Towards the Present

The recent history of Pendeford started in the mid 1970's when work was begun on the new housing development on the site of Barnhurst Farm.  Wolverhampton Borough Council was to develop the Dovecotes side with land on the former airport being developed by the council and private builders.

A feature of the development was to be a traffic-free spine of pedestrian walkways and cycleways linking schools, open spaces and the two centres.  It was anticipated that the development would be largely completed by 1985.

Open air church services were held at the Dovecote for residents of the new estate until, in 1979, monthly services started in Dovecotes Infants School which had opened the previous year.  Later, services were held in the Community Centre.  Dovecotes Junior School was built in 1979.

1981 saw the opening of St. Paul's School and Priory Green Infants, together with Pendeford Library, on a site behind the large Safeway store.  Priory Green Junior School opened in 1984.

St. Paul's Church Centre was established in the school in 1981.  The font in the Chapel is a link with Norman times.  Having been moved from St. Michael's in Tettenhall, it was placed in the new chapel in 1982.  A porch, cross and bell were added in 1989.

Although as already mentioned, Pendeford had no ale houses in the seventeenth century, today it has the Pendulum and the Dovecote.

The M54 motorway was built across the north of Pendeford between 1980 and 1983 and the lane to Coven was re-aligned south of the motorway.

The dovecote.

Several other facilities have been developed in recent years. Almar Court, a home for the elderly is named after the Domesday tenant of Pendeford. The Mirage Centre youth club was built on Autherley Green by Ryhope Walk and Cresswell Court, a large complex for the elderly, named after the family who owned Barnhurst farm in the seventeenth century,  rose at the junction of The Droveway and Blaydon road, both in the early 1990's.

Several other names in the area hark back to its past.  The roads in Dovecotes recall the agricultural history of the area while Dowty Way reflects present local industry.  Clewley Drive is named after a nearby farm which stood across the Wobaston Road, at the end of the stony track leading from the roundabout, and Nelson Mandela House puts Pendeford firmly onto the world stage.  

As the area has grown up over the past quarter of a century, it has not been free of controversy.  The naming of the Old Peoples' Home, at a time when the former South African President was still a political prisoner, caused some comment.  The Mirage Youth Centre was not welcomed by all while the greatest row, over the proposed Western Orbital Motorway link,  which would have scythed through the edge of the area, seems to have been finally been laid to rest though who is to say that it might not raise its head again in another guise in the future?

On the edge of Pendeford two developments are still going on, aimed at attracting jobs and investment to the area.  Work started on the Pendeford Business Park early in 1988 with the demolition of the hutted camp and the provision of infrastructure for the Park.  Several firms have been attracted to this new site, most noticeably Birmingham Midshires Building Society which employs about 250 people.  The offices, adorned with water features and a modern sculpture, The Champions, by Clare Biggar, were opened in December, 1995.

Another recent venture is the Balliol Business Park,  built on land behind the Dowty Aerospace works and named after Boulton Paul's post war trainer aircraft.

The area between the business parks is now designated as  Pendeford Wood and is being developed as a nature reserve with paths and information boards.  Bluebell Wood, on the corner of Wobaston Road and Lawn Lane is now part of the Black Country Urban Forest.

Much of Pendeford is now a pleasant mixture of residential development and open spaces.

And what of Pendeford Future?  Will the Western Orbital Motorway scheme be revived?  Will more housing and business parks be developed to extend to the M54?  Will the South Staffordshire Community Forest meet up with the Black Country Urban Forest and bring another massive forest to Pendeford's border so that history will repeat itself?

That's for the historians of the future to report on!

The original account was published to coincide with Pendeford's Eighteenth Birthday Party.  Any further contributions which may shed more light on Pendeford's Past will be welcomed at the Library or by members of the Pendeford Local History Group.  This ad hoc group also welcomes anyone with an interest in any aspect of Pendeford past.

First Edition produced in May, 1996.
Pendeford Local History Group,
Phil Clayton
Ken Oliver

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