Learn more about Wolverhampton
|City of Wolverhampton|
|Status:||Metropolitan borough, City (2000)|
|Ceremonial County:||West Midlands|
- Total (2005 est.)
3,450 / km²
Wolverhampton City Council
|Leadership:||Leader & Cabinet|
|MPs:||Rob Marris, |
Wolverhampton is a city and metropolitan borough in the West Midlands, England, traditionally part of the county of Staffordshire. In 2002 the local authority had a population of 239,358; the Urban Area had a population of 251,462.
The city was named after Lady Wulfruna, who founded the town in 985: its name came from Anglo-Saxon Wulfrūnehēantūn = "Wulfrūn's high or principal enclosure or farm". Many buildings and firms in Wolverhampton are named after her. Its name is often abbreviated to "W'ton" or "Wolves". The city council's motto is "Out of darkness, cometh light".
Wolverhampton lies northwest of its larger near-neighbour Birmingham, and forms the second largest part of the West Midlands conurbation. To the north and west lies the Staffordshire and Shropshire countryside.
Wolverhampton city centre falls outside of the area traditionally known as the Black Country, although some districts such as Bilston and Heath Town fall within the Black Country coalfields, leading to confusion as to whether the entire city falls within the region. Modern usage has tended towards using the term to refer to the western part of the West Midlands county, excluding Birmingham/Solihull/Coventry. Examples would be UK Government regional bodies such as "The Black Country Development Corporation", under whose remit the city falls.
The bulk of the formerly independent urban districts of Bilston (a borough itself after 1933), Tettenhall and Wednesfield were added to the borough in 1966, along with part of the urban district of Coseley and small parts from Sedgley and Willenhall. Most of this area had been part of the Wolverhampton parliamentary borough created by the Reform Act 1832, which also included diverse areas such as Wren's Nest, New Invention and Gornal. Unusually, there was no change made to the boundary of the borough during the 1974 reorganisation of local government, the borough already having a population larger than the 250,000 required for education authorities. This contrasted with the Redcliffe-Maud Report, where large areas of the present South Staffordshire district were to be added to the borough.
Wolverhampton was also a Royal Peculiar covering a large area.
The 2001 census gives the Wolverhampton urban sub-area as the largest in the West Midlands conurbation, after Birmingham, and bigger than Dudley, whose metropolitan borough is bigger but is counted as several units. The figure given for Wolverhampton is 251,462, which also includes areas outside the borough (236,582). By this reckoning it is the 13th largest city in England.
A monastery existed in Wolverhampton in Saxon times, founded by Lady Wulfruna and consecrated in 994. This became the site for the new St. Peter's Church in 1425. A statue of Lady Wulfruna, sculpted by Sir Charles Wheeler, can be seen on the stairs outside the church. By the 13th century Wolverhampton had grown to become a thriving market town. The city was famous for its part in the woolen trade, a fact that can be seen by the inclusion of a woolpack on the city's coat of arms, and by the many small streets, especially in the city centre, called "Fold" (examples being Blossom's Fold, Farmers Fold, Townwell Fold and Victoria Fold), as well as Woolpack Street.
In the 19th century the area to the south-east of the city became known as the Black Country because of the heavy industrial pollution which covered the area in black soot. In Victorian times, Wolverhampton grew to be a wealthy town mainly due to the huge amount of industry that occurred as a result of the abundance of coal and iron deposits in the area. The remains of this wealth can be seen in local houses such as Wightwick Manor and The Mount (both built for the Mander family, prominent varnish and paint manufacturers), and Tettenhall Towers. Many other houses of similar stature were built only to be demolished in the 1960s and 1970s. In the 19th century the city saw much immigration from Wales and Ireland; in the 20th and 21st centuries immigrants have come from places further afield, such as the Caribbean, South Asia, Africa and eastern Europe.
In 1866, a statue was erected in memory of Prince Albert, the unveiling of which brought Queen Victoria to Wolverhampton. The statue stands in Queen Square and is referred to by many locals as simply "the Man on the Horse" (or in West Midlands English "Man on the 'Oss") and is also known as the "MOTH". The unveiling of the statue was the first public appearance Queen Victoria had made since the funeral of her husband the Prince Consort. A 40 foot tall archway made of coal was constructed for the visit. The Queen was so pleased with the statue that she knighted the then mayor, an industrialist named John Morris. Market Square, originally named High Green, was renamed Queen Square in honour of the visit. Two farmers, Thomas Smart and John Holyhead of Rowley Regis, were hanged in High Green, now Queen Square, in January 1606, for sheltering some of the Gunpowder Plotters who had fled to the midlands. The pair played no part in the original plot but nevertheless suffered the traitor's death of hanging, drawing and quartering on butcher's blocks set up in the square a few days before the execution of Guy Fawkes and several other plotters in London.traffic lights could be seen in Princes Square, Wolverhampton in 1927. The modern traffic lights at this location have the traditional striped poles to commemorate this fact.
