The Future Hides The Past

THE FUTURE HIDES THE PAST

Memories last longer than Dreams- Lets share them!

Here in Wolverhampton everything that surrounds us in our everyday lives, every street, supermarket, football ground, university and park, even the land your house is built on is a reminder of something else that was there in the past.

 

An artists impression of the future extension to Wolverhampton University 2015
An artists impression of the future extension to Wolverhampton University 2015

 

The hoardings surrounding the work in progress, tells me that they are sweeping away “The Londes”. Today, from the place were I was born and from this medieval way north, its ancient name’s been torn.

 

Now - November 2014 in North Street - Then- same scene 1974
Now – November 2014 in North Street – Then- same scene 1974

 

As I write this today Wednesday 30th December 2014, the tall jibs of the giant crane loom again across the last remnants of Historic Goat or Tup Street or North Street, as we knew it, for further extensions to the University. As seen in the top picture dated 2014.

You will note the neglected steps leading down from the bottom of old Nursery Street and the Londes.

The scene below is the same shot taken forty years earlier in 1974.  It shows those same steps leading across the grassed area between the “Londes” and North Street and also the original steps that once covered the full width of the street, with the bollards above laid when Nursery Street was cut from the “Londes” to Stafford Street in the 1890’s.

The first house on the left No.26., above the flowering cherry tree was the larger house my grandparents took their  family to live in from Lawyers fields in 1913.
And if you look halfway up the street on the right you will notice a shed, used by Harringtons sign writers at that time . Alongside the shed at No. 11 would be the house in which I myself was born. and spent my early years.

In five short years after this photo was taken Nursery Street will be demolished.

 

An extract from Isaac Taylors 1750 Map showing the "Londes" And a few landmarks around the area that were there at that time and again being re-developed.
An extract from Isaac Taylors 1750 Map showing the “Londes” And a few landmarks around the area that were there at that time and again being re-developed.

 

So. The “Londes” was does it mean. How old is this ancient passageway.

I believe it means The “Lands” and as you can see  the area around The londes is shown on Isaac taylors map of 1750  consisting mainly of gardens, mostly belonging to the The Deanery, home of Dean and Prebend houses .- homes of the several prebendaries or priests whose task it was to govern the town.

Also  there are just a few houses and workshops scattered around, in streets with noble names such as, St Peter’s Square, Deanery Row, Lawyers Fields, Prospect Place , etc.. names which lingered on around North Street right up until the 1950s.

It took this area 600 long years since the time of Lady Wulfrun, to appear like this and it would have looked similar in appearance when My great great grandfather settled here, in Lawyers Fields in 1850’s after arriving with his impoverished family from Roscommon, Ireland and It had also changed little by the time my Grandmother was born, also in lawyers Fields thirty years later in the 1880’s, at the time of the Artisans Dwelling Act.

 

An aerial view circa 1937 showing the old Deanery site <em>Now the Wolverhampton Polytechic, with St Peters Square on its left leading back down to North Street.</em>
An aerial view circa 1937 showing the old Deanery site Now the Wolverhampton Polytechic, with St Peters Square on its left leading back down to North Street.

The Artisan Dwellings and Streets Improvements Committee vastly improved and increased the housing conditions.around North Street and Stafford Street between the time my grandparents married and settled there, starting their large family in 1902, and when my father and mother likewise,came to live close by in 1937, The Deanery area would gradually take on the appearance I recall during the war.

 

SO WHATS MY STORY FROM LOST WOLVERHAMPTON TODAY?

Well again today – As I turn away from the boards covering my dream that couldn’t last.
My thoughts aren’t in the future. My thoughts are in the past.

 

Now - In 2014 The Wolves Stadium covers the West side of the new Molineux Way. Then-  1964 It was Shops and Houses that held the sway.
Now – In 2014 The Wolves Stadium covers the West side of the new Molineux Way. Then- 1964 It was Shops and Houses that held the sway.

 

Across the road today is the “Home of the Wolves” and their expansion of the original site from Waterloo Road has come at a great cost to what was once my playground.

The Top picture shows the twin towers of the Steve Bull stand on the corner of Jack Hayward Way, which leads down to the “Asda” Supermarket.

The bottom picture shows the exact scene again some fifty odd years earlier the entrance to The Jack Hayward way -was then Dawson Street, a row of Victorian Terraced houses which led to old Molineux Street.and the old stand turnstiles.
On the far left of the photograph at that timewas a large warehouse which  belonged to S. J. Dixon & Son Ltd, horticultural wholesale fertilisers, insecticides.
and  the adjoining wooden buildings and large house belonged to William Price. coal merchant, who rented a part of the yard and stables to Percy Bates, Blacksmith.

A NORTH STREET MEMORY

The Blacksmiths Yard North Street 1944
The Blacksmiths Yard North Street 1944

My brief memories of Percy Bates our local Blacksmith….

In 1945, just across the road from the Colonel Vernon Inn, North Street, was Bill Price’s yard, and as I recall, at that time Bill sold coal, which he hawked around the area on his horse and flat cart.

Part of the yard which included some stables was used by a blacksmith, his name was Percy Bates. Toward the end of the last war, my father was keeping a pony and trap at the yard in North Street. Due to the pony being stabled at the yard, I got to know Percy the blacksmith well, and became one of the few lads he let watch him at work, hammering and shaping different sized horseshoes.

As I recall Percy  was a small man with amazing strength, in his back and arms. I was always fascinated by the way he would bend forward and at the same time lift an enormous cart horse’s leg from behind, pulling it between his own.

He would then reach out and with some tongs grab and place on a red hot shoe, on whichever the hoof of the animal he was shoeing,  and by taking each nail from a row he held firmly in his teeth, would hammer the shoe on, in a matter of minutes.

Then the smoke would rise as the shoe settled on the hoof and the smell that wafted up was like nothing but the finest perfume to me.

I spent just a few short years watching Percy work, and those  sights and sounds I’ll never forget, and all this pleasurable activity came free to a lad in the nineteen forties.

Just one of many North Street Memories

Facebook Comments
Share

3 comments

  1. I would be completely lost without your blogs Billy! Tracing my family tree has been easy compared to trying to figure out where great great grandparents actually lived when places have changed beyond recognition has been a nightmare. (Particular the Londes as mentioned above….I was born in 1983 so as you can imagine I have no idea where half these places were!!)

  2. Hi Billy!

    Believe it or not I’m a Wolves fan from Roscommon where your Great Great Grandparents apparently hail from.
    Just came across this website and have read your blogs and enjoyed them.

    I’ve been visiting Wolverhampton since 1959 as my Aunt for many years was Matron of the Eye Infirmary! I vaguely remember the town as it was. I remember the trolley buses in particular. The old Molineux and Molineux Street are fresh in memory too.
    Anyway, just saying ‘hello’ as Roscommon appears in your piece. A nice coincidence.

    Kind Regards,
    Peter

  3. Hello Peter.
    Nice of you to get in touch . I have promised myself one day I shall visit Roscommon and if so perhaps we can meet up.
    As an alternative please get in touch the next time your visit Wolverhampton and I will take you on a tour of the Wolves museum and the grounds.
    In the meantime keep in touch either on our forum or on our Facebook Group Lost Wolverhampton.

Leave a Reply

Your e-mail address will not be published. Required fields are marked *