Stafford Street – This Was My Playground

Query Corner

Query Corner

Working on my blog Lost Wolverhampton is without a doubt a labour of love, and when I receive an enquiry such as the one from Christine it certainly puts the icing on the cake.

She emails:

“Billy do you remember the lodging house on Stafford Street and Herbert Street? It was run by my gran Mrs Hayward. She had two children Rosie and Jimmy, my mom Rosie recalls a Doreen Howe is this your aunt?”

Well firstly Christine, yes Doreen Howe is my aunt. She is still alive and well and living in Burland Avenue, Claregate. As for the lodging house I remember it well and I have marked it here on a map I have drawn of Stafford Street.

My map of Stafford Street circa 1950

My map of Stafford Street circa 1950

Herbert Street and it surrounding area has a history too large to be included here. Its goods yard included Victoria Basin, the largest railway canal interchange in the area opening in 1851, anyway that’s another story.

So for today lets just have a walk along the Herbert Street I once knew and stir the memories of the ones who remember the area around Faulkland Patch in the days after the war, and provoke the imagination of those such as Christine, who may not.

155 Stafford Street - Herbert Street Lodging House circa 1950

155 Stafford Street – Herbert Street Lodging House circa 1950

This is view of Herbert Street in the mid 1950’s, a mishmash of 19th century Housing about to come down now along the east side of Stafford Street.

Stafford Street down to Great Western Street

As I recall not many of the houses had electricity most still relied on Gas mantles, but the majority had the benefit of radio, with the service at that time from Rediffusion.

This large imposing Victorian residence is the Lodging House, recalled by Christine on the top left corner of Herbert Street and Stafford Street. One of the few surviving houses that were scattered around the parish of St Marys catering for itinerant Irish Catholic workers.

I remember with great affection, Mrs Hayward the lady who managed the lodging house who resided there with daughter Rosie and son Jimmy, a nicer family you couldn’t wish to meet.

Herbert Street at one time had houses on both sides of the Street, but here in the 1950’s only the left side has survived. Now these few houses down to where it joined Great Western Street have yards at the rear, which still back on to the old Russells Brewery.

Russells Brewery whose former main entrance was in great Western Street closed in the 1930’s and the business taken over by William Butler’s and production absorbed into their Springfield Brewery, in Grimstone Street.

Great Western Street Goods Yard Wall as seen today in 2009

Great Western Street Goods Yard Wall as seen today in 2009

At the bottom of Herbert Street on the on the east side of the adjoining Great Western Street, was an eight foot high Wall, with a sixteen foot drop on the other side. This wall ran the whole length of Great Western Street and backed on to the Great Western Railway Goods Station and Yard. This yard now belongs to Carvers Builders Merchants.

Looking from the goods yard wall, towards Stafford Street circa 1950

Looking from the goods yard wall, towards Stafford Street circa 1950

On the south side of Herbert Street there were many Victorian dwellings, including the Great Western Inn, that housed at least four dozen families for many years.

They were demolished around 1929, along with old Faulkland Street and its many courts The few Council Houses in the now modern Faulkland Crescent, replaced them leaving an area of waste ground in front which is now ‘Faulkland Street Coach Station’.

Harriets shop circa 1950

Harriets shop circa 1950

Looking across the waste ground from Herbert Street at the demise of the remainder of Faulkland Street in the mid 1950’s, we can see Harriet Edwards grocers and the adjoining property on the corner of St Mary’s Crescent, the two lone survivors from the Victorian era.

Over the next fifteen years, Stafford Street will be made ready for the arrival of the Ring Road and for the Wolverhampton University redevelopment. This created several plots of waste ground scattered around the area, which Pat Collins took the opportunity to use as sites to host his annual Fairground attractions.

Saint Joseph's Senior School Wolverhampton Football Champions 1953

Saint Joseph’s Senior School Wolverhampton Football Champions 1953

Now this one is just for you Christine, your late Uncle and my good friend Jimmy. He was twelve months younger than me and we both went to St Josephs Catholic Senior School. We continued to be the best of friends until I went to do my National Service, after which we unfortunately lost contact, a consequence I have regretted to this day.

Jimmy Playing for Wolverhampton Boys

Jimmy Playing for Wolverhampton Boys

Everyone I knew had nothing but admiration for Jim, he excelled at everything he did. Football was just one of the many sports he received the highest honors for. He was Captain of the School team and also Wolverhampton boys in the 1950’s and was no mean swimmer at that time too.

Herbert Street 2009

Herbert Street 2009

At the top of Herbert Street what was once Attwoods Garage is now Kwikfit, and what was once the lodging house site is now the Maltings.

I hope looking at these pictures triggers a few happy memories for you Christine.

  14 comments for “Stafford Street – This Was My Playground

  1. April 10, 2010 at 9:36 pm

    Hi Chris The Public House at the top of Lawyers Field ,adjoining Middle Row, was “The Prince of Wales Inn” it later became a lodging house and was demolited in the late 1950’s . Please keep in touch

  2. October 28, 2010 at 9:16 pm

    Recall Pearks dairies located in Queen St now Bingo& amusement venue . One of early small Supermarkets of the day in early 1960.