The railways reached Wolverhampton in 1837, with the first station located at "Wednesfield Heath", now Heath Town. This station was demolished in 1965, but the area exists as a nature reserve just off Powell Street. Wolverhampton railway works was established in 1849 for the Shrewsbury and Birmingham Railway and become the Northern Division workshop of the Great Western Railway in 1854.
Wolverhampton High Level station (the current main rail station) opened in 1852, but the original station was demolished in 1965 and then rebuilt. Wolverhampton Low Level station opened on the Great Western Railway in 1855. The site of the Low Level station, which closed to passengers in 1972 and completely in 1981, is currently undergoing redevelopment. Wolverhampton St George's (in the city centre) is now the northern terminus for the Midland Metro light rail system.
Wolverhampton was represented politically in Victorian times by the Liberal MP Charles Pelham Villiers, a noted free trade supporter, who was also the longest serving MP in parliamentary history. Lord Wolverhampton, Henry Hartley Fowler was MP for Wolverhampton at the turn of the century. Sir Geoffrey Le Mesurier Mander, a member of the Mander family, was Liberal MP for Wolverhampton East from 1929 to 1945, distinguished for his stance against Appeasement and as a supporter of the League of Nations; known as "the last of the Midland radicals". More recent members have included the Conservative mavericks Enoch Powell and Nicholas Budgen.
Wolverhampton is well-served by motorways, being near the M6, M5, M6 Toll and M54. The main roads radiating from the city centre meet the city's Ring Road, which is effective in keeping through traffic out of the city centre itself.
Located right next to the railway station is Wolverhampton Bus Station. This acts as a gateway for both townspeople and train passengers to interchange between the two modes of transport.
The nearest major airport is Birmingham International Airport, approximately 25 miles away. The airport is easy to reach by train, with a direct express service to it. By car, it can actually sometimes be quicker to reach Manchester Airport instead, due to traffic delays on the M6 eastbound motorway towards Birmingham International.
Wolverhampton has its own minor airport to the southwest of the city. Expansion of the airport is planned, but these plans are being fought by local residents.
Within the city are also many miles of canal network; the Birmingham Canal, the Staffordshire and Worcestershire Canal, the Shropshire Union Canal and the Wyrley & Essington Canal are all to be found.
 Music and arts
The rock groups Slade, The Mighty Lemon Drops, and the one hit wonder Babylon Zoo came from Wolverhampton, as do soul/ R&B singer Beverley Knight and Drum n Bass guru Goldie. Robert Plant of Led Zeppelin is also a Wulfrunian. Musician Jamelia lives in Wolverhampton with her mother and daughter. Wolverhampton has a number of live music venues; the biggest is technically the football ground, the Molineux stadium, but the biggest indoor venue is Wolverhampton Civic Hall, with a standing capacity of 3,000. Second to that is Wulfrun Hall (part of the same complex as the Civic Hall, which is owned and operated by the city council) which has a standing capacity of just over 1,100. There are also a number of smaller venues with capacities between 100 and 250: the Little Civic and the Wolverhampton Varsity being the most longstanding of these. The 18th century church of St John's-in-the-Square is a popular venue for smaller scale classical concerts. The city is also home to Regent Records, a choral and organ music recording company.
The Grand Theatre and the Arena Theatre are located in the city centre, with a multiplex Cineworld cinema located at Bentley Bridge, Wednesfield, and a smaller cinema, The Light House, housed in the former Chubb Buildings between the city centre and the rail station. While Cineworld caters mainly for popular tastes, showing Hollywood films and other big-budget films as well as some Bollywood films, The Light House shows a range of older and subtitled films as well as some selected new releases. The Light House has also played host to visual art shows, and incorporates a small café. The City's Arts & Museums service, run by the council, covers three sites: Wolverhampton Art Gallery, home to England's biggest Pop Art collection after that held at the Tate; Bantock House, a fine historic house with Edwardian interior and also museum of Wolverhampton set in Parks and Gardens; Bilston Craft Gallery with exhibitions of contemporary crafts. Eagleworks Studio in the suburb of Chapel Ash, run by a small artist group, which has periodic exhibitions and group shows. The city's main choral groups include the City of Wolverhampton Choir (a choral society founded as the Wolverhampton Civic Choir in 1947) and St Peter's Collegiate Church Choir, who perform cathedral style church services each week during term time.
