Although housing was well established on the east side, it was mostly nurseries and gardens at the lower half of North Street.Now notice the line of the wall marked as “Jack’s spot” on this map, which was seen in 1870 as a ten foot wall that backed the lower yard of the terraced house in North Street.
This is my youngest grandson Jack Howe standing in front of the wall. It still stands at around 5ft high today in 2009 the foreground now filled with a grassy slope down to street level. In the background, situated behind the Feathers pub today stands the College of Art, built in the late 1960’s on this ancient area which once backed on to the Deanery hence the name Deanery Row.
During the 1840s and 50s when England offered a lifeline to those facing starvation at home as the result of the terrible Irish Potato famine; Wolverhampton saw a great influx of Irish Families. Many ended up in this area bounded by Stafford Street and North Street. One such Irishman was Patrick Egan, my Grandmothers Grandfather. He never spoke a word of English and died a short while after arriving in Wolverhampton. His son Michael Egan, raised a large family in Lawyers Field which adjoined Deanery Row. My grandmother Catherine (Kate Egan) was their eighth child, she was born there in 1884.
My grandfather John Howe’s family originated from the Walsall Street area. He met Kate Egan through her brother, whom he had served with in South Africa during the Boar War. Although Catherine was Catholic, they married at St Georges Church which was Anglican. They decided to live close to her mother in Lawyers field, and later as their family increased in size decided to move to a larger house close by, again just off the Londes at No 26 Nursery Street. No. 26 was the end house in the street and it overlooked four smaller one bedroom houses in the Londes, and the rear of the Colonel Vernon public house.