The aims of the walk
A local historian or architect should endeavour to make citizens aware
of their local heritage and surroundings. Even a large industrial town
like Wolverhampton can offer its citizens and visitors some buildings of
architectural and historical interest and merit, even if these cannot
rival those of medieval York, Georgian Bath or early Victorian
The walk will try to show the wide range of styles of which Victorian
architects were masters. Lewis Vulliamy (County Court, Grade II*, Queen
Street) represented this trait, "He was in fact an eclectic designer who
would turn his hand to any style that early Victorian taste might
The walk will concentrate on the principal Georgian and Victorian
buildings situated in the centre of the town
The walk is about two and a quarter
miles long and should take about an hour and a half to complete,
excluding any time spent in St. Peter’s Church.
Parts of the walk may be unsuitable for wheelchair users due to the hilly nature of the City centre:
The walk starts in Queen Square, which is about 10 minutes walk from the railway station and 5 minutes walk from the bus station or the Mander Centre car park.
Walk across Queen Square to the statue of Prince Albert on horseback.
The Prince Albert Statue, erected in 1866 was designed by T.
Thorneycroft. It is Grade II listed and is a conventional equestrian
bronze statue of the Prince Regent, on a plain stone base and plinth
with the inscription "Inaugurated by the Queen November 1866". Queen
Victoria only agreed to inaugurate the statue nine days before the
ceremony. It was the first time that she had gone out of retirement
since the death of her husband and this aroused great indignation from
other cities. Punch wrote the following verses:-
The Queen in The Black Country
“Gracious Queen Victoria, Wolverhampton greets you,
The Queen came on 30th November and stayed for two and a half hours. The Mayor, John Morris, was knighted. As no one told him about it, he was totally surprised when the Earl of Derby, the Prime Minister, pushed him forward to be knighted by the Queen. The Square could also be called the Square of Banks.
Queen Square South Side
Walk over to Lloyds Bank behind the statue.
Queen Square North Side
Cross Lichfield Street and go to Barclays Bank on the corner of Lich
Barclays Bank was built in 1876 and later, the architect was
Thomas Henry Fleeming. It is Grade II listed and carries a blue plaque.
It has a Gothic ashlar facade with 3 storeys and slightly projecting
gabled bays. The sash windows have clustered pilasters with foliated
capitals and stilted pointed arched heads, hood moulds and headed bands.
There are four light bays on the left-hand side, an arched doorway with
iron gates and with a subsidiary arch on either side. A moulded cornice
at the first floor with a balcony over right-handed bay, corbelled
eaves, a cornice and square-headed bank windows.
Walk up Lich Gates to St. Peter’s Collegiate Church.
St Peter's Collegiate Church, circa 15th century. Grade 1
listed with a blue plaque.
'The proud parish church of a prosperous town' (Pevsner).
Cruciform In design, it is in the perpendicular style made out of red
sandstone and has an impressive 15th century tower. The
chancel was rebuilt by Ewan Christian in 1852-67, the church possesses
one of the few remaining stone pulpits (sandstone and octagonal) with a
large seated lion at the foot of the staircase. "The most effective of
all the ancient pulpits in England". (Cox).
The church has many associations with Sir Stephen Jenyns, Lord Mayor of
London (1508), Master of the Merchant Taylors Guild and Founder of the
town's Grammar School (1512). The Gallery at the west is known as the
Fairy Gallery and was constructed in 1610 and was the gift of the
Merchant Taylors Company for the use of the local Grammar School. The
above two events are represented by their respective coat of arms
(Grammar School nearest the South door). The Founders window, Kempe
(West and South aisle) depicts people who have greatly influenced the
town's development, (left to right) King Wulfere (667), Lady Wulfruna
(994), King John and Sir Stephen Jenyns (1515) holding the Grammar
School in his arms. The south clerestory contains the different coats of
arms of the Merchant Taylors.
