The district of Smethwick started out as an Anglo-Saxon settlement and was mainly a small farming community. The village was a popular residence for Birmingham's bankers and lawyers during the 18th and early 19th centuries. Like other black country towns, Smethwick was transformed by the Industrial Revolution during the 19th century.
James Brindley's canal, a main route from Birmingham into the Black Country, was built during 1768-69 and features a 70 ft deep cutting created by Thomas Telford spanned by the 154 ft long Galton Bridge. The canal attracted manufacturing and glassmaking with notable companies including, Boulton, Watt & Co's Soho Foundry, Tangye's; Guest Keen & Nettlefolds; the Birmingham Railway Carriage and Wagon Co; Birmingham Aluminium Casting Co. Ltd and Chance's.
Smethwick became a county borough in 1907 and remained independent until 1966 when it became part of the County Borough of Warley, which in-turn became part of the Metropolitan Borough of Sandwell in 1974.