Things to see and do

There were books to be borrowed from the public library in Walsall Street, or from the mobile library, which served the outlying parts of the borough.

At the time, the library had a separate children’s section, a reference library, a gramophone record library, and a reading room with a wide range of newspapers and periodicals.

The Public Library.

The two public parks, Brunswick Park, and King’s Hill Park were well used. A major event in Brunswick Park was the Horticultural Show, held annually by the Wednesbury Horticultural Society. At the time a large central mound in Brunswick Park was being removed to form an arena, which was to be used for all kinds of events. During the summer, band concerts were given, and the children’s paddling pool was well used, as were the tennis courts and bowling green. There were also ornamental gardens at Ethelfleda Terrace, near the Parish Church, which had opened in 1953.

The under 20s were well catered for by 17 youth clubs, and boy scouts, and girl guides associations. There were three cinemas, the Gaumont in Walsall Street, the Palace in Upper High Street, and the Rialto in Earps Lane. Wednesbury Hippodrome in Upper High Street had recently reopened with a series of plays performed by the resident repertory company.

There was also the community centre in Friar Park Road, run by the Friar Park Community Association, and the Civil Defence Corps based at Manor House Road Training Centre.

The Market Place.

There were a number of clubs in the town including the Conservative and Unionist Club in Walsall Street, the Labour Club at Church Hill, and the Rotary Club, based at the Anchor Hotel in Holyhead Road. The local branch of the British Legion met at a newly erected headquarters in Church Street, the Old Age Pensioners’ Association met in the Town Hall, and the Sons of Rest, based in Foley Street, was provided for retired men.

The Wednesbury Society of Arts, based in the Art Gallery, had four sections, the Civic Choir, the Photographic Society, the Recorded Music Society, and the Art Club. There was also a drama group, and the Wednesbury and District Choral Society, founded in 1898.


The Wednesbury Sports Union, established in 1936, coordinated the activities of the towns’ cricket, hockey, rugby, swimming, and tennis clubs, from its headquarters off Wood Green Road. The Union’s sports field was originally a plot of land owned by the Patent Shaft and Axletree Company, and given to the town in 1868 for use as a cricket ground. In 1875 it became the home of the Wednesbury Cricket Club. In 1953 a new car park opened on Wood Green Road, and a new pavilion opened in the early 1960s.

There were ladies’ and gentlemen’s tennis and hockey clubs, a badminton club, and a boxing club. The two latter clubs played at the public baths in Walsall Street.

The swimming club was a member of the Birmingham and District Water Polo League, which had been founded in 1895.

Football was extremely popular in the town. The Wednesbury Football Charity Association provided three trophies for annual competitions between local clubs, and schools.

They were the Senior Cup, the Junior Charity Cup, and the Schools Charity Shield. Many local clubs competed in the Wednesbury and District Football League.

Hydes Road Playing Fields.

Cycling was well catered for by the Wednesbury Velo Cub, which was affiliated to the British League of Racing Cyclists. It was formed in the 1940s by fans of the late Wolverhampton cyclist Percy Stallard. The club had a rule book, which had to be strictly adhered to. Anyone disobeying a rule would receive a fine.

Several of the larger companies had football teams, athletics clubs, and social clubs, and there were several bowling clubs and greens in the town.

By the late 1950s the Borough Council had reclaimed nearly 40 acres of derelict land near Hydes Road for use as playing fields. The project started in 1939 thanks to some financial assistance from the National Playing Fields Association. At the time there were 4 association football pitches, a rugby pitch, 2 cricket grounds, a children’s playground, a well appointed pavilion with facilities for players and spectators, and a bungalow for the groundsman. Work had begun on preparing land for 2 tennis courts. Around 68 trees had been planted around the perimeter of the playing fields thanks to donations from local schools. There were other playing fields at Bilston Road, and Woden Road North.

Places of Worship

Church-goers were well catered-for in the town. There was the parish church of St. Bartholomew, and ecclesiastical parishes based at St. John’s Church, St. James’ Church, and All Saints Church at Moxley. There was also St. Paul’s Church in Wood Green, St. Andrew’s Mission Church at King’s Hill, and St. Luke’s Mission Church in Mesty Croft.

St. John's Church, and the newly built Lloyds Bank.

Catholic worshipers could attend St. Mary’s Roman Catholic Church on Church Hill, and Methodists could attend Spring Head Mission Church, and churches in Ridding Lane, Elwell Street, Vicar Street, and King’s Hill.

Baptists could attend the Baptist Church in Holyhead Road, and Salvationists could attend the Salvation Army barracks in Upper High Street, and Crankhall Lane.

There was much to see and do. There were many pubs, and several restaurants, including the Wadsworth Restaurant, the Central Café in Lower High Street, and The Anchor Hotel in Holyhead Road.

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