Over the south porch entrance is a room which was probably a 'solar' in
the Middle Ages. For at one time merchants from all parts came to
Wolverhampton to buy and sell wool, and this room would be reserved for
the priest. He would sleep there before offering mass for the merchants
early the next morning.
Return to Lich Gates, turn first left and walk up the slope on the left
to the Saxon Cross.
Outside the church, "the famous Anglo-Saxon Wolverhampton Cross probably of the mid 9th century. Mighty shaft 14ft high. The decoration is in zones, the lowest continued downward in pendant triangles. The rather wild acanthus betrays Carolingian inspiration" (Pevsner).
Return to Lich Gates and walk to the branch of the South Staffordshire
Building Society at the end on the right.
It was originally Copes Wine Lodge and was built in 1726 and is Grade II
Walk along Queen Square, cross Exchange Street and stop outside the
The National Westminister Bank is circa 1905 and Grade II listed.
Continue to walk along Queen Square, turn right into North Street and
walk to the Magistrate’s Courts on the left.
North Street Law Courts (former Town Hall) built in 1869 – 71. The
architect was E. Bates and the building is Grade II listed with two blue
Continue to walk along North Street until you reach the Catholic church
of St. Peter and St. Paul.
St. Peter and St. Paul was
built in 1825 – 27 and designed by John Ireland. It is Grade II listed
with a blue plaque. 'One of the finest churches of Wolverhampton'
It has a domed altar space and a beautiful domed south transept
with four flute Ionic corner columns added by Edward Goldie in 1901.
It has a domed altar space and a beautiful domed south transept with four flute Ionic corner columns added by Edward Goldie in 1901.
Next to the church is Giffard House.
The Presbytery (Giffard House) was built in 1728 and designed by Francis
Smith. It is Grade II* listed and carries a blue plaque.
Wolverhampton Ring Road
Walk towards the Ring Road and turn right into the underpass. Turn left
at the end of the underpass and walk up the hill to the Molineux Hotel.
The Molineux Hotel was built in 1740-50 and is Grade II* listed.
In late 2003 the building is in a sorry derelict state awaiting a much-needed injection of cash and an occupant.
Retrace your steps into the underpass, turn right at the end, follow
the Ring Road and turn left at the traffic lights into Waterloo Road.
East Side Numbers 22 - 32 (even) form a terraced range and date from about 1850. They are Grade II listed and finished in stucco with 3 storeys and vaguely Italianate details. There are pseudo quoins at the sides, windows with moulded architraves and shallow cornices and balconies and cast iron railings. Each has a moulded plaster doorcase with semi-circular head. The ground storey windows have moulded architraves are generally tripartite, but some are altered with modern glazing. There are corbelled eaves and a slate roof hipped at the ends.
13. Across the road on the corner of Clarence Street are numbers 3 to 7.
West Side Numbers 3-7 (odd) form a terraced range dating from around 1850. They are Grade II listed with a blue plaque and finished in Stucco. There are 3 storeys and a semi-basement and six windows in plain architraves with cornices in consoles and voluted entablatures, a continuous still and a Greek key frieze at the second storey. Number 5 and number 7 have a good iron balcony. There are three semi-circular headed doorways. The one at number 3 has a radial fanlight and a 6 panelled door, the others have modern fanlights and doors. There is a dentilled eaves cornice, slate roof, hipped at the ends and altered basement windows. The forecourt is enclosed with cast iron railings.
Waterloo Road was first named after the Duke of Wellington, but as it did not lead to the town of Wellington, it was renamed Waterloo.
Walk to the end of Waterloo Road and cross over Darlington Street to
the Methodist Church.
The Methodist Church was built in 1900-01, designed by Arthur Marshall
and is Grade II listed with a blue plaque. It has a two storey Edwardian
Baroque facade, finished in red brick with stone dressing. The ground
storey has a rusticated facade. There is a slightly projecting bay at
either side surmounted by a cupola, with 3 windows overall in a "Gibbs"
The central window is Venetian in style and all have balustrades. The
coupled doorways have semi-circular heads, deep panelled chamfered
reveals, figurehead keyblocks and a cornice hood on elaborate consoles.
