Stafford Street – This Was My Playground

Query Corner

Query Corner

Working on my blog Lost Wolverhampton is without a doubt a labour of love, and when I receive an enquiry such as the one from Christine it certainly puts the icing on the cake.

She emails:

“Billy do you remember the lodging house on Stafford Street and Herbert Street? It was run by my gran Mrs Hayward. She had two children Rosie and Jimmy, my mom Rosie recalls a Doreen Howe is this your aunt?”

Well firstly Christine, yes Doreen Howe is my aunt. She is still alive and well and living in Burland Avenue, Claregate. As for the lodging house I remember it well and I have marked it here on a map I have drawn of Stafford Street.

My map of Stafford Street circa 1950
My map of Stafford Street circa 1950

Herbert Street and it surrounding area has a history too large to be included here. Its goods yard included Victoria Basin, the largest railway canal interchange in the area opening in 1851, anyway that’s another story.

So for today lets just have a walk along the Herbert Street I once knew and stir the memories of the ones who remember the area around Faulkland Patch in the days after the war, and provoke the imagination of those such as Christine, who may not.

155 Stafford Street - Herbert Street Lodging House circa 1950
155 Stafford Street – Herbert Street Lodging House circa 1950

This is view of Herbert Street in the mid 1950’s, a mishmash of 19th century Housing about to come down now along the east side of Stafford Street.

Stafford Street down to Great Western Street

As I recall not many of the houses had electricity most still relied on Gas mantles, but the majority had the benefit of radio, with the service at that time from Rediffusion.

This large imposing Victorian residence is the Lodging House, recalled by Christine on the top left corner of Herbert Street and Stafford Street. One of the few surviving houses that were scattered around the parish of St Marys catering for itinerant Irish Catholic workers.

I remember with great affection, Mrs Hayward the lady who managed the lodging house who resided there with daughter Rosie and son Jimmy, a nicer family you couldn’t wish to meet.

Herbert Street at one time had houses on both sides of the Street, but here in the 1950’s only the left side has survived. Now these few houses down to where it joined Great Western Street have yards at the rear, which still back on to the old Russells Brewery.

Russells Brewery whose former main entrance was in great Western Street closed in the 1930’s and the business taken over by William Butler’s and production absorbed into their Springfield Brewery, in Grimstone Street.

Great Western Street Goods Yard Wall as seen today in 2009
Great Western Street Goods Yard Wall as seen today in 2009

At the bottom of Herbert Street on the on the east side of the adjoining Great Western Street, was an eight foot high Wall, with a sixteen foot drop on the other side. This wall ran the whole length of Great Western Street and backed on to the Great Western Railway Goods Station and Yard. This yard now belongs to Carvers Builders Merchants.

Looking from the goods yard wall, towards Stafford Street circa 1950
Looking from the goods yard wall, towards Stafford Street circa 1950

On the south side of Herbert Street there were many Victorian dwellings, including the Great Western Inn, that housed at least four dozen families for many years.

They were demolished around 1929, along with old Faulkland Street and its many courts The few Council Houses in the now modern Faulkland Crescent, replaced them leaving an area of waste ground in front which is now ‘Faulkland Street Coach Station’.

Harriets shop circa 1950
Harriets shop circa 1950

Looking across the waste ground from Herbert Street at the demise of the remainder of Faulkland Street in the mid 1950’s, we can see Harriet Edwards grocers and the adjoining property on the corner of St Mary’s Crescent, the two lone survivors from the Victorian era.

Over the next fifteen years, Stafford Street will be made ready for the arrival of the Ring Road and for the Wolverhampton University redevelopment. This created several plots of waste ground scattered around the area, which Pat Collins took the opportunity to use as sites to host his annual Fairground attractions.

Saint Joseph's Senior School Wolverhampton Football Champions 1953
Saint Joseph’s Senior School Wolverhampton Football Champions 1953

Now this one is just for you Christine, your late Uncle and my good friend Jimmy. He was twelve months younger than me and we both went to St Josephs Catholic Senior School. We continued to be the best of friends until I went to do my National Service, after which we unfortunately lost contact, a consequence I have regretted to this day.

