Wolverhampton, like most other cities, has undergone many changes over the past 100 years, and to celebrate its history and its people, a new book entitled Wolverhampton has been published by The History Press which has used a fascinating collection of more than 200 archive images to delve deep into the city’s unique character.
The book is written by Heidi McIntosh, and the pictures in the book cover subjects such as agriculture and industry, education, streets and buildings, transport, and Wolverhampton during the world wars.
Wolverhampton, priced £13.99, is on sale at The Bugle offices, and the photographs we have chosen reveal a busy community of commerce and industry that pulled together at times of war and enjoyed themselves in times of peace.
The naming and launching of a lifeboat called Wolverhampton took place at Bushbury on August 27, 1866, a seemingly strange ceremony for a landlocked urban town.
But Wolverhampton’s association with the Royal National Lifeboat Institution had been established four months earlier on May 4 when an appeal had been made to purchase a lifeboat.
The appeal was evidently successful and the Wolverhampton went on to see service off the coast of South Wales. It was based in Swansea and had saved seventy-eight lives by the time it was wrecked in a storm in 1883.
Local dignitaries attending the ceremony included the Mayor, Joseph Crowther Smith, Captain Robertson from the RNLI, future mayors James Langham and Joseph Ford, and Alfred Hinde. The person in the boat wearing the life jacket was local coxswain E Whitehouse.
The magnificent Chubb headquarters in Fryer Street is still a landmark building in Wolverhampton today and the photograph from the early years of the 20th century shows staff posing outside this formidable edifice.
The arched entrance on the corner was for high-ranking staff; while the archway to the left was for everybody else.
Nowadays the building is occupied by the Lighthouse Media Centre, but the Chubb name has been allowed to live on.
Industry has been an integral part of Wolverhampton’s history, but so has commerce and we have featured one of the town’s busy thoroughfares, Victoria Street, seen here in the early years of the 20th century.
On the right hand side there is a glimpse of the half-timbered building once known as Lindy-Lou’s; on the left stands the tailor shop belonging to Horace George; and further up the road on the right-hand side the pointed gables of the Star & Garter Inn can just be made out.
In wartime the people of Wolverhampton always stuck together and from a chapter called Wolverhampton and War we have chosen photographs specifically from the home front.
With the majority of the town’s menfolk in the armed forces the women had to fill the occupations they had left behind, and women trolleybus drivers were as important as any other workers, keeping public transport running for the benefit of everyone.
The picture featured was taken in 1940, but women continued to be employed on the service until the running of the last trolleybus in March 1967.
With the threat of bombing from the air, Anderson shelters were issued by the Ministry of Home Security to every household. It may have been a bleak time, but if you look carefully there is a toy animal on top of the shelter sporting a gas mask, evidence that Wolverhampton folk were able to maintain their spirits throughout the dark days of the war.