June 20, 2012
The Star and Garter
No one in their right mind today, would consider demolishing this wonderful piece of 19th century enterprise built at the end of the European War in (1815) and more lavishly re-built in 1837.
But that’s exactly what a group of wealthy Wulfrunians did with the Corporations blessing.
In 1904 this famous Inn came up for sale and the following evening this article appeared in the Express and Star.
The announcement that a Wolverhampton Man whose name is not at the moment divulged, has completed the purchase of the Star and Garter, one of the oldest hostelries in the Midlands, recall many historic events with which it is associated.
Local Conservatives have cause to hold it in some affection for it was here in the year 1837 that the original Conservative Association was formed. the first president being G.B.Thornycroft who, 11 years later became the first Mayor of the borough on its incorporation.
Three years before the Tories came into being the old Floral and Horticultural Society for the County of Staffs was formed at a meeting within its hospitable walls. about this period the house was re-built, most of the landed gentry in the south of the county attending the boisterous house-warming party.
The Star and garter has a notable link with the stage, for it was there that Henry Irving was taken when taken ill playing at the Grand Theatre in the town – his last illness though he actually passed away later at Bradford.
It has also associations with Royalty, for King Charles I sojourned there on his march from Shrewsbury to London a few days prior to the sanguinary engagement at Edge Hill. At that time it was not a licensed Inn, but the private residence of Madame St Andrew, by whom His Majesty was entertained.
She was a relative of Mr Henry Gough, who, according to the local histories interviewed the King late in the evening and handed him a purse containing £1,200 towards his campaign.
The King offered a knighthood there and then to Mr Gough, and, though it was declined the honour was subsequently conferred on Mr Gough’s grandson Henry, of Perry Hall by Charles II.
The room in which the King was supposed to have slept on the second floor was known for many years as “The Kings Room”, and when a partial re-building took place in 1834, it was fitted up to represent the period of the Kings visit, with an old-fashioned canopied bed.
Victoria Street, in which the hotel is situate, was then Cock Street, and was a narrow winding thoroughfare with barns and folds and little houses adjoining some with red tiled roofs, but many thatched with straw.
The new frontage; not bad, if a little flashy. A bit like a big book with no pages. Whereas its predecessor was a classic, full of historic content. If its disappearance was written about today it would probably be entitled, “A Cock up in the former Cock street”.