The roof is surmounted by a hemi-spherical copper dome on a rusticated
stone drum pierced by windows. “A very common kind of design for the
Darlington Street was named after the Earl of Darlington, an important landowner. It was completed in the early 1820's as an improvement and with Tettenhall Road, was part of the ambitious London - Holyhead Road built by Telford to improve communications between London and Dublin. The "Halfway House" Inn sign was a reminder to the weary traveller of the long distances on that journey.
The Town Commissioners perceived "the new street from High Street to the
bottom of Salop Street will be highly beneficial to the town.” Work of
construction was carried out by John Warrollow who in 1814 was appointed
to the Posts of Borough Engineer, Chief Constable, Sanitary Inspector,
Weights and Measures Inspector and Clean Air Officer for the salary of
£600 per annum. (Mason p7l).
Town Well Fold
Off Darlington Street, an ancient place name.
Walk to the top of Darlington Street and turn right into Victoria
Street, a little way down on the left-hand side is number 17 which is
currently occupied by Sports Warehouse.
No. 17 is Grade II listed and dates from the Mid 18th
century. It is finished in stucco, has three storeys, sash windows with
moulded key blocks and flat brick arches. There are rusticated pilasters
at the sides, string courses, a moulded cornice and a parapet.
16. Continue to number 18. Numbers 18, 18A and 18B are Grade II listed and date from the mid 18th century with later alterations. They are built in red brick and have 3 storeys. In the centre is a tripartite window with plaid pilasters, frieze and pediment and a semicircular window above the second storey. There are 2 sash windows on the right-hand side with key blocks and flat brick arches, moulded stone eaves, a shaped parapet with coping and modern shop fronts.
Continue to number 19, the half-timbered building.
No. 19 known as "Lindy Lou" is a late 16th century timber framed, Grade II listed building, wrongly dated 13th century. It has been restored by the Local Authority and was formerly the "Bird In Hand" public house. The building was used as a bakery tea shop in the 19th century called the "Copper Kettle" and is a fine example of timber framing, being of traditional vertical post and horizontal truss construction.
The Victoria Street facade consists of closely spaced vertical posts known as "post and panel" arrangement.
St. John’s Square
Continue down Victoria Street, go along Worcester Street, turn left into
Church Street, left at the top and walk around the right-hand bend to
enter St. John’s Square.
St. John's Square has been designated as a conservation area because of its historic character; its sense of enclosure, ironic, since the area was declared after most of it had been destroyed, and of its continuity with the past. Originally a Georgian residential square with terraced houses grouped around the church. It still has an almost complete Georgian approach through George Street, whilst the modern buildings which now form the square have been specially designed to be a reflection of its Georgian character and scale.
Turn into the entrance to the churchyard on the right and look at
St. John's Church was built in 1758-76 and designed by William Baker. The builder was Roger Eykyn. It is Grade II* listed. Mid Georgian ashlar, having a good rusticated portico with intermittently blocked columns. The West Tower has an octagonal bell stage and is crowned by a spire. The side windows are in two tiers at the “Gibbs” surround. At the East End is a blank Venetian window. The roof is encircled by stone balustrading. The interior has 3 galleries and short square pillars carrying the upper columns. The Western Gallery is probably the work of William Ellam of Wolverhampton. The church contains the famous Renatus Harris organ dating from 1682 which was purchased for £500 from the Temple Church, London.
Walk to the back of the church and look at the churchyard gates.
St. John’s churchyard gate piers and screens are Grade II listed. They are 18th century stone rusticated gate piers and a pair of subsidiary piers all with ball head finials. The wrought iron side screens are circa 19th century.
