I want to talk about a place called “The Londes”. Picture this place:
Due to the building of the new Asda Supermarket, the re-building of the Molineux grounds, and the considerable extensions to the University Campus, the area where I spent my youth has been completely replaced by new buildings where students can stay, and also by their places of learning.
Gone forever is the lively self-contained community that was situated in between the two parishes of St Patrick’s and St Peter and Paul’s, where until the late 1950s you could find every kind of shop and industry, all of them drawing trade from the large amount of working class people living there.
For you to see and imagine this area, full of houses and businesses, all to be re-allocated between the 1950s to 1970s, you start at the Molineux F.C. Car Park and go to the rear of the Asda Supermarket. Then walk twenty yards or so up what was once North Street towards the city centre.
On the left opposite the Steve Bull stand you will see some steps. These steps lead into what was once Nursery Street. I was born in Nursery Street in 1937, and my grandparents lived at the lower end of the street at No. 26 which overlooked “The Londes”.
Now, instead of the neat rows of terraced houses, there is just the Arthur Storer Building, which is a student faculty building. On the spot of where my home once stood is now the entrance to The School of Legal Studies.
Although the cast iron bollards that used to stand above the large steps at the bottom of this cul-de-sac have long since gone, if you were familiar with the area prior to the 1970s, there are still some small reminders from the past for you to spot.
Around this walk small bits of “The Londes” are still standing with original parts of the walls visible. Also you can see small portions of the diamond blue bricks that covered most of the pavements around the town at that time.
As you carry on up North Street, past the south entrance to “The Londes” (where in my youth was the short cut to Charles Street or Stafford Street, via Lawyers Field or Deanery Row), there is now sited the main entrance to the College of Art.
But then what will always keep this spot clear in my memory of the past, is to see, standing on its original spot in front of the College of Art (thanks to all of the football supporters and drinkers), the Plume of Feathers pub.
Also just a hundred yards further up North Street stands what was once the Fox Hotel, now renamed and with a different brewery, but still a pub occupying the ground it did when my Dad courted my Mom from there in the early 1930s.
One regret – the Fox no longer looks across North Street to Charles Street and Tin Shop Yard, and the little shops up to the Chequer Ball and the Market Patch. It just stares at the large blank wall of the Ring Road under-pass.