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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.
A reported 250,000 people attempted to visit the site upon the first day of opening.
In World War II, Dudley was bombed on several occasions.
The castle provided the centre from which the town and borough grew, with early coal and iron workings helping establish Dudley as a major market town during the Middle Ages, selling not only agricultural produce, but also iron goods at a national level.
Working iron and mining for coal was in practice as early as the 13th century.
On 19 November 1940 a Luftwaffe bomb demolished a public house in the town centre and damaged several nearby buildings including St Thomas's Church and the new Co-Operative department store, but there were no fatalities.
However, on the same night a landmine was dropped in the Oakham area of the town and demolished a section of council houses in City Road, resulting in the deaths of 10 people and injuring many others.
An inquisition after his death further established the value and importance of the borough, with mentions to the town's growing coal industry.Originally a market town, Dudley was one of the birthplaces of the Industrial Revolution and grew into an industrial centre in the 19th century with its iron, coal, and limestone industries before their decline and the relocation of its commercial centre to the nearby Merry Hill Shopping Centre in the 1980s.Tourist attractions include Dudley Zoo and Castle, the 12th century priory ruins, and the Black Country Living Museum.For many years the town (but not the castle, which was outside the boundary in Staffordshire) Despite the more recent changes in county boundaries, the town and borough still remain part of the Anglican Diocese of Worcester.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.