Old Ordnance Survey Maps of Worcestershire

This page summarises the local government organisation of Worcestershire since 1889.

  • Worcestershire County Council was formed in 1889, and in 1894 a network of boroughs, urban district and rural district councils was formed across the county. However the growth of Birmingham and the Black Country meant that extensive parts of Worcestershire were gradually transferred to Staffordshire, Warwickshire or ultimately the West Midlands Metropolitan County.
  • Halesowen and Oldbury (originally in Halesowen parish) were originally a detached part of Shropshire, but were transferred to Worcestershire in 1844.
  • During the late 19th and early 20th centuries, several areas of Worcestershire were transferred to Birmingham. These included: Balsall Heath (1891), Quinton (1899), part of King's Norton & Northfield UDC (1911), Yardley RDC (1911).
  • The geographical county of Worcestershire had five Municipal Boroughs dating back to 1836 (or earlier): Bewdley, Droitwich, Evesham, Kidderminster, and Worcester. Dudley became a Municipal Borough in 1865, Stourbridge in 1914, Oldbury in 1935, and Halesowen in 1936. Worcester had been a County of a City since 1621 and became a County Borough in 1889.
  • Dudley, which was a detached part of Worcestershire, surrounded by Staffordshire, also became a County Borough in 1889. It remained a detached enclave until 1966, when it absorbed adjacent parts of Staffordshire, including Brierley Hill UDC. It was then transferred to Staffordshire.
  • In 1966 a new Warley County Borough was created with the amalgamation of Smethwick County Borough, Rowley Regis Municipal Borough (both in Staffordshire), with Oldbury Municipal Borough, plus small areas from Birmingham, Halesowen and West Bromwich. Warley CB was regarded as in Worcestershire. The borough was abolished in 1974 when it became part of the new Sandwell Metropolitan Borough.
  • From 1894 there were also 8 Urban Districts: Bromsgrove County, Bromsgrove Town, Great Malvern, Malvern Link, Oldbury, Redditch, Stourbridge, and Stourport (later Stourport-on-Severn) Urban Districts. The two Bromsgrove UDCs were renamed North Bromsgrove UD and Bromsgrove UD in 1896 and merged as Bromsgrove UD in 1933. The two Malvern UDs were merged as Malvern UD in 1898. Stourbridge, Oldbury and Halesowen later became Municipal Boroughs (see above). Urban Districts had similar powers to Municipal Boroughs but lacked the right to elect mayors or aldermen.
  • Further Urban Districts were formed: Lye & Wollescote (1897), King's Norton & Northfield (1898) and Halesowen (1925). However, King's Norton & Northfield was abolished and largely absorbed by Birmingham in 1912, and Lye & Wollescote abolished and absorbed by Stourbridge MB in 1933.
  • From 1894 there were also 16 Rural District Councils covering the areas outside the major towns, but these had less powers. Initially most RDCs were based on the Unions, met at the Workhouse, and had the Guardians serving as councillors. These were: Bromsgrove, Droitwich, Evesham, Feckenham (abolished 1933), Halesowen (a UDC from 1925), Kidderminster, King's Norton (absorbed by King's Norton & Northfield UDC in 1898), Martley, Mathon (absorbed by Ledbury RDC, Herefordshire, in 1897), Pershore, Rock (abolished 1933), Shipston on Stour, Stourbridge (absorbed by Lye & Wollescote UDC 1897), Tenbury, Upton upon Svern, Warley (absorbed by Oldbury UDC 1908), Yardley (absorbed by Birmingham 1911).
  • Shipston Stour RDC which was a detached part of Worcestershire, was transferred to Warwickshire. At the same time several detached villages (exclaves) were transferred to Gloucstershire.
  • In 1974 there was major reorganisation and all boroughs, UDCs and RDCs were abolished. The northern part of Worcestershire was largely lost to the new West Midlands Metropolitan County. Dudley County Borough was amalgamated with Stourbridge and Halesowen Municipal Boroughs to form the new Dudley Metropolitan Borough. Warley County Borough was amalgamated with West Bromwich County Borough (in Staffordshire) to form Sandwell Metropolitan Borough. The City of Birmingham had already absorbed significant areas. All these formed part of the new West Midlands Metropolitan County.
  • The remainder of Worcestershire, plus Worcester County Borough, was amalgamated with Herefordshire to form the new Hereford & Worcester County. This was a two-tier administration, with 9 Districts: Bromsgrove, Hereford, Leominster, Malvern Hills, Redditch, South Herefordshire, Worcester, Wychavon, and Wyre Forest.
  • The county of Hereford & Worcester was never popular and in 1998 it was abolished. Herefordshire became a unitary authority and Worcestershire became a county again, with a two-tier administration. It had 6 Districts, Bromsgrove, Malvern Hills, Redditch, Worcester, Wychavon, and Wyre Forest.
  • For a list of Worcestershire maps go to the Worcestershire or West Midlands pages. For a full list of English maps, return to the England page
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