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In more recent years, however, the declining industry in the area has given rise to high unemployment, resulting in the closure of many town businesses.
its name deriving from the Old English 'Duddan Leah' (meaning Dudda's clearing) and one of its churches being named in honour of the Anglo-Saxon King and Saint, Edmund. Working iron and mining for coal was in practice as early as the 13th century, and by the 18th century the town had become a significant industrial hub.
The Plaza Cinema was built on Castle Hill in 1938 next to the Hippodrome, and remained open until October 1990.
The building was then taken over by Laser Quest, who used it until it was demolished in 1997. Since the 1970s, there has been a nightclub on Castle Hill situated on the corner of Station Drive; this has changed ownership several times since first opening.
Dudley Castle has stood on a hill overlooking the town since the time of the Norman Conquest, The present castle building dates from the 13th century, and provided the centre around which the town grew. During the English Civil War Dudley served as a Royalist stronghold, with the castle besieged by the Parliamentarians and later partly demolished on the orders of the Government after the Royalist surrender.
The town's population grew dramatically during the 18th and 19th centuries because of the increase in industry, and it became a central part of the Black Country.