Darlaston

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Template:GBmap Darlaston is a town in Walsall in the West Midlands of England.

The town grew in the nineteenth century around the nut, bolt and gun lock manufacturing and coal mining industries. But most of the town's industries had closed by the end of the 1980's and the town is now a ghost town, with an increasing high level of unemployment.

Many Victorian terraced houses were demolished during the second half of the 20th century, and the Urban District Council of Darlaston built thousands of houses and flats to replace them with. Since 1966, Darlaston has been part of the Walsall borough and is now in the WS10 postal district which also included neighbouring Wednesbury.

Bentley Old Hall stood in the north of Darlaston until the early 20th century. Its grounds were redeveloped as a housing estate in the 1950's.

Mining subsidence, which has taken its toll on many buildings across central England, has also made its mark in Darlaston. In 1999, a council house on the New Moxley housing estate collapsed down a disused mineshaft while its occupants were on holiday. The adjoining house also had to be knocked down. Since then, the council owned housing stock in Darlaston has broken away from Walsall Metropolitan Borough Council and is now controlled by Darlaston Housing Trust. In 2001, two of the town's four multi-storey blocks of flats were demolished, and the remaining two followed suit in 2004. Some of the town's council owned low rise homes have already been flattened by bulldozers, mostly because of subsidence, while many more are expected to be cleared.

The athlete Mark Lewis-Francis was born at Darlaston in 1981.

Mark Rhodes, runner-up in ITV's Pop Idol 2003 contest, is also from Darlaston.

Both Mark Lewis-Francis and Mark Rhodes were pupils at Darlaston Comprehensive School.

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