Pass through the gates to re-enter the northern end of St. John’s
On the left is what was originally St. Joseph's Convent of the Sisters of Mercy. It was built in l860 and designed by E. W. Pugin and is Grade II listed. The buildings are late 18th and 19th century, red brick with 2 and 3 storeys. The 2 storey range at the centre has 11 windows (one blocked), generally with sashes and semi-circular headed doorways. On the right-hand side at the junction with George Street is a late 18th century 3 storied house, having 3 sash windows and later dog-toothed eaves, a hipped slate roof, semicircular headed doorway with open pediments, Tuscan half columns, moulded stuccoed eaves, radial fanlight and modern six panelled door.
Set back at the rear of the Square is the Chapel by E. W. Pugin, son of A. W. M. Pugin. He took over his father's practice on his death in 1852. It is built of Gothic red brick with stone and blue brick dressings, the nave has a polygonal apse and the South West octagonal tower has a spirelet.
Turn into George Street. The street contains several Grade II listed
buildings. On the right are numbers 12 to 14 (consec.) and on the left
are numbers 1 to 10 (consec.).
A late 18th century probably 1750-80's terraced range with
red brick and 3 storeys and
3 windows each, except for no. 10 which has 5 windows with moulded key
blocks and channelled lintels. The doorways are stuccoed with open
pediments. The buildings have Tuscan half columns, moulded stuccoed
eaves, radial fanlights and six panelled doors.
23. Walk to the end of the street, turn left into Snow Hill and cross the road to view St. Mary and St John’s Roman Catholic Church.
Continue along Snow Hill, cross St. George’s Parade and stop outside the
Central Library on the corner. The Central Library was built in
1900-02, designed by E. T. Hare, is Grade II* listed and carries a blue
plaque. It is in Edwardian free style. "One of the most attractive
Edwardian buildings - freedom of design with eclectic detailing
integrated into an overall composition of much charm. The details are
eclectic including Jacobean and Baroque features as well as others of
originality or fashionable at the same time such as the cupolas with
disc-topped pinnacles” (Alistair Service).
Finished in red brick and yellow terracotta it has 2 storeys and 2 storeys plus attic with bands of plain terracotta to the ground storeys. The windows have moulded brick and terracotta surrounds with mullions and transom and having pilasters with pedimental features, and pediments enclosing circular windows; large segmental headed windows to ground storey in terracotta surrounds and with pilasters defining bays. There is a richly moulded head band in terracotta with an inscription commemorating the Diamond Jubilee and moulded terracotta panels below incorporating the Royal Arms and those of the former Borough. On the ground storey are 3 semi-circular arches with triple key-blocks, supported on Tuscan Doric columns, recessed doorways at rear and steps.
The whole is surmounted by a large gable containing a Venetian window and the roof with a fleche, Spirelet and wind vane. On either side is a narrow one-windowed tower bay each surmounted by a copper cupola with tall finial, coped parapets and end gables with tiles. The St. George’s Parade side has 3 windows similar to the one above the central, a 4-light oriel with mullions and transom. The facade is basically treated symmetrically apart from this elaborate underhang and side lights. Inscribed above second storey windows are the names of famous literary persons, Garrick Street - Chancer, Dryden, Pope, Shelley, Byron and Spencer- St. George’s Parade - Shakespeare and Milton.
Walk along Garrick Street and Market Street to the junction with
Queen Street. On the opposite corner on the north side of Queen Street
is number 13 which forms part of Shipleys Amusements.
The building, finished in red brick with stone dressings dates from about 1900 and is Grade II listed. It has 3 storeys, an attic, and a 5 light oriel window in moulded stone surround with mullions and transoms. There is a pulvinated frieze and cornice surmounted by a voluted feature, a string-course crow stepped gable with voluted kneelers which is surmounted by a cornice cap and obelisk finial. As a whole it looks vaguely Flemish.
26. Turn left into Queen Street and walk to Nos. 56-57 which are Grade
It is a 19th century red brick building with 3 storeys, 4
sash windows with painted flat moulded hood on brackets and bands over
the ground and first floors. No. 56 has a good door case with engaged
Doric columns. The supporting open pediment reveals a semi-circular head
Queen Street was named after Queen Adelaide, wife of William IV and was described by Pevsner as “The finest street of Wolverhampton”.
