In 1836 the Dudley Poor Law Union was formed, consisting of Dudley itself, and the parishes of Sedgley, Tipton, and Rowley Regis.
The Metropolitan Borough, which includes the towns of Stourbridge and Halesowen, had a population of 312,900.
Dudley is sometimes called the capital of the Black Country.
The castle provided the centre from which the town and borough grew, with early coal and iron workings helping establish Dudley as a major market town during the Middle Ages, selling not only agricultural produce, but also iron goods at a national level.
Working iron and mining for coal was in practice as early as the 13th century.
its name deriving from the Old English Duddan Leah, meaning Dudda's clearing, and one of its churches being named in honour of the Anglo-Saxon King and Saint, Edmund.
Mentioned in the Domesday Book as Dudelei, Of historical significance, the town was attacked by King Stephen in 1138, after a failed siege of the castle following the Baron's decision to support Empress Matilda's claim to the throne during The Anarchy.On 19 November 1940 a Luftwaffe bomb demolished a public house in the town centre and damaged several nearby buildings including St Thomas's Church and the new Co-Operative department store, but there were no fatalities.However, on the same night a landmine was dropped in the Oakham area of the town and demolished a section of council houses in City Road, resulting in the deaths of 10 people and injuring many others.During this time living conditions remained incredibly poor, with Dudley being named 'the most unhealthy place in the country', which led to the installation of clean water supplies and sewage systems, and later the extensive development of council housing during the early 20th century to relocate the occupants of local slum housing.Following the Reform Act of 1832, Dudley returned one Member of Parliament, a privilege first enacted in the Parliament of 1295.The current MPs elected from these seats to the House of Commons are Labour's Ian Austin, and the Conservative Mike Wood, respectively.