of green belt between Birmingham, Walsall and West Bromwich includes Barr Beacon and the Sandwell Valley.

The highest point in the West Midlands is Turners Hill, with a height of 271 m (889 ft). [13] The hill is a Site of Special Scientific Interest. Barr Beacon is another hill in the West Midlands, located on the border of Birmingham and Walsall, with a height of 227 metres (745 ft).

There are 23 Sites of Special Scientific Interest in the county. [14] One of these SSSIs is Sutton Park in Sutton Coldfield, which has an area of 970 hectares (2,400 acres). [15] As a result, it is one of the largest urban parks in Europe, and the largest outside of a capital city in Europe.[ citation needed ] The park also has national nature reserve status.

There are numerous rivers that pass through the county, including the River Tame. The river basin is the most urbanised basin in the United Kingdom, with approximately 42% of the basin being urbanised. [16] The River Tame is fed by the River Rea, River Anker, and the River Blythe, which in turn is fed by the River Cole. The River Sowe and River Sherbourne both flow through Coventry. The River Stour flows through the west of the West Midlands county.

Like other metropolitan counties, the West Midlands is divided into districts called metropolitan boroughs. There are seven boroughs in the West Midlands, six of which are named after the largest settlement in their administrative area. The West Midlands is unusual amongst the metropolitan counties in that three of its boroughs have city status; Coventry is a city by ancient prescriptive usage, [17] Birmingham was granted city status in 1889, [18] and Wolverhampton in 2000 as a "Millennium City". [19]

Metropolitan boroughAdministrative centreOther towns
City of Birmingham WMids-Birmingham.png Birmingham Aston, Bournville, Edgbaston, Erdington, Great Barr, Hall Green, Handsworth, Harborne, Northfield, Quinton, Soho, Sutton Coldfield
City of Coventry WMids-Coventry.png Coventry Allesley, Binley, Keresley, Stoke, Tile Hill
Dudley WMids-Dudley.png Dudley Amblecote, Brierley Hill, Coseley, Cradley, Gornal, Halesowen, Kingswinford, Lye, Netherton, Sedgley, Stourbridge, Quarry Bank
Sandwell WMids-Sandwell.png Oldbury Bearwood, Blackheath, Cradley Heath, Great Bridge, Old Hill, Rowley Regis, Smethwick, Tipton, Tividale, Wednesbury, West Bromwich
Solihull WMids-Solihull.png Solihull Balsall Common, Bickenhill, Castle Bromwich, Chelmsley Wood, Dorridge, Elmdon, Hampton in Arden, Kingshurst, Knowle, Marston Green, Meriden, Monkspath, Hockley Heath, Shirley
Walsall WMids-Walsall.png Walsall Aldridge,Birchills, Bloxwich, Brownhills, Darlaston, Leamore, Palfrey,Pelsall, Pheasey, Shelfield, Streetly, Willenhall
City of Wolverhampton WMids-Wolverhampton.png Wolverhampton Bilston, Blakenhall, Bushbury, Compton, Ettingshall, Heath Town, Oxley, Penn, Tettenhall, Wednesfield


Population density in the 2011 census in the West Midlands. Population Density West Midlands 2011 Census.png
Population density in the 2011 census in the West Midlands.

Places of interest

AP Icon.svg Abbey/Priory/Cathedral
UKAL icon.svg Accessible open space
Themepark uk icon.png Amusement/Theme Park
CL icon.svg Castle
Country parks.svg Country Park
EH icon.svg English Heritage
Forestry Commission
HR icon.svg Heritage railway
HH icon.svg Historic House
AP Icon.svg Places of Worship
Museum icon.svg
Museum icon (red).svg
Museum (free/not free)
NTE icon.svg National Trust
Drama-icon.svg Theatre
Zoo icon.jpg Zoo


The West Midlands contains ten universities, seven of which are located in Birmingham:

Both of Coventry University and the University of Warwick are located in Coventry whilst University of Wolverhampton is located in Wolverhampton with campuses in Telford and Walsall.