On the opposite side are numbers 25, 26, 27 and 28, all of
which are Grade II listed. Number 25 is Ron Flower’s sports shop and
dates from the early to mid 19th century. It has sash windows
with moulded key blocks and channelled lintels.
No. 26 is occupied by
Quicksilver Amusements. It has moulded architraves with pediments in
28. Continue to number 50, Walkabout public house. It was previously the County Court, built in 1815 and designed by Lewis Vulliamy. The first storey was extended in1829. It is Grade II* listed with a blue plaque. The building was originally the Library and Assembly Room where the Town Council first met in May 1848. It is in Classical Studio style with a central projecting bay and 3 windows. There is a pediment supported on four unfluted Ionic columns and with balustrades at the first floor and a Royal Arms at the centre. There are Tuscan Doric Columns to the ground storey. The sides have two windows in moulded architraves, the outers with semi-circular heads. There is a plain frieze at first story and cornice, a doorway at either side with semi-circular head and radial fanlight. There is also a six-panelled door and Doric portico with semi-circular headed windows on the ground floor and modillion eaves and cornice parapet. The low forecourt wall is surmounted by iron railings.
29. Proceed to numbers 46 to 49 which are Grade II listed. They form an early 19th century terraced range finished in red brick. They have 3 storeys, 6 sash windows with a central patera and 3 identical stuccoed doorcases with semi-circular heads. There are radial fanlights, 6 panelled doors and open pediments on Tuscan Columns; sill bands and moulded plaster eaves. No. 46, Falcon Chambers is the former Dispensary. It is in a vaguely Greek revival, Classical Style. Finished in stucco, has 2 storeys and 3 bays. The central is featured with Greek Doric half columns above and rustication to ground storey; plain pilasters to side wings. The central window features an over blind balustrade, there is an altered central doorway with segmental head, triglyph frieze to the centre and a blocking course.
30. Continue to numbers 43, 43a, 44 and 45, all of which are Grade II listed. Numbers 44 and 45 are early 19th century 3 storey buildings in red brick. They have sash windows, lintels with paterae on corbel brackets, bands and two identical stuccoed doorcases with open pediments on Tuscan half columns. There are semi-circular fanlights, panelled wood reveals, 6 panelled doors and moulded stucco eaves. Number 43 and 43a the Army and Navy Careers office was originally the Mechanics Institute, built in 1836 by William Walford. It carries a blue plaque.
At the end of the street walk across to the Queens Building. This
is the former Railway Ticket Office, built in 1849 and designed by
Edward Banks. It is Grade II listed.
32. Turn into Lichfield Street and walk to the Grand Theatre.
Through the enforcement of the Artisans Dwelling Act 1875, the slum
dwellings were cleared from Queen Square to Stafford Street. The Medical
Officer of Health in 1872 reported that 224 deaths had occurred due to
Scarlet Fever. The 1877 enquiry for clearance intended, "to provide
suitable habitations for the displaced, 2 roads badly in need of
improvement were Lichfield Street which was only 23 feet wide and ended
at Princes Square, there being no direct route through to the Stations
and Horse Fair (Wulfruna Street) which was 26 feet wide. In 1883 the
first shops in the New Lichfield Street were opened and building was
completed when the Grand Theatre came into use in December 1894". (Mason
The Grand Theatre was built in 1893-94 and designed by J. Phipps. It is
Grade II listed with a blue plaque. The building was built by Gough and
is finished in red brick and stone. The facade has three storeys and an
attic with a slightly projecting 2 bay wing at either side. The windows
are linked one above the other in a common surround the uppers having
iron guards and those on the first floor having baluster panels, a
continuous moulded head and still bands. The 2 storey central part has a
loggia of 5 semicircular arches springing from square pilasters which
are linked by balustrades and a range of 5 windows set back at rear of
loggia. There are modillion eaves with a cornice surmounted at each side
by a mansard attic storey with pedimented dormer and open balustrade in
the centre. In 1998 the theatre underwent a 10 month refurbishment which
cost £8,000,000 pounds. Many improvements were made including an
enlarged foyer and replica 19th century doors were added. The
arches were glazed.
