Listing: 1878, later C19 top storey. By J.A.Chatwin.
Italianate style. Entablature has relief panels illustrating coal
mining, agriculture and engineering.
... of 1878 but was then only half its present size. It is of three
and a half storeys, Italianate, sparing in motifs and of high
Comment: The theory that it was only the top floor that was added
is to be preferred over Pevsner's version. A pleasant and unassertive
building, with a rather skinny porch. The new extension to the bank, on the
left of the picture above, really ought to have its own page to explain just
how awful it is.
The decorative panels on the front facade are in very deep relief and now
seem to be in need of a bit of cleaning and restoration. The detail is good
but the stocky little figures are - well, unusual.
||This panel depicts metal bashing, which is very
suitable for the area.
|This panel depicts agriculture, recognising the
enduring importance of agriculture to Wolverhampton, and vice
||The inclusion of a panel about coal mining is a
little odd as coal was not mined in the old borough,
though the town relied heavily on the output of mines.
Noszlopy and Waterhouse, Public Sculpture of
Staffordshire and the Black Country, list these panels but do
not have a sculptor. They note "large groups of stocky
figures in contemporary work clothes engaged in all aspects of
mining, farming and metalwork".
This building is on the site of the Swan which
was, until the 1870s, Wolverhampton's premier hostelry. It
was much used by ironmasters and other dealers for the
transaction of business both within and in the market square
immediately outside. It was a great favourite with
Dickens, who stayed there several times and who gave it a
flattering write up in Household Words.