Wolverhampton’s early libraries could only be used by people who could afford to pay a subscription, so for many people, they were unaffordable. This continued until they were free to access, after the Free Libraries Act had been adopted in the town.

In the middle of the 19th century, books were expensive and so many people could not afford them. At that time there was a great interest in learning, and an interest in technology and science. The area became prosperous because of the many factories and businesses that flourished due to the industrial revolution. A large number of people wanted to learn new skills in order to get better paid jobs, often with better working conditions. This only became possible after the opening of the free library, which also ran courses to provide all kinds of much-needed skills.


The Literary Institutions of Wolverhampton, 1794 - 1897. Joseph Jones. 1897. Alexander and Shepheard Ltd., London.

The Municipal Life of Wolverhampton. W. H. Jones. 1903. Alexander and Shepheard Ltd., London.


Joseph Jones, JP. Mar 1837 to September 1912.


William Highfield Jones, JP. Jan. 1829 to March 1903.

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