The theatre was built by a group headed by the Mayor C. T. Mander “Seating 2,500 the Theatre opened to a performance of Utopia Limited by the D'Oyly Carte Company in December l894. Private boxes cost a guinea and the Gallery 6d” (Mason p94).
Lloyd George visited Wolverhampton in November 1918 “came to receive the Freedom of the Borough and to deliver in the Grand Theatre the speech which contained the phrase "a country fit for heroes to live in” (Mason p119).
33. Continue to the Old Post Office, now a part of the University. The late 19th century building is Grade II listed and carries a blue plaque. It has a facade in the eclectic style, built of red brick with yellow terracotta dressings. There are 2 storeys and an attic and a projected gabled bay at either side and in the centre with mullioned and transomed windows in terra surrounds with Ionic pilasters at the sides. There are unmoulded sill bands and a cornice on the first floor with terra bands and elaborate coped gabled and semi-circular headed windows, topped by pediments. While the central bay is surmounted by an entablature and segmental pediment the central doorway has a porch, flanked by corinthianesque pilasters and surrounded by an entablature and a modillion eaves cornice with balustrading and urn frontals.
34. Continue to Princes Square and look at the Royal London Building. It was built in 1900 to 1902 and designed by Essex, Nicol and Goodman, and is Grade II listed. It is finished in English Baroque style and finished in Ashlar. There are 3 and 4 storeys with attics. It is a building with a continuous facade on three sides, the central portion built on the curve facing Princess Square. A range of bay windows is tiered over the first and second storeys with semi-circular arched doorways with pilasters at the side and on the third storey. A 3 windowed pavilion with urn topped balustrade is above the cornice and is surmounted by an elaborate cupola and plain frieze. There is a 6 windowed storey with parapet urn, finials and central gable with 2 windows. To the right of this are two light stone dormers with pilaster sides and segmental pediments.
35. Continue along Lichfield Street to the Art Gallery. It was designed by Julius Alfred Chatwin of Birmingham, built in 1883 – 85 and is Grade II listed. Finished in an Italianate style with ashlar, it has 2 storeys and a basement. The first storey contains the galleries and is without windows and has sculptured relief panels by Boulton of Cheltenham. The ground storey is rusticated with 6 windows in moulded architraves with segmental heads. The doorway has steps up to the portico with Tuscan columns of red granite, triglyph frieze, modillion cornice and balustrade and on the first storey a Venetian window flanked by coupled ionic columns, which are repeated at the sides. The whole is surmounted by an entablature and pediment, and a modillion eaves cornice. The balustrade side facing St. Peter's churchyard is of similar character.
36. Retrace your steps to the Royal London Building, cross Lichfield Street to enter Princess Street and walk to King Street on the right. Go to number 14, the Old Still Public House. This has been a public house since l836 and was owned by Jacob James Tate, a Scottish spirit merchant, whose daughter Maggie Teyte (1886-1976) became a world famous soprano opera singer and is commemorated by a plaque in Exchange Street where she was born.
37. Proceed to numbers 25 and 25a on the other side. The mid to late 18th century building is Grade II listed and is finished in red brick with 3 storeys, sash windows with keyblocks and channelled lintels. It has a moulded stone doorcase with a pulvinated frieze cornice and plain rectangular moulded stone eaves and cornice parapet.
Proceed a little further along King Street and look at the buildings on
the North side. The street has been recently restored and some of
the buildings date from the early 19th century and others
probably from the 18th century. They are finished in red
brick and have sash windows, some with segmental brick arches. Number 2
was formerly Madame Clarke's public house.
This is the end of the Walk, I hope you enjoyed it. The walk has finished within 100 yards of the start. You can now retrace your steps to the railway station, bus station or Mander Centre car park. All of which are just a few minutes walk away.