Wolverhampton's Listed Buildings

Bantock House Museum, 
outbuildings and Bantock Park
Finchfield Road

Front elevation.

Listing: 1730s with front range of 1820s and alterations of 1890s.

Local listing:  gardens and associated parkland surrounding Bantock House

Plaque: Alderman A. B. Bantock, J.P., 1862-1938. Mayor 1905-6-7 and 1914-15, bequeathed Bantock (Merridale) House to the Citizens of Wolverhampton. Opened 22nd April 1948. "He lived here and loved this place". [Note that, technically, Wolverhampton, not then being a city, had no citizens but had burgesses or townspeople.  In 2001 Wolverhampton was designated as a city and thus caught up with the plaque].

Literature: Bantock House - Building Analysis and Archaeological Recording. Report by Northamptonshire Archaeology to Wolverhampton MBC, March 1999.

Comment: This page contains short notes on the history of the house.  More detailed information can be found in two linked articles by Peter Hickman, Marion Dance and Gillian Webb:

The History of Bantock House

The People of Bantock House

and the more recent history of the development of the site, and an account of its present use, are at:

Bantock House and Park:  Now and Then

A short history of the house and park

The house was apparently built as a farmhouse, then known as New Merridale Farm, sometime between 1734 and 1788. The earliest parts appear to be what is now the rear of the house, the barn  and the stables. The architect is not known. The frontage in the picture above may be between 1834 and 1843, remodelled in 1889 and 1902.

The house, and the triangle of land bordered by Finchfield Road, Broad Lane and Bradmore Road, was sold to a transport company owner, Thomas Bantock, in 1867.

 It was occupied as a family residence by Thomas and Mary Bantock, their son and seven daughters.

Thomas died in 1895, leaving the property to his son, Albert Baldwin Bantock, who made extensive alterations to the building and the gardens.

The Ordnance Survey map of 1901 shows the house as Merridale House; and the whole triangular site split between the house and gardens area to the east and five fields (in standard 5 or 10 acre sizes) to the west; presumably they were still farmed. The farming was probably of a gentlemanly sort, the fields being occupied by Highland cattle, which were more decorative than useful.  The nearby Highland Road commemorates these animals.  The map also shows Old Merridale Farm in Merridale Lane. This is a very much older building, possibly the oldest in Wolverhampton. There may have been some kind of direct relationship between the two buildings.

Alderman Bantock left the house and its grounds to the Borough, on his death, childless, in 1938. It was taken over by the military in 1939 and then opened as a museum (and branch library) in 1948. The museum contained a good display of dolls and a very important collection of japanned and enamel ware. The fields became a park, with a pitch and putt course as well as football and cricket pitches.  These uses continue and have been much developed in recent years.

The Friends of Bantock House Museum and Park (registered charity 1065808) consists of volunteers who support the museum and park. You can get membership details from: Gordon Hollingsworth, 39 Castlecroft Road, Wolverhampton, WV3 8BS.