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On 12 August 1941, four people were killed when another landmine was dropped in nearby Birch Crescent. Following local government reforms in 1966, Dudley was expanded to include the majority of the former urban districts of Brierley Hill and Sedgley, along with parts of Coseley, Amblecote and Rowley Regis; an area in the eastern section of the town was also transferred into the new borough of Warley.
The declining industry in Dudley has given rise to high unemployment, resulting in the closure of many businesses in the town.
The development of the Merry Hill Shopping Centre between 19 also saw the loss of most of the town centre's leading name stores, which relocated to take advantage of the tax incentives offered by Merry Hill's status as an Enterprise Zone.
The financial crisis and recession resulted in even more of the retail units in the town centre becoming vacant, with the Woolworths store on Market Place closing in December 2008 when the company went bankrupt, Dudley is the administrative centre of the Dudley Metropolitan Borough, and is governed by the Dudley Metropolitan Borough Council.
impoverished place during the 16th and 17th centuries, but the advent of the Industrial Revolution began to reverse this trend.
In the early 17th century, Dud Dudley, an illegitimate son of Edward Sutton, 5th Baron Dudley and Elizabeth Tomlinson, Abraham Darby was descended from Dud Dudley's sister, Jane, and was the first person to produce iron commercially using coke instead of charcoal at his works in Coalbrookdale, Shropshire in 1709.
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.
Working iron and mining for coal was in practice as early as the 13th century.Abraham Darby was born near Wrens Nest Hill near the town of Dudley and it is claimed that he may have known about Dud Dudley's earlier work.Other industries included iron, steel, engineering, metallurgy, glass cutting, textiles and leatherworking.The town had been a manorial borough from the end of the 13th century, and from at least the 16th century until the passing of the Dudley Town Act of 1791, was governed by the Court Leet of the Lords of Dudley.From 1791, the Town Commissioners were the main local authority although the Court Leet continued to meet until 1866.