Tettenhall A Place Of Wonder!

Tettenhall boasts a history second to none in Wolverhampton.

A saxon settlement , the battle with the Vikings, the Wrottersleys, and later Telfords cutting through the rock.

The Lower Green cica 1890's.
The Lower Green cica 1890’s.

Many pictures exist of Tettenhall and the lower green which was once much bigger than it is today.

Who as a child hasn’t visited this green and enjoyed a bag of crisps on the grass across from the Mitre In the 1940’s and 50’s.

Here the advert under the Mitre mews, reads Broughams, Landaus Waggonettes etc.. for hire; Special terms to Wedding and picnic parties, Teas etc…provided.

Accommodation also for cyclists. (A. R. Rowley) proprietor.

The old church provides an interesting backdrop. pictured here in this 1890’s scene.

The story.
The story.

What of the old church, What stories and Mysteries of the past could it disclose, To many for us now I would say, but here is a small extract from one of the most recent ones..

This line drawing of the new St Michaels and All Angels fronted a booklet regarding a brief history and guide of the present church and my thanks goes to the writers.

It was published on the 25th Anniverary in 1975, about circumstances of the fire which destroyed the old church in 1950.

The pictures of the event are from my Lost Wolverhampton collection.

The Old church an early Postcard.
The Old church an early Postcard.

Of the old church itself pictured here, nothing remains but the medieval tower and the nineteenth century porch.

But it should be recorded that every Sunday afternoon from the date of the fire until the consecration of the present building a service was held; at first among the ruins, and later in the restored tower, so that the continuity of worship was never broken.

A service to mark the anniversary of the fire is still held annually on the Sunday following February 2nd.

Up in Flames.
Up in Flames.

On the night of February 2nd, 1950, the church was totally gutted. The fury of the flames fanned by a gale force wind brought the whole church down in a matter of hours and the fire brigade could do little to save it.

There are several curious circumstances attaching to this incident. Each of them aggravated the effects of the fire.

The fire engine was diverted to attend with another more urgent fire at a local garage on its way to the church.

When it got there, the fire engine was unable to pass through the lych gate, although it attempted to do so, and a scar is still visible on the woodwork.

To make things even worse, the hydrant failed to produce any water; subsequent inquires revealed that this section of the water mains had been cut off since the time of the bombing in the Second World War; and water had to be brought from the canal at Newbridge this caused serious delay.

Down but not out!
Down but not out!

Ancient woodwork family tombs and memorials, the stained glass in the windows and the stone structure itself were all reduced to rubble beyond repair.

A disaster which might have seemed less severe ten years earlier was all the more poignant five years after the war was over.

Many men and women of Tettenhall by no means all of them church people, recall the tears they shed when the extent of the devastation became obvious.

This photgraph shows the Bishop of Lichfield, Dr E. S. Woods (facing the camera) with the vicar of Tettenhall, the Reverend C.W. Borrett; Mr R. P. Jenks Vicars warden, and the Reverend R. Lord, curate, (surveying the damage.)

The work begins.
The work begins.

Plans for the rebuilding began almost at once. In some ways they were fortunate; The tower survived as a physical link with the past; and funds for rebuilding were raised remarkably quickly; but the task was a daunting one.

The retention of the tower posed architectural problems ; any new building would have to remain within the spirit of late gothic styles.

The building work was undertaken by Messrs Henry Willcock & Co Ltd.

Out of the ashes.
Out of the ashes.

This the present St Michaels was designed by Mr Bernard Miller to blend in with the restored tower and porch and was consecrated in an impressive ceremony, on April 16th, 1955.

Attended by the Bishop of Lichfield, the Rt Rev. Dr. A.S.Reeve, in the presence of a vast congregation and a large number of ecclesiastical and civic dignatories,

Out of Darkness Cometh Light.
Out of Darkness Cometh Light.

Finaly to end this poignant post. What about this!.

A photo taken by Fred Nickholds of the E & S twenty years later on the 18th February 1970

To which he captioned.

Lamplight dispels the sepulchral gloom from Tettenhall parish churchyard.
Glistening snow crystals reflect a memory of yuletide departed and give a Christmas Card effect to St Michaels and all Angels church.
Which certainly gives credit to our motto ‘Out of Darkness Cometh Light’

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3 comments

  1. Hello Diane Thank you for getting in touch with us. I myself discovered the joys of Tettenhall pool during the summers in war time. When a three halfpenny bus ticket would get me from Lichfield Street to Tettenhall Rock and I am sure this trip was repeated many times by other old Wulfrunians.
    We have a forum here were you can share memories but you may find it easier to join our lost Wolverhampton Group on Face book.

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