In Chapel Ash – Itself Bereft

An  Empty Shell is All That’s left!

Now as you may know I don’t normally criticize or  pass comments on the ever changing scenery in Wolverhampton; my way is just to record it. But today I am changing my tack slightly and asking; is there anyone out there who can solve this puzzle for me?  For I feel at a loss to understand it, and why is this being allowed to happen?

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The Old Hopcraft Premises in Chapel Ash Today in 2010

Does someone deserve a red-card for this?

Just twenty years ago this derelict Victorian Building was home to one of Wolverhamptons most prestigious Stonecarving and Masonry Businesses, Messrs W. Hopcraft and Son, as noticed by what’s left of the sign.

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Chapel Ash Circa 1965

The Ring Road soon will be the ‘New Horizon’.

Another look at Chapel Ash to stir the memories. This picture was taken looking toward Salop Street  from above the Electric substation and  Chalet urinal in 1965. Almost at the end of  those bygone days when it was home to all manner of diverse shops and businesses surrounded by a thriving community who had no need to travel into town as every thing was on their doorstep.

One of the shops and businesses was of course Hopcrafts, squeezed in then as today between Decorarte and the Staffordshire Tyre Company. It was an old established business dating from the late 19th century here in Chapel Ash. Over the years it acquired  a special reputation for its high class products. They undertook every class of stone work from original sculpture and copying, to finished marble slabs for shop fitting, and so on.

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This was a house were many unknown, once had their proud names, carved in stone.

Besides much work for the building trade and large numbers of private memorials, Hopcraft’s of chapel Ash completed many of the most dignified war memorials in the Midlands.

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Stonecarving and Masonry – the proof is there to see!

Probably one of the best early  existing examples of their  work  dating from the beginning of the 20th century can be seen with a visit to the parish church of All Saints Sedgley, adjoining the Bull Ring. Note the brass plate at the bottom.

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The Pulpit Memoriam plate.

I called in at All Saints Church today to check on the state of the pulpit  after a century of wear and tear and took a photograph of the plaque on the base. In case you can’t read the inscription it says; “Erected to the Glory of God, and in loving memory of James Whitehouse of High Arcall by his niece Mrs Caddick of Bloomfield House. Jan 11th 1901.”

Now, I realise with the unfavourable economic climate of the present day, filling empty shop premises and maintaining them is most difficult . But surely too few examples of English domestic architecture remain now in Wolverhampton that we can afford to let many more continue to suffer this fate. Well I live in hope that  something will be done so  that this disgraceful pile will not be  the legacy left to us from this well known Wolverhampton Firm.

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  1. I have found your website by accident but I am glad that I did as it is very interesting.
    On the subject of Hopcraft this brought back memories of when My Grandmother used to be the cleaner and in 1960 I can remember going with her at six oclock in the morning when I was a little girl and finding great pleasure swiveling round in an office chair. The yard where they used to engrave the stone was a bit creepy at that age with all the tombstones.

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