Jimmy Playing for Wolverhampton Boys
Jimmy Playing for Wolverhampton Boys

Everyone I knew had nothing but admiration for Jim, he excelled at everything he did. Football was just one of the many sports he received the highest honors for. He was Captain of the School team and also Wolverhampton boys in the 1950’s and was no mean swimmer at that time too.

Herbert Street 2009
Herbert Street 2009

At the top of Herbert Street what was once Attwoods Garage is now Kwikfit, and what was once the lodging house site is now the Maltings.

I hope looking at these pictures triggers a few happy memories for you Christine.

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18 comments

  1. This has triggerd a few memories as I once worked at Charles Clarks
    Can you help with locating the name of a pub that was at the top of Lawyers Field and I believe burnt down I have had no luck in finding any trace of it
    Chris Burton [email protected]

  2. Hi Chris The Public House at the top of Lawyers Field ,adjoining Middle Row, was “The Prince of Wales Inn” it later became a lodging house and was demolited in the late 1950’s . Please keep in touch

  3. Recall Pearks dairies located in Queen St now Bingo& amusement venue . One of early small Supermarkets of the day in early 1960.

    Back of the shop was a Chropodist Mrs Train also a printers.

    Cheese was prepared down the celler tasted lovely not what you buy now.

    Happy times working there hard work was expected from you, Mr Tustin who was the manager was very strict,

    Have spoken to two lovely people who worked there put sadly passed away .Met my husband of 42 years there does any one recall memories from shop .

    1. Hi Marion
      I remember well. the branch of “Pearks” grocers, at 13 Queen Street as it adjoined the old “Talbot Inn” and Princess Street .
      I recall in the early 1960’s you could get all the weeks basic needs (teas, Sugar, Butter,washing powder etc… for £3
      Please join the forum and perhaps with your knowledge and my own we will be able to paint a picture of how drastically that little area has changed since the late 1950’s, and at the sme tome stir a few memories.

  4. I was brought up in Whitemore Reans for the first 14 years of my life but had an aunt in Birchfield street and other family in Charles Street and St Mary’s terrace. As I was born in the early 1950s I only barely remember some of the old houses on Stafford street, Lower Stafford Street and Noth road/North Streeet, but I do remember them. Many were derelict when I was a child, as was parts of old Heath Town where my grandparents lived, but it still made a great play area for a bunch of nosey kids in the school holidays. The slightly bettter homes in these areas weren’t demolished until the 60s when they knocked down our old house in Whitmore Reans and moved us to Northwood Park.
    Birchfield Street, nursery street, Dawson Street and all the others didn’t disappear til the 70s when they built ASDA and extended the football ground.
    These little pictures and stories bring a lot of memories back for me. Shame it’s all gone now. I know some of the slums were awful and needed to be demolished, but many could surely have been done up and extended and could have made good sturdy homes at far less cost than building new social housing. So many communities have been lost.
    Ah well.
    Thank you.
    Emmie Benbow

  5. What a gem of a site you have here!

    I’m tracing a relative called Lydia Hathaway who married a Joseph Lovesey. I have found them in the 1871 Census living in St Mary’s Parish of Wolverhampton but I cannot read the actual address. The Census goes from 25 Lower Stafford Street to their address and then back to 26/27 Lower Stafford Street. With your knowledge of the area (although I appreciate it wasn’t of that time!) would you have any idea what the address would be? My best guess is Ombus or Ambus Yard, but it has something in front of it as well which could be CofE? Its definitely a ‘yard’ of some sort but with 57 people living there I can’t imagine what sort of yard it would be.

    Any help would be greatly appreciate and once again thank you for putting so much effort into a wonderful site. I’ve had a lovely morning reading through it all, even though my family tree are all Oxfordshire and Norfolk with the exception of Lydia!

