|Location Map ( geo)|
|From:||Hayley Green (SO947821)|
|Distance:||1.6 miles (2.6 km)|
|Old route now:||A456, B4043|
|Route outline (key)|
We start at a roundabout junction with the A456, ploughing straight on towards the town centre whilst the Halesowen bypass takes that road around the south of the town to meet the M5 at junction 3. There's an original-to-the-B4183 route confirmation sign about 150 yards along, and many pre-Worboys speed limit roundels. The B4183 is 40 mph through Hayley Green, so all the side roads have speed limit signs, and with the exception of Rosemary Road none of the signs have been replaced with new versions.
As we enter the district of Hasbury, we drop to a 30 mph limit. Here, although the road is still named Hagley Road, it gets a new postcode and the numbering restarts, leading to the confusion of having - for example - two addresses that read 232 Hagley Road, Halesowen.
It is perhaps worth noting that this stretch of Hagley Road had four petrol stations on it back in the late 1980s. Now, it has none - instead there are two housing developments, a doctors' surgery and a branch of Lidl. It also contained a glorious Danilo picture house; a fantastic-looking art deco building that should have been listed but never was - typical of Dudley MBC. In the late 1980s it was pulled down and replaced with retirement flats.
We descend towards Halesowen Town Centre and meet a spur of the A459 at a roundabout. At this point, things get a little more interesting, and a collection of mapping errors, bad signage and changes of the original route make it harder to work out exactly what is going on. Many maps take the easy way out and just claim that the B4183 ends here!
Historically, the A456 went straight on at this roundabout, turned left into High Street, went straight on into Birmingham Street and TOTSOed with the A458 at a traffic-light controlled junction on New Road. Only the first 80 yards and last 250 yards of this route are not currently pedestrianised - these changes took place in the early 1970s. Before then, and after the opening of the Halesowen bypass, the B4183 also took this route.
Navteq maps now say that, instead of this, the B4183 turns right at the roundabout and travels along the dual-carriageway section of Queensway to meet the A459 at Grange Road. This is just a mapping error; this stretch of Queensway has always been a spur of the A459.
In fact, according solely to the Dudley MBC website and a single sign on the A458, the B4183 turns left at the roundabout and takes Queensway and High Street in order to meet the A458 at a roundabout junction just the other side of Halesowen Town Centre.
This leads to another problem with trying to follow the route - the part of Queensway and High Street between Church Croft and the High Street Car Park entrance is now one way, and you can only travel along it in the opposite direction! Queensway is a new road built in the late 1960s when the first stage of pedestrianisation took place in the Town Centre. The one-way section was originally created by the roadworks that were necessary to enable the creation of a new bus station in 2008 and the expansion of the Cornbow shopping centre, but it had the added benefit of protecting the wall around the historic churchyard, home to Halesowen's most important landmark - a fantastic Norman church, completed in 1083 and remarkably well preserved.
The original route of the B4183 was a short link in Halesowen itself, following High Street and Great Cornbow and connecting the A458 and A459. By 1932 it had been extended eastwards to reach the A456 at Quinton. With the opening of the Halesowen Bypass this extension was renumbered A456, leaving the original section in the town centre numbered B4183; at the same time the road was extended west along the pre-bypass A456 to Hayley Green. With the construction of the M5 motorway the A456 was rerouted again, with the bypassed section becoming the B4043.