Wolverhampton is home to the Express & Star newspaper, which boasts of having the largest circulation of any provincial daily evening newspaper in the UK.
The city is also home to three radio stations, 107.7 The Wolf, Beacon Radio and Classic Gold WABC. The BBC also occasionally makes use of the City of Wolverhampton College's training and campus radio station's studio on Newhampton Road, WCR
In December 2005, the BBC commissioned the poet Ian McMillan to write a poem about Wolverhampton, along with four other towns which "had a reputation they didn't deserve". The result of this can be found here.
Wolverhampton Girls' High School is a well known selective school which has been producing top of league table results for years. Notable old girls include the former English Women's Cricket Captain Rachael Heyhoe-Flint.
Wolverhampton Grammar School was founded in 1512, making it one of the oldest active schools in the UK. Old boys include Mervyn King, Governor of the Bank of England since July 2003, and Sir David Wright, former British Ambassador to Japan.
In 1835, the Wolverhampton Mechanics' Institute was founded, and its lineage can be traced via the Wolverhampton and Staffordshire Technical College (1935), to The Polytechnic, Wolverhampton (1969) to today's University of Wolverhampton, given university status in 1992. The main university campus is in the city centre, with other campuses at Compton, and in the nearby towns of Walsall and Telford.
"Wolves", as they are known, are one of the oldest English football clubs, and were one of the 12 founder members of the Football League. Their most successful period was the 1950s, where they won three League Championships and two FA Cups, and were involved in the earliest European friendlies. They were hailed by the press as "The Unofficial World Champions" after one of their most famous victories, against Budapest Honvéd FC of Hungary. They were also the first English team to play in the Soviet Union. These victories instigated the birth of the European Cup competition which later evolved into the UEFA Champions' League (see European Cup and Champions League History).
In total, they have won three League Championships, four FA Cups, have two League Cup victories and many other minor honours, including reaching the UEFA Cup Final in 1972, and appearances in the last eight of both the UEFA Champions League, and the European Cup Winners' Cup, but have spent just one season in the top division since 1984. They are also the only club to have won five different league titles (Division 1, Division 2, Division 3, Division 4 and Division 3 (North)).
Wolverhampton Racecourse is located at Dunstall Park, just to the north of the city centre. This was one of the first all-weather horse racing courses in the UK and is Britain's only floodlit horse race track. There is also greyhound racing at Monmore Green. West Park, a large park near the city centre, was converted from a racecourse.
 Gay & Lesbian
Wolverhampton has 4 gay venues in the south of the city. The Queens Arms is the main gay venue and is based in the Graiseley area, The White Hart is also popular, as is the Greyhound (more so for lesbians) and The Tomb.
The following people were born in Wolverhampton, or are closely associated with the city:
- Richard Attwood - Winner, 1971 24 Hours of Le Mans. Former Formula One driver.
- Frances Barber - actress.
- Sir William Maddock Bayliss - physician.
- Stephen Byers, former Cabinet Minister, Labour Party politician.
- Edward Elgar - despite living in Worcester, he was an ardent Wolverhampton Wanderers fan and may have travelled to home games on his bicycle. Elgar bought two Wolverhampton-produced Royal Sunbeam bicycles in 1903, which he named Mr Phoebus, and visited the Sunbeamland Works in Upper Villiers Street for 'tuning'
- Button Gwinnett - signatory of the US Declaration of Independence.
- Helene Hayman, Baroness Hayman - first Lord Speaker.
- Sir Jack Hayward, OBE - son of Wolverhampton factory owners, self-made millionaire, benefactor of many charities, fighter pilot in the Second World War, President of Wolverhampton Wanderers F.C.
- Rachael Heyhoe-Flint - captain of the England Women's Cricket World Cup team 1973.
- Dave Holland - jazz bassist.
- Eric Idle - actor and comedian.
- Charles Jones (1866-1959) - gardener and photographer.
- Jamelia - Musician originally from Birmingham now living in Wolverhampton.
- Mervyn King - Governor of the Bank of England, educated at Wolverhampton Grammar School.
- Beverley Knight - soul singer
- Sir Richard Leveson - Vice Admiral of the Fleet for Life, hero of the Battle of Cadiz, 1596.
- Denise Lewis - Olympic Gold Medallist born in West Bromwich and raised in Wolverhampton.
- Anita Lonsborough - Olympic Gold Medallist in swimming.
- Sir Geoffrey Le Mesurier Mander - chairman of Mander Brothers, Liberal MP for Wolverhampton East, donor of Wightwick Manor to the National Trust
- Miles Mander - early Hollywood film actor, director and novelist.
