“Hello Billy, I found your email address on your blog – which I stumbled across by accident. I moved from Wolverhampton more than thirty years ago but often look at the City websites to keep up-to-date.
For many years, I have been trying to find someone with knowledge of the Stafford Street area of Wolverhampton.
For some years I have been trying to find the history of a piece of ground in (Lower ?) Stafford Street, which was used as a football pitch/recreation ground.
It lay between Stafford Street and North Street and in the 1940s, I’m sure I can remember seeing air-raid shelters on it.
I should be so grateful if you can tell me anything about it. My father was born in that area in 1905 and when his father died in 1918 they were living I believe at N0.4 Boscobel Place.
Now there’s a name to conjure up a little bit of Wolverhampton History. Many an old Wuffler with an historic appetite will gather this once small ancient court off Lower Stafford Street inherited its name from that famous house just 3 miles distant from Codsall.
The house built on the domain land of Whiteladies during the latter part of the reign of Queen Elizabeth, by John Giffard of Chillington. Its name is derived from Italian, ‘Bosco Bello’ – Fair Wood. Now as you can see this picture its descriptive name would still have been appropriate when this map of 1875 was drawn up as most of this area still mainly consisted of gardens.
Regarding the “Rec”, the ground in Question.
Yes Eileen I remember the piece of waste ground you mention quite well, it was situated between North Street and Stafford Street, bordered by Red Hill Street and Boscobel Place.
It did indeed have air-raid shelters built at the top at one time, and I remember Red Cross Street School close by also used it for sporting activities, eventually they built a clinic on the site it in the 1950’s.
1932-33 Hindes Red Book describes it as such:
Known as Red Hill Street open space. This space is now open to children after school hours from 5.00pm till dusk each day except Sunday. Two sets of See-saws and Swings were erected during 1931.
For all the ‘Old Wufflers’ who have memories to share of this bustling triangle from the Gladstone North Street and the Elephant and Castle Stafford Street, down to the ‘Five Ways’, above is a map I have drawn-up to stimulate those dormant minds.
Summerhill Lane / Windmill Bank, now Lower Stafford Street, a further little stimulation.
Early maps show Wolverhampton had two windmills quite near to the town centre, this was the site of one of them on the east side of Lower Stafford Street, and right up to the mid 20th century the name Windmill was frequently used for parts of this area.
This is a pre-war photo of Lower Stafford Street, between Beaumont Street on the right and Bonemill Lane, on the left.
It shows the entrance to Stafford Street Congregational Church, with the Clinic and Assembly rooms next door partly concealed by the run-down properties that adjoined it .
One of my earliest memories is of a visit here aged three during the war with my mother to be immunised. It must have worked because almost seven decades later I am still here. Thank God!