The former public library is one of the oldest buildings in Oldbury and stands opposite the modern offices of Sandwell Council. Now a grade II listed building, it was erected in 1816 as a Court of Requests. The premises included a gaol, with cells for male and female prisoners. The prison régime was severe. In July 1820, an order was issued that ‘no kinds of provisions, ale, spirits or drinkables be allowed to be received or taken into the prisoners for their use of any description whatever, except a loaf of bread weighing 1lb for each person per day’.