  6. What a fantastic site! I’m researching my grandfather’s tree at the moment and already hit some stumbling blocks. According to his birth certificate he was born at 94 Lower Stafford Street in 1917. If anyone has any photographs of it.. I know it’s a long shot… but please post a follow up comment. His name was George Roland Bratton… just in case anyone has any photos of him… in which case I would absolutely love you forever because noone in my family has one of him. Many thanks.

  7. Hello Nichola. Nice to here from you let us know a little more about yourself – Bratton is not an uncommon name for me in that area, are you familiar with any relations of the Bratton’s living off the Cannock Road . at that time.
    Join our forum – If you find that difficult join our Lost Wolverhampton Group on Facebook. I think you will find them beneficial for you.

    1. Hi Billy
      I did try to sign up but it wouldn’t let me set a password and kept asking for one. I’ll check out the Facebook page instead. I’m not actually sure where cannock road is. I have lots of addresses where they lived. My grandfather was living in Sherbourne road when he died.

  8. My maternal grandmother lived at 123 Lower Stafford St when she started at Red Cross Street School in 1881. Both gone now of course.

  9. Hello Barbara – Practically a brand new school when your grandmother started and it really meant something then When before setting of across Stafford Street Your great grandparents would say “Keep out the hoss road”.
    I will post some thing on the forum for you Barbara.

    1. Thank you that is lovely to know. Sadly she was killed by a brewery lorry on the Stafford Road by the Three Tuns in 1926. She was Sarah Elizabeth Handley nee Briggs and was born in Bagnall Street and baptised at St Mary’s. My father attended Stafford St Congregational Church before moving on to Darlington St church.

  10. Please keep in touch Barbara either on our forum here, or perhaps on our facebook group Lost Wolverhampton. I am sure many members will recall the places you mentioned : The Three tuns, St Mary’s Church, the Congregational by Bone Mill Lane and of course Darlington Street Methodist church.

  11. I lived in 17 and a half Herbert St until about 1953 when I was 11 and we moved to Wednesfield. I can remember some people called Jarret and others named Nuckley. there was a little shop about 2 doors away and the lady who kept it was I think named Parry, she had a grandson called Raymond Pearson who some years later had a motorcycle accident and was treated in Prestwood sanatorium.

  12. I recall some of the names you mention John, But being five years older than you the people I knew well you may not have come in contact with. Ray Ross he lived at No. 4 next to Jarrets, then there were the Farmer brothers , across the road from you on the corner of Faulkland crescent there was Brian Garner. Perhaps you may recall around 1950-51 we had a speedway track again on the patch facing your house. and as I mentioned in my blog Jimmy Hayward from the lodging house was my best friend at that time.

    1. I can remember some friends of my fathers by the name of Rowley (I think it was Sammy and Eggy) who lived on Herbert St. Across the patch by the little shop there was a little guy who always wore a cap and scarf and always seemed to be chasing his twin boys about. I remember the little chemist on Stafford st. with Corkindales the clothes shop next door.the speedway team went by the name of the Faulkland Hammers. I started school at Red Cross st. and then went to the old St. Peters by the wholesale market. when we moved to Wednesfield we were moved on the back of a coal lorry. I remember the place a couple of doors away from the lodging house on Stafford St who would take rags and bottles and give us paper in return. there was a little sweetshop over the road from Copes motorcycles and I believe their name was Hands, I think the daughter was Christine. I am sorry if I seem to be going on but the memories that are coming back whilst writing this are amazing. there was the fellow who used to get drunk and kick his cap down Stafford st, towards the Elephant and Castle, Can’t think of his name at the moment but at one time had a trial for Wolves, thanks for listening. ps the name of the coalman was Sammy Turner.

  13. Hi John
    You have certainly stirred some memories here. Harriets Shop across the patch were next door lived the twins whose dad cut their hair regularly using a basin.The chemists of course was Brodies, on the corner of Charles Street and up Stafford Street from there was Hands . Joan and Christine Hand went to Red Cross Street School with my sister Mary. Williams was the Rag & Bone Merchants next door to the Stonemasons yard. and of course the Faulkland Hammers who were greatly improved when Albert and Terry Edwards who lived in Thornley Street, brought their two specially made Phillips Speedtrack bikes. Golden days

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