Bilston: No Place Like Home!

In England we had the Industrial Revolution, it turned fields into factories that brought the workers to the furnaces. Bilston is a quirky working class town in the West Midlands that played its part in the Industrial Revolution and then some! I was born in London but I have lived in Bilston since I was six years old! My hometown serves orange chips, markets and a Metro stop!

Alright, Bab? Bilston is nestled within the Black Country region of the West Midlands, once the home to a booming steel trade during the Industrial Revolution!  Bilston town hasn't lost its post-industrial edge. Bilston may be small but it has many hidden gems that make me love this place, there's no other place out there like it! Bilston is my surrogate hometown after I moved up from London when I was almost six years old. So, am I now a fully fledged Bilstonian? Bilston is a town that's unique in every sense, there's no pretence here because we just get on with things. Located not too far from Wolverhampton and Birmingham I would recommend an afternoon in Bilston to enjoy some chips, the surroundings and listen to the locals because they always have something to gossip about. Bilston serves no airs or graces, getting on with daily life within this West Midlands town is the key! Bilston is bostin! Sure, it's my home!

Bilston is a town should be fully celebrated and recognised as a culinary wonder of the West Midlands! We have got the Cafe Metro, its a lovely little coffee shop that brings a serving of class to our working town of Bilston. Some places might have posh coffee shops and Michelin star restaurants but Bilston has Major's Fish Restaurant, has undoubtedly got the best chip shop that I have ever tasted! The Major's 'chippy' Fish Restaurant is so special because the chips are bright orange in colour! Don't ask me how their chips turn out orange because that's Major's doing and I'm sure they aren't going to reveal their secret any time soon! Like our trade, our food reflects the simplicity of our town, I like to grab a Baileys hot chocolate at Cafe Metro and a bag of chips from Majors! Bilston brings the spices of India to the high street because we have numerous Indian Sweet Centre's and Indian restaurants serving a taste of India. It's a sure fact that we are very international here in the town of Bilston. Yes!

The folk of Bilston like to congregate around the indoor and outdoor markets. Buying all sorts of bits and bobs, from food to the most random things ever! I will be honest the stalls of Bilston's outdoor market sell some odd things that I would never dream of purchasing, but each to their own I say! Bilston folk always bump into someone we haven't seen for ages so its common to wade through the crowd of chatting people, mainly women. I know that things have not been easy for the markets of our country but for Bilston to still have their daily markets I'm hopeful that things aren't bad for us. I shall tell everyone one thing, Bilston is a town stronger than steel! In Bilston we know everything's going to be fine for our market. The outdoor and indoor market in Bilston is open Monday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday, there's only an outdoor market on Sunday's. People watching and listening at the market is priceless, B!

The loyal shoppers of Bilston town trudge through the market in all weathers, whether it be rain or shine it's a hit with the people of this town. These two Bilston market areas sell a wide array of produce from fruit and vegetables with a range of catering amenities that serve their purpose. Where would we be without our market in Bilston? It's remarkable to see that both markets are still going because Wolverhampton's markets are hanging on just about! I personally believe Bilston market is an asset to this town, bringing the community together whatever the purchase the visitors and locals have in mind. Bilston might not be the most conventional place to visit but I really want to see this town flourish. The national recession killed off most British high streets, not Bilston's no! Since the downturn we have lost many high streets names but the main shopping street always get packed on those faithful market days! How does Bilston keep serving as the comeback town? I don't know!

Don't worry about getting to Bilston, it's all covered. Public transport is plentiful in Bilston, there's simply no excuse to not visit Bilston by one of the many transport resources. The Midland Metro has transformed the way people reach Bilston Central to access the town and markets alike. This marvel of transport connects Bilston with Birmingham and Wolverhampton. Personally there's no other way to travel when in Bilston Town. Another mode of transport that's been in Bilston longer than the Midland Metro are the Banga Travel buses. A somewhat individual bus operator that replaces some of the other bus routes that National Express West Midlands doesn't operate. I'm lucky to live close enough to the town centre that I can comfortably walk to the town centre from my family home. The Midland Metro has definitely made Birmingham more accessible, making those uni getaways easy back to my halls! I'll be back!

It's no secret that Bilston was the boom town of yesterday, people came from the rural communities to work in the red hot furnaces of the steel works. My two times great-granddad came to Bilston to make his fortune. Bilston and the surrounding boom towns got the name 'The Black Country' from when Queen Victoria determined how black the sky looked over the Midlands when she got off her Royal steam train from London. Times change but my family has been here for at least six generations, there hasn't been a good enough reason for my grandparents to move from the town because that's just where we are from. I have every faith that both markets will weather any financial storms that find Bilston, the old faithful Major's Chips will carry on to serve those orange chips that are so very tasty! I have a feeling that the upcoming Midland Metro extensions will keep Bilston connected with Birmingham and the wider West Midlands region. Bilston, I'll be seeing you soon! 

Bilston Market Is Life! 

Joseph Harrison


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