13.  The twentieth century

At the beginning of the 20th century Tettenhall was still continuing the even tenor of its way. The most notable event was the erection, in 1911, of the clock tower on Upper Green. It was the gift of the local landowners, Mr. and Mrs. E Swindley. This clock was to mark the coronation of George V but its being on Upper Green, not Lower Green, also marks the fact that the village’s centre of gravity had now clearly moved from around Lower Green to around Upper Green.  

The Clock Tower on Upper Green.  This photo was probably taken very shortly after its construction:  the banner in the background reads "God Save the King and Queen" and the iron railings around the clock are not yet in place.

The first world was affected the village as it affected every other village in the country and Tettenhall's share of the nation's appalling casualty list is recorded on the war memorial at the parish church.  

Before the war a start had been made on the Oxley to Kingswinford railway line, part of a scheme to link Stourbridge and Worcester to Bridgnorth. Work was abandoned during the war (and the spur to Bridgnorth never was built) and restarted after it, the line following that of the Smestow and the canal. The line opened in 1925 with a station at Tettenhall and a halt at Compton. But the passenger service was not a success and lasted only until 1932. Goods traffic struggled a long, the route being mainly used as a bypass. It finally closed in 1965, as part of the Beeching reorganisation of the railways. Most of the line is now part of a linear park.

Tettenhall's function as a residential area was emphasized by the building of new estates and the consequent disappearance of many farms. The first council houses in the Regis Road area were begun in 1922 and were followed by more in Woodland Avenue in 1927. 

The paddling pool on Upper Green when it was still a farm pond.  

But some open land remained. In the early 1930s Mrs. E. Swindley left a great deal of land to the village, from Upper Green across to Stockwell Farm, whose duck pond was converted into a paddling pool at the expense of the Graham family, the owners of the Express and Star. Mrs. Swindley also left the cricket ground to the cricket club.

The Second World War also had a similar impact on Tettenhall as it had on other villages. But notable events included the building of an airfield at Bushey Pits (part of Perton), the unloading at Tettenhall Station of hundred of soldiers wounded in the D Day landings, and two bombs which damaged property but caused no death or injuries.

After World War II residential development continued with estates at Long Lake, the Grange and the Woodhouse.  New schools were duly provided: primary schools at Castlecroft in 1952, at Westacre in 1954, Bhylls Acre in 1957 and Woodthorne in 1959. Two comprehensives were also built: Regis is 1955 and Smestow a few years later.

In 1950 St Michael and All Angels burnt down. The cause of that fire has never been determined. The late 14th century tower and the interesting later 19th century porch were saved and incorporated into the new church, which was built in a very successful modern interpretation of the gothic.

Wolverhampton Borough Council spent much time and effort during the century in trying to take over Tettenhall, whither much of its richer population had fled, in pursuit of cleaner air and lower rates. They tried in 1908, 1912, 1921/22, 1926, 1932 and 1950. All of these attempts were repelled. (The postcard shown on the right was issued as part of the campaign of opposition in 1921/2).

But the large scale reorganization of local government in 1966 proved to be one battle too many and, although the matter seemed to be evenly balanced, the final decision went in favour of Wolverhampton's take over bid. 

Tettenhall UDC ceased to exist in 1966.  

In the nearly forty years which have passed since then no major event has disturbed the subrural calm of Tettenhall. There has continued to be an extension of housing, especially at Perton, and Tettenhall has maintained its place as “Wolverhampton’s best bedroom”. 

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