Each of the local authorities has at least one further education college for students aged over 16, and since September 1992 all of the local authorities have operated traditional 5–7 infant, 7–11 junior, and 11-16/18 secondary schools for students in compulsory education. This followed the demise of 5–8 first, 8–12 middle and 12-16/18 secondary schools in the Sutton Coldfield area. [20]

For 18 years before September 1990, Dudley had operated 5–8 first, 8–12 middle, and 12-16/18 secondary schools before then, while Halesowen (September 1972 until July 1982) and Aldridge-Brownhills (September 1972 until July 1986) had both operated 5–9 first, 9–13 middle and 13-16/18 secondary schools.

Many local authorities still have sixth form facilities in secondary schools, though sixth form facilities had been axed by most secondary schools in Dudley since the early 1990s (and in Halesowen in 1982) as the local authorities changed direction towards further education colleges.

All secondary state education in Dudley and Sandwell is mixed comprehensive, although there are a small number of single sex and grammar schools existing in parts of Birmingham, Solihull, Wolverhampton and Walsall.

In August 2009, Matthew Boulton College and Sutton Coldfield College merged to become Birmingham Metropolitan College, one of the largest further and higher education institutions in the country. Plans are afoot for the construction of a new campus in the Perry Barr area of Birmingham.


The West Midlands is home to numerous sports teams. In rugby union, the West Midlands is home to various clubs including Wasps RFC, Birmingham Barbarians, Sutton Coldfield RFC, Moseley Rugby Football Club, Birmingham & Solihull RFC, and Coventry RFC.

In rugby league, the Midlands Hurricanes are the only team from the county playing in the professional ranks, currently in the third tier League 1.

In association football, there are six Premier League and Football League teams in the county of which two, Aston Villa, and Wolverhampton Wanderers, play in the Premier League. The following clubs are often referred to as the West Midlands "Big Six":

Aston Villa Premier LeagueBirmingham Villa Park 42,788
Wolverhampton Wanderers Premier LeagueWolverhampton Molineux 31,700
Birmingham City ChampionshipBirmingham St Andrew's 30,079
West Bromwich Albion ChampionshipWest Bromwich The Hawthorns 26,500
Coventry City ChampionshipCoventry Coventry Building Society Arena 32,609
Walsall League TwoWalsall Bescot Stadium 11,300

The West Midlands is also home to Warwickshire County Cricket Club, who are based at Edgbaston Cricket Ground, which also hosts Test matches and One Day Internationals. The Birmingham Panthers basketball team replaced the Birmingham Bullets and are currently based at a facility provided by the University of Wolverhampton in Walsall.

The West Midlands has its own Quidditch team, West Midlands Revolution (after its part in the Industrial Revolution), which won the Quidditch Premier League in 2017. [21]

See also

Related Research Articles

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Sandwell</span> Metropolitan borough in England

Sandwell is a metropolitan borough of the West Midlands county in England. The borough is named after the Sandwell Priory, and spans a densely populated part of the West Midlands conurbation. According to Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council, the borough comprises the six amalgamated towns of Oldbury, Rowley Regis, Smethwick, Tipton, Wednesbury, and West Bromwich, although these places consist of numerous smaller settlements and localities.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">West Midlands (region)</span> Region of England

The West Midlands is one of nine official regions of England at the first level of International Territorial Level for statistical purposes. It covers the western half of the area traditionally known as the Midlands. The region consists of the counties of Herefordshire, Shropshire, Staffordshire, Warwickshire, West Midlands and Worcestershire. The region has seven cities; Birmingham, Coventry, Hereford, Lichfield, Stoke-on-Trent, Wolverhampton and Worcester.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">West Midlands conurbation</span> Conurbation in England

