Our Tree Still Grows In North Street

Plan of the "Londes" circa 1875
Plan of the “Londes” circa 1875

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.

Jacks spot, up against the remains of the original wall 2009
Jacks spot, up against the remains of the original wall 2009

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.

Rear of the houses in Deanery Row circa 1952
Rear of the houses in Deanery Row circa 1952

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 Grandparents house, on the left above the steps circa 1960
My Grandparents house, on the left above the steps circa 1960

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.

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2 comments

  1. Hi Billy,
    Interesting site you have here, particularly as I was born in North St, just opposite The Feathers (in the late 60’s). It’s nice to see the photos and maps of the area as I can’t remember much apart from North St. Do you remember the McNally’s? They lived in Lawyers Field (later North St), and my uncle Barry was maybe a year younger than you, and also went to St Joseph’s.

    Damon

  2. Hi, Damon McNally, I’m currently looking for a Barry McNally who lived in Peacock Avenue, Wolves in the 1980s. HIs father was also Barry. Any chance you know them? He would be in his 50s now I think. I attended the Art College there between 1981-84 and got to know him then through a friend of mine. Anything you know, can you please email me, even if it seems a slim lead, My friend and I would love to get back in touch with him. I obviously have no guarantees you’ll even get this but if so, thanks.

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