Queen Square

Many changes took place in the town centre in the mid 1970's. Dudley Street was pedestrianised and the layout of Queen Square was changed. The old layout dated from 1951 and was made to mark the Festival of Britain. Albert's statue was placed on a central island and the public toilets were hidden by some greenery.  In the 1970's one half of the road was removed to provide more space for pedestrians and Albert was moved to a more prominent position.

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The old layout showing the dual carriageway.

Many of the changes that have taken place in the banking industry are reflected in the signs on the building fronts. Some of these old names have now completely disappeared.

Can you remember the Leek & Westbourne Building Society or the Wolverhampton Building Society?.

The premises on the immediate right of the Wolverhampton Building Society was occupied by Green & Hollins who were a well known quality gents outfitters.

Christmas decorations in Darlington Street in November 1974 when work was well underway on the first part of the alterations.

On the left is the premises of Alfred Hall who were a well known and long established gents outfitters.

Burton the tailors can also be seen on the corner of Darlington Street. It closed in 1992 and is now occupied by Beatties.

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QUEENSQ10.jpg (41043 bytes) Albert on the move.
This photograph taken in September 1974 shows Albert's statue waiting for its plinth to be moved to the new location.

The completed foundation can be seen in the foreground.

This photograph taken at around the same time shows the arrival of the crane which would shortly complete Albert's transfer. QUEENSQ11.jpg (34764 bytes)
QUEENSQ1.jpg (40963 bytes) By November Albert had been successfully moved and work was in progress on the new paved area surrounding the statue.

In the background can be seen the Watches of Switzerland shop which was a prominent landmark for many years.

Behind the shop was the infamous Tavern in the Town public house.

The Queens Ballroom and Restaurant has played an important part in Wolverhampton's social life, opening in September 1914. During the late 1950's audiences were getting smaller and so in 1959 it was converted to a dance hall.

It was to became one of the most important live Rock 'n' Roll venues of the 1960's in Wolverhampton, and was affectionately known as "The Queens", with club nights on each Monday and Wednesday.

There was usually a long queue which stretched down the alleyway into Wheeler's Fold. It was so successful that dances were even held at lunchtimes on a Saturday and during the week. Unfortunately as Rock 'n' Roll went into a decline in the late sixty's and early 70's, so did The Queens.

After final closure and remaining empty for some time it was demolished in 1980 to make way for the Lloyds Bank extension.

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QUEENSQ3.jpg (38389 bytes) This view from December 1973 has changed very little. The National Westminster Bank has changed its name to the NatWest Bank and Green and Hollins on the extreme left has become the HFC Bank.

A look up Exchange Street shows a very different story. In the distance in front of the Tarmac Building is the Wholesale Market.

A few months later it was demolished to make way for the Civic Centre which now dominates the scene.

Another view which has changed very little in the intervening years. Joan's gown shop was known locally as Cope's Wine Lodge because in 1818 it was purchased by George Cope who sold wine for many years.

It was originally built in 1726 as a fine house for the Persehouse family, showing high standards of craftsmanship. It was extended in 1755 and this date is recorded on the spouting.

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QUEENSQ5.jpg (31598 bytes) Many people will have memories of the Tavern in the Town pub and Watches of Switzerland Jewellers.

The Tavern in the Town was originally the Shakespeare, an Atkinsons house.

Next door on the right was Reynolds Restaurant, a once popular venue.

Previously the Halifax Building Society premises had also been a popular restaurant when it was owned by J. Lyons. Also to be seen on the extreme right is the Council's display cabinet.


An April 1975 view of Lloyds Bank which has changed so little that it could almost have been taken yesterday. QUEENSQ6.jpg (38052 bytes)
QUEENSQ9.jpg (35391 bytes) By August 1975 work was nearing completion.
I have included this view as a contrast. Its from an old magic lantern slide and was taken in between 1858 and 1866.

The Russian cannon was captured during the Crimean War, and in 1866 was moved to Snow Hill to make way for Albert's statue.

In those days Lichfield Street was very narrow and when it was widened in the early 1880's all of the buildings on the far side of  Lich Gates were demolished.

QUEENSQ13.jpg (32987 bytes)
QUEENSQ12.jpg (53551 bytes) This view is also from an old lantern slide and was probably taken at the time of Queen Victoria's Golden Jubliee on Tuesday 21st June 1887.

The horsedrawn tram in front of Albert's statue would have run to Tettenhall. The service commenced in 1878 and was electrified in 1902.

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