- John Marston the founder of the Sunbeam company, in Upper Villiers Street
- Alfred Noyes - poet.
- Robert Plant - singer in Led Zeppelin
- Hugh Porter - Olympic cyclist, broadcaster and media personality.
- Lisa Potts - teacher and George Medal Holder
- Enoch Powell - politician (Member of Parliament for Wolverhampton South West 1950 - 1974), poet, scholar and soldier.
- Oscar Gustave Rejlander - the "father of art photography".
- Tessa Sanderson - gold medallist, javelin, 1984 Olympic Games.
- Nigel Slater - food writer and journalist.
- Vikram Solanki- England and Worcestershire cricketer.
- Meera Syal - actress, novelist and comedian.
- Percy Stallard - racing cyclist, founder of the British League of Racing Cyclists and the father of massed start cycle racing on public roads in Britain.
- Jack Taylor - referee, 1974 FIFA World Cup final.
- Sir Charles Pelham Villiers - member of Parliament for sixty-three years, holding the record for being the longest serving MP in Parliamentary history. A statue of him stands in West Park in Wolverhampton.
- Steve Willis - Radio broadcaster
- Sir Charles Wheeler - sculptor and former president of the Royal Academy.
- Jonathan Wild - self-penned Chief Thieftaker General of Great Britain and Ireland.
- Billy Wright - captain of England and Wolverhampton Wanderers and for a long period of time the most capped English football player.
- Billy Wright - the Northern Ireland Loyalist terrorist leader.
- David Wright - former UK Ambassador to Japan.
Localities in the city of Wolverhampton include:
- Aldersley, All Saints, Ashmore Park
- Bilston, Blakenhall, Bradley, Bradmore, Bushbury
- Castlecroft, Claregate, Compton
- Dunstall Hill
- Fallings Park, Finchfield, Fordhouses
- Goldthorn Park, Graiseley
- Heath Town
- Lanesfield, Low Hill
- Merridale, Merry Hill, Monmore Green
- Old Fallings, Oxley
- Park Village, Pendeford, Penn, Penn Fields, Portobello
- Tettenhall, Tettenhall Wood
- Wednesfield, Whitmore Reans, Wightwick, Wood End
 Wards of the City Council
The following is a list of the 20 wards of Wolverhampton City Council:
- Bilston East, Bilston North, Blakenhall, Bushbury North, Bushbury South and Low Hill
- East Park, Ettingshall
- Fallings Park
- Heath Town
- Merry Hill
- Park, Penn
- St Peter's, Spring Vale
- Tettenhall Regis, Tettenhall Wightwick
- Wednesfield North, Wednesfield South
A map showing the ward boundaries is available here.
 External links
- BBC Black Country BBC website for Wolverhampton
- Express & Star town and city guide: Wolverhampton
- Wolverhampton History & Heritage Society
- City of Wolverhampton College
- University of Wolverhampton
- Wolverhampton City PCT, Wolverhampton's NHS Primary Care Trust
- Wolverhampton Art Gallery website, including Bantock House and Bilston Craft Gallery
- “Sir Geoffrey Mander: the last of the Midland Radicals” by Nicholas Mander
- What's On? In Wolverhampton - a guide to events and entertainment in Wolverhampton
|Districts of the West Midlands||Image:Flag of England.svg|
Birmingham | Bridgnorth | Bromsgrove | Cannock Chase | Coventry | Dudley | East Staffordshire | Herefordshire | Lichfield | Malvern Hills | Newcastle-under-Lyme | North Shropshire | North Warwickshire | Nuneaton and Bedworth | Oswestry | Redditch | Rugby | Sandwell | Shrewsbury and Atcham | Solihull | South Shropshire | South Staffordshire | Stafford | Staffordshire Moorlands | Stoke-on-Trent | Stratford-on-Avon | Tamworth | Telford and Wrekin | Walsall | Warwick | Wolverhampton | Worcester | Wychavon | Wyre Forest
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|Bath | Birmingham | Bradford | Brighton & Hove | Bristol | Cambridge | Canterbury | Carlisle | Chester | Chichester | Coventry | Derby | Durham | Ely | Exeter | Gloucester | Hereford | Kingston upon Hull | Lancaster | Leeds | Leicester | Lichfield | Lincoln | Liverpool | London (City of London and Westminster) | Manchester | Newcastle upon Tyne | Norwich | Nottingham | Oxford | Peterborough | Plymouth | Portsmouth | Preston | Ripon | Saint Albans | Salford | Salisbury | Sheffield | Southampton | Stoke-on-Trent | Sunderland | Truro | Wakefield | Wells | Winchester | Wolverhampton | Worcester | York|
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