How old is my street? … and how do we know?
McKean Road B69 4AZ was laid out about 120 years ago in the last years of the nineteenth century, at the same time as the neighbouring streets, Century Road and Poplar Road. We know this because it is not marked on the map of the area in 1885
(Map 1), but is there on the map of 1900 (Map 2).
When were the houses built?
The houses on McKean Road are from several periods, but the oldest were built in the early years of the last century, before the First World War (i.e. between 1900 and 1914).
How common or rare does this make them?
These houses are now quite unusual in the area. Less than five in every hundred homes in the Black Country are this old.
What was there before?
Parts of McKean Road were built on fields next to the river Tame; these were probably based on earlier ‘open fields’ which had been there at least 400 years before. We know this because of the shape of the boundaries and because soil from that time was excavated nearby.
Open fields were part of a system of farming which grew crops to feed a manor or village (in this case Oldbury). They are called open fields because they did not have hedges or fences between the strips of land farmed by each family.
> Read more about open fields here
Are there any other clues nearby to history of the area?
McKean Road is close to a section of the canal between Birmingham and Wolverhampton, built 240 years ago and closed in the 1950s (marked in blue on the maps). At the end of McKean Road is part of the route of the West Coast mainline railway — alongside was also the site of the Oldbury Carriage Works (now Metsec Plc).
What links the history of my street with the story of the Black Country?
Canals, railways and factories making railway rolling stock have all been common features of the Black Country.
Can you add to this story?
We would welcome any more you could add to the story of B69 4AZ. It could be ancient history or something you know which happened recently. If you know something add it in the comment box below.
Where can I go to find out more?
Search for information about McKean Road and Oldbury on Black Country History, the online catalogue of local museums and archives.
This briefing has been generously supported by English Heritage