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This led to (apart from in the east, with Coventry and the Meriden Gap) quite a tightly defined metropolitan border, excluding such places as Burntwood, Bromsgrove, Cannock, Kidderminster, Lichfield and Wombourne which had been considered for inclusion in the West Midlands metropolitan area by the Redcliffe-Maud Report.The 1974 reform created the West Midlands County Council that covered the entire area and dealt with strategic issues.Birmingham and Wolverhampton have a tradition of industry dating back to the 16th century, when small metal-working industries developed.

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In 1974, the Local Government Act 1972 came into effect, creating the metropolitan county of West Midlands.This area was based on the seven county boroughs and the other non-county boroughs and urban districts around the fringe of the conurbation.Coventry was slower to develop, but by the early 20th century, it had become an important centre of bicycle and car manufacture.1966 saw a substantial reform in the local government of the area as the patchwork of county boroughs with municipal boroughs and urban district councils in between was replaced by a core of county boroughs covering a contiguous area, roughly as follows: Near this area, three other towns remained separate (Halesowen, Stourbridge and Sutton Coldfield), while Aldridge and Brownhills joined to form a single unit, called Aldridge-Brownhills.In the same year, a single West Midlands Constabulary was formed for the Black Country county boroughs, whilst Birmingham retained its Birmingham City Police and Solihull continued being policed by the Warwickshire Constabulary.

The West Midlands Passenger Transport Authority was established in 1968.The main conurbation, or urban area, does not include Coventry for example.The name "West Midlands" is also used for the much larger West Midlands region, which sometimes causes confusion, not surprising perhaps when geographically it is on the eastern side of the region, the western side comprising Shropshire and Herefordshire.The new area consisted of seven new metropolitan boroughs, with Aldridge-Brownhills added to Walsall; Halesowen and Stourbridge to Dudley and Sutton Coldfield to Birmingham.A new borough of Sandwell was formed by the merger of West Bromwich and Warley.Following the abolition of the county council, some county-wide bodies continued to exist, which were administered by various joint-boards of the seven districts, among these were the West Midlands Police, the West Midlands Fire Service and the West Midlands Passenger Transport Executive.