The red line marks the approximate course of the parish boundary.
Smethwick is an ancient settlement, recorded in the Domesday book as Smedeuuich. For much of its history, it was simply a township within the parish of Harborne in Staffordshire. Prior to the Industrial Revolution, Smethwick was a hamlet with small groups of cottages separated by tracts of woodlands and small farms, strung out along the road from Birmingham to Dudley.
It was the cutting of James Brindley's canal in 1768-69 to transport coal from Wednesbury to Birmingham that began to attract manufacturing industry to the area. Metalwork has been predominant in Smethwick's industrial development. Blacksmithing and nailmaking were carried out as early as the 17th century and latterly gun-smithing.
In 1796, Boulton, Watt and Sons built their factory by the canal to cast components for their very successful steam engines. Throughout the 19th century, the land around the canal was used for factory development, many companies moving from the over-crowded Birmingham centre. Glass making was Smethwick’s second most important industry. All the glass required for the Crystal Palace was made by the Chance family in their Spon Lane factory.
Industry attracted vast numbers of workers, raising a population of 1,097 in 1801 to 54,539 by 1901. Streets of terraced houses, often without sanitation, were built to house the workers. Drainage and sewage systems followed in the 1880s.
After the Second World War, Smethwick attracted a large number of immigrants from Commonwealth countries, the largest ethnic groups being Sikhs from the Punjab. Smethwick itself is a hugely diverse community, predominately "white" but with 25% Asian or Asian British, 8% Black or Black British. And Smethwick is no longer in Staffordshire becoming first part of the Borough of Warley, Worcestershire which was absorbed in 1974 into the Metropolitan Borough of Sandwell.
Throughout these centuries of almost unimaginable change, Smethwick Old Church, since its consecration in 1732, has remained a centre for Christian worship and fellowship, a centre of activity in this part of Smethwick and ministering to some 11,000 souls.