Walsall is an industrial town in the West Midlands of England. It is located northwest of Birmingham and east of Wolverhampton. Walsall is a part of the West Midlands conurbation, is traditionally within the county of Staffordshire, and is sometimes described as part of the Black Country.
Walsall is the administrative headquarters of the Walsall Metropolitan Borough. In the 2001 census, the town had a population of 170,994 with the surrounding borough having a population of 252,800. Neighbouring towns in the borough include Willenhall, Bloxwich and Aldridge.
The name Walsall is thought to have derived from the words "Walh halh", meaning "valley of the foreigners" (referring to the Celts). Walsall is first referenced as 'Walesho' in a document dated 1002, however it is not referenced in the Doomsday Book. By the first part of the 13th century, Walsall was a small market town, with the weekly market being introduced in 1220. The Mayor of Walsall was created as a political position in the 14th century. Walsall is known as "the town of a hundred trades".
Queen Mary's Grammar School was founded by Mary I of England in 1554, and the school carries the queen's personal badge as its emblem; the Tudor Rose and the sheaf of arrows of Catherine of Aragon tied with a Staffordshire knot.
The industrial revolution changed Walsall from a village of 2,000 people in the 16th century to a town of over 86,000 in approximately 200 years. It is a local story, although perhaps not accurate, that Walsall declined a railway line, which was later given to Birmingham, now England's second city. Walsall finally received a railway line in 1847, 48 years after canals reached the town.
Walsall suffered greatly in the hands of the town planners in the 1970s with much good old and medieval property being flattened to make way for a concrete town centre like so many other Midland towns. The town further suffers with misguided attempts to reverse this damage to this day with ill thought out office and retail zone schemes brought about by external experts. The two new Asda and Tesco superstores, together with council apathy and a scheme to reduce and relocate, will finally see the end of the once famous Walsall Market, which was once the reason for the town's existence.