The West Midlands conurbation is the large conurbation that includes the cities of Birmingham and Wolverhampton and the towns of Sutton Coldfield, Dudley, Walsall, West Bromwich, Solihull, Stourbridge and Halesowen in the English West Midlands. It is also referred to as the Birmingham urban area and is one of the most populated and densely populated built-up areas in the United Kingdom.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Blackheath, West Midlands</span> Human settlement in England

Blackheath is a town and ward in the Rowley Regis area of the Sandwell Metropolitan Borough, in the county of West Midlands, England.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">County Borough of Warley</span>

Warley was a short-lived county borough and civil parish in the geographical county of Worcestershire, England, forming part of the West Midlands conurbation. It was formed in 1966 by the combination of the existing county borough of Smethwick with the municipal boroughs of Oldbury and Rowley Regis, by recommendation of the Local Government Commission for England. It was abolished just 8 years later in 1974 under the Local Government Act 1972, with its area passing to the Metropolitan Borough of Sandwell.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Government of Birmingham</span>

This article is about the government of Birmingham, England.

Streetly is an area in the county of West Midlands, England which lies around 7 miles (11 km) to the north of Birmingham City Centre. It is uniquely located within the borders of Birmingham, Lichfield and Walsall district authorities, and is part of the West Midlands conurbation. It is adjacent to, New Oscott, Great Barr, Four Oaks, Little Aston and Aldridge.

The West Midlands region straddles the historic borders between the counties of Warwickshire, Staffordshire in the north, and Worcestershire in the south.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Civil parishes in the West Midlands (county)</span>

A civil parish is a subnational entity, forming the lowest unit of local government in England. There are 21 civil parishes in the ceremonial county of West Midlands, most of the county being unparished; Dudley, Sandwell, Walsall and Wolverhampton are completely unparished. At the 2001 census, there were 89,621 people living in the parishes, accounting for 3.5 per cent of the county's population.

The West Midlands Constabulary was a police force in the West Midlands of England.

Birmingham County Football Association, also simply known as Birmingham County FA or BCFA, is a football governing body covering the historic county of Warwickshire and the Black Country region, England. The county FA arrange 14 county cup competitions at different levels for teams in the West Midland region including the Birmingham Senior Cup which is one of the oldest cup competitions in the world.

NHS West Midlands was a strategic health authority (SHA) of the National Health Service in England. It operated in the West Midlands region, which is coterminous with the local government office region. It was abolished in April 2013.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Evolution of Worcestershire county boundaries since 1844</span> This article is about the evolution and complexities of Worcestershires county boundaries.

The administrative boundaries of Worcestershire, England have been fluid for over 150 years since the first major changes in 1844. There were many detached parts of Worcestershire in the surrounding counties, and conversely there were islands of other counties within Worcestershire. The 1844 Counties Act began the process of eliminating these, but the process was not completed until 1966, when Dudley was absorbed into Staffordshire.

Healthcare in the West Midlands was, until July 2022, the responsibility of five clinical commissioning groups: Birmingham and Solihull, Sandwell and West Birmingham, Dudley, Wolverhampton, and Walsall.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">West Midlands Passenger Transport Executive</span>

The West Midlands Passenger Transport Executive (WMPTE) was the public body responsible for public transport in the West Midlands metropolitan county in the United Kingdom from 1969 until 2016. The organisation operated under the name Centro from 1990, and was publicly branded as Network West Midlands from 2005.

The Black Country Local Enterprise Partnership is a local enterprise partnership which seeks to help with economic growth and future plans around the Black Country in the West Midlands County, England. The partnership is shared around the Dudley Metropolitan Borough, Sandwell Metropolitan Borough, Walsall Metropolitan Borough and the city of Wolverhampton. These are also part of the West Midlands Conurbation, along with Birmingham and Solihull, as well as Coventry, although this is not part of the conurbation but rather the county. The partnership is also the only partnership to adopt the historic Black Country name as the country is only recognized by the Black Country Flag and its history in industrial.


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West Midlands (county) at Curlie

Coordinates: 52°30′N1°50′W / 52.500°N 1.833°W / 52.500; -1.833