    Back of the shop was a Chropodist Mrs Train also a printers.

    Cheese was prepared down the celler tasted lovely not what you buy now.

    Happy times working there hard work was expected from you, Mr Tustin who was the manager was very strict,

    Have spoken to two lovely people who worked there put sadly passed away .Met my husband of 42 years there does any one recall memories from shop .

    • November 1, 2010 at 9:55 am

      Hi Marion
      I remember well. the branch of “Pearks” grocers, at 13 Queen Street as it adjoined the old “Talbot Inn” and Princess Street .
      I recall in the early 1960’s you could get all the weeks basic needs (teas, Sugar, Butter,washing powder etc… for £3
      Please join the forum and perhaps with your knowledge and my own we will be able to paint a picture of how drastically that little area has changed since the late 1950’s, and at the sme tome stir a few memories.

  3. April 18, 2011 at 5:47 pm

    bill do you remember the dan o connell the limerick and warwick pubs

  4. Emmie
    September 14, 2011 at 7:27 pm

    I was brought up in Whitemore Reans for the first 14 years of my life but had an aunt in Birchfield street and other family in Charles Street and St Mary’s terrace. As I was born in the early 1950s I only barely remember some of the old houses on Stafford street, Lower Stafford Street and Noth road/North Streeet, but I do remember them. Many were derelict when I was a child, as was parts of old Heath Town where my grandparents lived, but it still made a great play area for a bunch of nosey kids in the school holidays. The slightly bettter homes in these areas weren’t demolished until the 60s when they knocked down our old house in Whitmore Reans and moved us to Northwood Park.
    Birchfield Street, nursery street, Dawson Street and all the others didn’t disappear til the 70s when they built ASDA and extended the football ground.
    These little pictures and stories bring a lot of memories back for me. Shame it’s all gone now. I know some of the slums were awful and needed to be demolished, but many could surely have been done up and extended and could have made good sturdy homes at far less cost than building new social housing. So many communities have been lost.
    Ah well.
    Thank you.
    Emmie Benbow

  5. Bev Martin
    April 17, 2012 at 1:58 pm

    What a gem of a site you have here!

    I’m tracing a relative called Lydia Hathaway who married a Joseph Lovesey. I have found them in the 1871 Census living in St Mary’s Parish of Wolverhampton but I cannot read the actual address. The Census goes from 25 Lower Stafford Street to their address and then back to 26/27 Lower Stafford Street. With your knowledge of the area (although I appreciate it wasn’t of that time!) would you have any idea what the address would be? My best guess is Ombus or Ambus Yard, but it has something in front of it as well which could be CofE? Its definitely a ‘yard’ of some sort but with 57 people living there I can’t imagine what sort of yard it would be.

    Any help would be greatly appreciate and once again thank you for putting so much effort into a wonderful site. I’ve had a lovely morning reading through it all, even though my family tree are all Oxfordshire and Norfolk with the exception of Lydia!

  6. Nichola Pearce
    June 14, 2016 at 5:40 pm

    What a fantastic site! I’m researching my grandfather’s tree at the moment and already hit some stumbling blocks. According to his birth certificate he was born at 94 Lower Stafford Street in 1917. If anyone has any photographs of it.. I know it’s a long shot… but please post a follow up comment. His name was George Roland Bratton… just in case anyone has any photos of him… in which case I would absolutely love you forever because noone in my family has one of him. Many thanks.

  7. June 15, 2016 at 8:21 am

    Hello Nichola. Nice to here from you let us know a little more about yourself – Bratton is not an uncommon name for me in that area, are you familiar with any relations of the Bratton’s living off the Cannock Road . at that time.
    Join our forum – If you find that difficult join our Lost Wolverhampton Group on Facebook. I think you will find them beneficial for you.

    • Nichola Pearce
      June 17, 2016 at 12:45 am

      Hi Billy
      I did try to sign up but it wouldn’t let me set a password and kept asking for one. I’ll check out the Facebook page instead. I’m not actually sure where cannock road is. I have lots of addresses where they lived. My grandfather was living in Sherbourne road when he died.

  8. Barbara Handley
    June 18, 2016 at 7:19 pm

    My maternal grandmother lived at 123 Lower Stafford St when she started at Red Cross Street School in 1881. Both gone now of course.

  9. June 19, 2016 at 8:47 am

    Hello Barbara – Practically a brand new school when your grandmother started and it really meant something then When before setting of across Stafford Street Your great grandparents would say “Keep out the hoss road”.
    I will post some thing on the forum for you Barbara.

    • Barbara Handley
      June 19, 2016 at 9:10 am

      Thank you that is lovely to know. Sadly she was killed by a brewery lorry on the Stafford Road by the Three Tuns in 1926. She was Sarah Elizabeth Handley nee Briggs and was born in Bagnall Street and baptised at St Mary’s. My father attended Stafford St Congregational Church before moving on to Darlington St church.

  10. June 19, 2016 at 6:03 pm

    Please keep in touch Barbara either on our forum here, or perhaps on our facebook group Lost Wolverhampton. I am sure many members will recall the places you mentioned : The Three tuns, St Mary’s Church, the Congregational by Bone Mill Lane and of course Darlington Street Methodist church.

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