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Historic Wednesfield: The High Street


At first glance the view above is almost completely unrecognisable to modern eyes. It is, in fact, Wednesfield High Street in 1902, with children playing in the street.

However, there are some buildings that are still there to this day. One of which is the Dog & Partridge public house, which can be seen here to the left. This building is most likely of late 16th century origin (possibly a coaching inn). It has been licensed since at least 1782, when Samuel Marston was landlord. It was taken over by the Gregory family around 1879, and they kept it for more than eighty years, with its own bowling green and its own bowling team. It is one of the oldest buildings in Wednesfield, and possibly the earliest public house in the area.   Despite numerous refurbishments and extensions, some original features still remain.

In the distance is St. Thomas’s parish church. The church was built by voluntary subscription in the Classical style, and consecrated in August 1750.  It was formerly a chapel of ease known as the Chapel of St. Thomas in Wednesfield, and belonged to St. Peter’s ecclesiastical parish of Wolverhampton, before it became a separate parish in 1849. It was reconstructed in 1903, by F.T. Beck of Wolverhampton, after a fire destroyed most of the building except the nave and tower.  He concentrated on the interior of the church, particularly the chancel (designed by Wyatt & Brandon) that had been there since 1842-3.

Wednesfield High Street today is much wider than it appears in this photograph. At Wolverhampton Archives we have got photographs showing the construction of a row of shops behind the existing shops in the late 1950s, before the older shops were demolished, which seems a rather convoluted way of doing things!  Other properties in Wednesfield High Street included Cooper’s Baker, which later became known as Biddolphs, pubs such as the Angel Inn and the Royal Tiger, and the Regal Cinema. If you are interested in the changing nature of Wednesfield High Street, we have a number of photographs, as well as maps and plans of the area, sales particulars, trade directories and other records. Whilst we can’t recreate the scene above, we can certainly learn more about its history.

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