| Walsall College|
| Walsall Leather Museum, The New Art Gallery Walsall, Walsall Arboretum, Walsall Museum, Barr Beacon|
Walsall ( ) is a large industrial town in the West Midlands of England. It is located 8 miles north-west of the City of Birmingham and 6 miles east of the City of Wolverhampton. Historically a part of Staffordshire, Walsall is a component area of the West Midlands conurbation, and part of the Black Country.
Walsall is the administrative centre of the wider Metropolitan Borough of Walsall. At the 2011 census, the towns built-up area had a population of 67,594, with the wider borough having a population of 269,323. Neighbouring settlements in the borough include Darlaston, Brownhills, Willenhall, Bloxwich, and Aldridge.
The name Walsall is thought to have derived from the words "Walh halh", meaning "valley of the Welsh speakers" (referring to the Brythons). Walsall is first referenced as Walesho in a document dated 1002. Possibly as a result of a clerical error, it is not referenced in the Domesday Book, while the settlements of Aldridge, Bescot, Shelfield, Pelsall, Bloxwich, Great Barr and Rushall within the Metropolitan Borough are. However, it is believed that a manor was held here by William FitzAnsculf, who held numerous manors in the Midlands. By the first part of the 13th century, Walsall was a small market town, with the weekly market being introduced in 1220 and held on Tuesdays. The mayor of Walsall was created as a political position in the 14th century. Walsall is known as "the town of a hundred trades". (This appellation is a nod to the fact that nearby Birmingham is known as "the city of a thousand trades".)
Queen Marys Grammar School and Queen Marys High School were founded by Queen Mary I in 1554, and the schools carry the queens personal badge as its emblem: the Tudor Rose and the sheaf of arrows of Marys mother Catherine of Aragon tied with a Staffordshire Knot.
The town was visited by Queen Elizabeth I, when it was known as Walshale. It was also visited by Henrietta Maria in 1643. She stayed in the town for one night at a building named the White Hart in the area of Caldmore.
A local landmark is Barr Beacon, which is reportedly the highest point following its latitude eastwards until the Ural Mountains in Russia. The soil of Walsall consists mainly of clay with areas of limestone, which were quarried during the Industrial Revolution.
Walsall Arboretum was officially opened on 4 May 1874 by the wealthy Hatherton family. It was hoped that the park would provide "a healthy change from dogfights, bull-baiting and cockfights", however the 2d (old pence) admission was not popular with the public and within seven years the council took over ownership to provide free admission. Among the attractions available were two boating lakes on the sites of former quarries, tennis courts, an outdoor swimming pool, and later – in the extension – a childrens play area and paddling pool.
Over the years the Arboretum has seen many events and changes, including the beginnings of the Walsall Arboretum Illuminations as an annual event in 1951.
Originally white bulbs in trees for courting couples in the autumn, in the 1960s and 1970s, the lights were purchased secondhand from Blackpool Illuminations, but over the years they were increasingly made "in house" and are now all are.
The Illuminations had up to sixty thousand bulbs and took year-round planning. Although the event had attracted an estimated 250,000 people in 1995, lack of growth beyond this figure has raised the prospect of major redevelopment as the light shows have been exactly the same for a number of years. In February 2009, Walsall council announced that the Illuminations would not take place in 2009, 2010 and 2011.
In January 2010, it was announced that the Illuminations had been permanently scrapped and would be replaced by other events such as concerts and laser shows throughout the year. The existing lights would be sold off where possible to interested parties.