Some Interesting Projects
by Bev Parker

W Hayden & Son Limited, based in Webb Street, Coseley, provide a wide range of services including demolition, earthmoving, site clearance, contaminated waste disposal and lorry and truck hire. The business was founded by William Hayden in the early 1950s and became a limited company in 1953. The firm has been involved in many local projects including the ones displayed here. The photographs are courtesy of Andy Hayden.

The demolition of buildings at Lower Walsall Street Works, Wolverhampton, in the 1980s

The site was occupied by the northern part of Shrubbery Ironworks until 1912 when it was acquired by the Briton Motor Company (1912) Limited. The old ironworks were demolished and Lower Walsall Street Works opened in 1913, for the manufacture of Briton cars. The buildings in the photographs were Briton’s body shop, paint shop and varnish shop.

In December 1921 Briton went into liquidation and the factory buildings and contents were sold at auction on 15th February, 1922. The site was purchased by A. J. Stevens & Company (1914) Limited (A.J.S.) for £7,000. In the factory, A.J.S. manufactured motorcycle sidecars, wireless receivers, car bodies, commercial vehicle chassis and coaches. On 2nd October, 1931, A.J.S. went into liquidation and on 25th January, 1932 the factory was sold to Ever Ready for £12,750. It became known as ‘Canal Works’ and was used for the manufacture of torches and torch bulbs.

The factory closed in the early 1990s and was sold to BRM Packaging Limited. It is now an industrial estate.

Stabilising Lichfield Street in Wolverhampton

In the late 1980s, the section of Lichfield Street between Princes Square and Victoria Square began to subside. The road was closed and a lot of earth had to be removed before the area was stabilised and in-filled with rubble, coarse stones and gravel.

Lichfield Street was originally a narrow street that ran from the eastern end of Queen Square to Wulfruna Street via Lichfield Passage. The street was widened, straightened and extended to Victoria Square after the older properties were demolished under the terms of the Artisan’s Dwelling Act of 1875. In the early 1880s the old half-timbered buildings disappeared and the modern street was built.

One casualty was a narrow street called New Street, that went from Princess Street, where the old post office now stands, towards the Chubb Building, ending roughly where Fryer Street is today. It was a narrow street that began beside the Blue Coat School that was on the corner of Princess Street (previously Little Berry Street), as can be seen on the map below. It is possible that no photographs or illustrations of the street itself exist, other than at its junction with Little Berry Street.

From the 1842 tithe map with modern Lichfield Street marked in red.

The street ran diagonally across modern Lichfield Street. Some of the remains of the old buildings that stood there were uncovered during the stabilising work in Lichfield Street. They can be seen in some of the photographs below.

In the background is the empty Co-op department store that had recently closed. It officially opened on Saturday 22nd August, 1931 in a new building called Unity House. Items on sale included clothing, footwear, drapery, electrical goods, furniture, confectionary, and tobacco. The store traded for over fifty years and closed on 11th July, 1987.


Demolition of St Joseph’s School in Adelaide Street, off Steelhouse Lane, Wolverhampton

The school opened in November 1868 and was extended in 1914. In 1934 it became a senior boys school and in 1945 a boys secondary modern school. In September 1971 the school combined with St Patrick’s Girls Secondary School to form St Edmund’s RC (Comprehensive) School.

Work in Goodyear's Factory

Haydens removed a line of Banbury internal mixers, which were used for mixing tyre compounds at Goodyear’s factory in Wolverhampton. They were removed in the late 1990s.

Removing Graves from St. George's Graveyard, Wolverhampton

In 1981 some of the graves in St. George's graveyard were removed in readiness for the building of Ring Road St Georges, which was built across part of the site. The remains were removed by Haydens and reburied at Bushbury Crematorium, where a plaque marking the site reads: "St. George's Churchyard November 1981. To the rear of this memorial lie the remains exhumed during the construction of the ring road". The majority of the remains in St. George's Graveyard were removed in 1986 before reburial at Heath Town, after which the Sainsbury's store and car park were built.

Demolition of part of the Vono works at Tipton

The Vono Company, which was once Tipton's largest employer, was founded in 1896. The factory, called Hope Works, was in Sedgley Road East, Dudley Port, where the Vaughan Trading Estate is today. The firm manufactured mattresses and bedstead fittings, and became Duport (derived from Dudley Port) in 1956. Duport was an industrial holding company which sold the bed making part of the business to Airsprung of Trowbridge in 1982. In the 1980s, Haydens demolished part of the factory.

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