Images of Wolverhampton from Old Postcards
by Bev Parker

Old postcards often include interesting views of areas that are long gone or have changed considerably, and so are a source of useful information. I have selected a number of interesting views of different areas of the City, some of which have changed considerably and others which have hardly changed at all.

The first photograph shows the opening of  St. Peter's west front gardens by the Mayor, Councillor A. B. Bantock on 13th June, 1907. The gardens on the right were the site of the Exchange Building that was demolished in 1898 and are now the site of Wolverhampton's war memorial, which was paid for by public subscription and unveiled on November 2nd, 1922 by Admiral Sir Doveton Sturdee, Bart.

This fine view of Queen Square includes the Empire Palace of Varieties on the extreme left. It opened in 1898 and became the Hippodrome on February 21st, 1921. The building was demolished after a disastrous fire on 6th February, 1956. Opposite is the ornate Queen's Arcade that sadly disappeared as part of the Mander Centre development.

Another view of Queen Square showing a tram, possibly returning from Tettenhall. The trams used the surface-contact Lorain system that avoided unsightly overhead wires. The first electrically powered trams ran in 1902 and replaced the old horse-drawn single deck trams that first ran to Newbridge in 1878.

A final view of Queen Square showing the traffic island that used to be at the eastern end. The photograph was taken before the Mander Centre redevelopment in the late 1960s and the view is cluttered by the overhead trolley bus wires.

Princes Square sometime before 1923 with a tram on its way to Victoria Square. On the right is the Criterion public house and on the left the London & North Western Railway booking and parcels office.
A fine view of the top of Dudley Street looking towards Queen Square and Lich Gates. The pub with the elliptical sign in the centre is the Bodega and to its left is an unnamed Atkinson's pub. On the extreme left are tea rooms.

This section of Dudley Street was originally part of High Green.

A busy summer's market day in the old market square. The scene is from around the turn of the twentieth century because it is after the demolition of the Exchange Building in 1898 and before the opening of St. Peter's west front gardens in 1907. On the right is the retail market that opened in 1853 and remained in use until the modern market building on the corner of School Street and Salop Street opened in June 1960.

A view of the western end of Chapel Ash in the early years of the 20th century, some time between 1902 and 1908 when the card was posted. In the centre is a tram on its way to Tettenhall and on the left in front of the Georgian house is the old cab drivers shelter and public toilets. The scene has changed very little and looks much the same today.

Another view of Chapel Ash looking in the opposite direction, possibly from the 1960s. On the left behind the shops is the chimney that's part of Wolverhampton and Dudley Breweries' Park Brewery and on the right is the spire of St. Mark's Church. The scene has changed little apart from the trolley bus wires and the absence of the ring road and traffic island in the distance.

North Street looking towards the old Town Hall that was built in 1869 to 1871. On the extreme right is part of the Empire Palace of Varieties and next door on the corner is Baker's flower shop. The western side of the street is much the same today, only the shop fronts have changed.

A 1960s view of Victoria Street. On the right is John Street and on the corner is the half-timbered building known as Lindy Lou's. In the distance is the Star and Garter hotel, the outline of the Queen's Arcade building and the Times Furnishing store in Queen Square.

A fine view across the lake in West Park looking towards the town centre showing the old bandstand. The view includes the Royal London Building and so dates from between 1902 and 1906 when the card was posted. To the right of the church is the old Town Hall and behind it is the chimney of Manders' paint works in John Street. In the distance on the left is the Molineux Hotel clock tower.

A fine photograph of the West Park conservatory taken some time before 1907. The conservatory was built in 1896 at a cost of £1,500 that came from the proceeds of the town's 1893 Floral Fete and designed by Thomas Mawson and his architect partner Dan Gibson. It is the only surviving example of a Victorian park conservatory in the Black Country.

A fine view of St. Mark's Church from St. Mark's Road. It was a Commissioners' Church, built under the Church Building Act of 1818 by C.W. Orford and completed in 1849 at a cost of £4,850. Next door is a fine vicarage, erected at a cost of £2,000 in 1875. The church's future was in doubt for some time until its conversion to offices in 1990.

A view of Chapel Ash looking towards Tettenhall Road. On the right is Hortons (Chapel Ash) Limited, drapers shop. It was once a very popular shopping area, particularly before the redevelopment of St Mark's Road, Great Brickkiln Street and the surrounding area.

Looking down Windmill Lane towards Wightwick canal bridge. On the skyline is Wightwick Manor and on the opposite side of the Bridgnorth Road is the Mermaid public house. The photograph was taken some time before 1900 when the coach house and cottages alongside the Mermaid were demolished.

The Penn convalescent home opened in 1873 when Harriet Sparrow admitted children from the Wolverhampton and Staffordshire General Hospital. In 1885 she presented the home to the hospital and it became known as St. Catherine’s Convalescent Home. A committee of ladies were appointed to supervise the home which soon outgrew the building and larger premises were purchased. The new home, called 'The Beeches' opened in 1935.

The Beeches at Penn, The Royal Hospital Convalescent Home. Although initially a convalescent home it was converted to a 30 bed children's hospital during the Second World War. The building included a classroom with 2 school teachers to ensure that the children's educational needs were met. After being closed for many years the building is now a training centre for psychiatric staff.

Tettenhall Road with Paget Road and the Halfway House pub on the right. Only a few changes have taken place since the photograph was taken. The tram lines have disappeared and modern traffic lights and street lighting are now dominant features. Very little traffic can be seen on the Tettenhall Road, which of course today is extremely busy. The Halfway House is so called because it is halfway between London and Holyhead.

Another view of the Halfway House from across Tettenhall Road. Apart from the tram the road is deserted, something that wouldn't be seen in today's busy world. The tram appears to be electrically powered and so the photograph was taken sometime after 1902 when the service commenced and before 1908 when the card was posted.

A final view of the Tettenhall Road looking towards St. Jude's Church. The tram, number 27, carries an advert for Allen's Pianos in Queen Street. Other than the two trams the road is dominated by horse-drawn vehicles.

Another view of Tettenhall Road from about the same time. Behind the tram is the south eastern entrance to Balfour Crescent.

Lower Green, Tettenhall and St. Michael's Church. In the centre is the Mitre Inn that sold Butlers Ales and to the left is the White House, thought to date from 1820, but possibly earlier. St. Michael's Church was badly damaged by fire in 1950 and subsequently rebuilt.

The Junction of Wrottesley Road and Wergs Road at Tettenhall. The building in the centre is the tram shelter that came from West Park after the 1902 Art and Industrial Exhibition. It remained in use until the 1970s. A Lorain tram can be seen approaching the terminus with several people waiting to board. On the right is the Victorian drinking fountain from 1890 that was moved away from the road and restored several years ago.

Upper Green, Tettenhall. In the distance is the memorial tower and clock that was built in 1911 to commemorate the coronation of King George V. Mr. and Mrs. Edward Swindley of the Cedars, Tettenhall presented the clock to the Urban District of Tettenhall on 22nd June 1911.

Tettenhall Towers was built in 1763 for Thomas Pearson and the two polygonal towers, after which the building is named were added in 1866. It is remembered as the home of Colonel Thorneycroft who became the tenant in 1851 and purchased the property in 1854. By 1880 he had added a private theatre seating 500 people, featuring special effects including a giant 44ft. cascade of water. The buildings became part of Tettenhall College.

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