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Merry Hill Shopping Centre     O.S. Ref   925.870

In 1784 land was leased from the estate of Lord Dudley, adjacent to the newly built Stourbridge Canal at The Level, Brierley Hill, for building blast furnaces. By 1788 Benjamin Gibbons was the tenant and rolling mills were erected. In 1800 Gibbons built more furnaces, The New Level Furnaces, on the other side of Level Street.

During 1843 Gibbons moved to a new site at Pensnett and Lord Dudley took over the furnaces and in 1857 built the Round Oak Ironworks on the other side of the canal to manufacture wrought iron. The Pensnett Railway was built to give the works access to Lord Dudley's collieries and other forges. By the 1970's Round Oak was one of the largest steelworks in Europe and when it closed in the early 1980's had only recently been redeveloped and modernised. 

The whole site was taken over by the Richardson twins, and with Regional Development funding the Iron-works to the south of Level Street were cleared and the Merry Hill Shopping Centre built. This development mainly covered an area of nearby farm land, and old coal workings. 

The original Round Oak site has more recently been redeveloped as Phase 2 of the "Richardson's" Waterfront development.

Perhaps a final irony is the closure of the monorail system in the mid 1990's. Futuristic, smooth and efficient, many passengers just wanting to try it, the system closed with the link to the proposed Midland Metro never built. The Metro itself now many years behind schedule may never reach the area.

Merry Hill   Three Maps