Black Country Bugle

Take a tour of the town of 800 inns

STEVE JAMES concludes his tour of some to the historic pubs of Wolverhamp­ton


RETURNING to Princes Square, Princess Street is home to the Billy Wright, named after the famous footballer in 2011. It started life as the Greyhound, first licensed in 1818, with alteration­s in 1930. The Duke of York (1818) was rebuilt in 1890 and reopened as the Tap and Spile in 1996 before returning to its original name in 2015.

King Street was first constructe­d in 1750, when Wolverhamp­ton’s oldest remaining pub, the Old Still was built, originally as the Saracens Head, with a new façade added in 1896 by A.P. Brevitt. Not far from the Grand Theatre, it played host to many actors and performers, ranging from famous soprano, Dame Maggie Teyte, to comedian, Les Dawson, and is allegedly haunted. Opposite was the Reindeer (18841932).

A few doors away is the Grain Store, which originally dates back to 1760 as Madame Clarke’s Ale and Porter Stores. It’s a fine Georgian house converted into a pub and now Grade II listed. When kept by Mary Clarke, it was known as a house of ill repute, where ladies of the night chalked their prices on the soles of their shoes! If the boys in blue ever visited the bar, they’d quickly wipe their soles clean. The Talbot Hotel (1780) offered “superior accommodat­ion for commercial gentlemen”. Renamed Seamus O’donnells in 1998, it became a betting shop in 2010.

South of Queen Square is Queen Street, where the Gaiety Vaults (1818) was renamed the Boot and

Star and had a popular music hall. It was replaced by the Empire Theatre in 1898, which later became the Hippodrome. The Three Tuns (1828-1848) was a short-lived coaching inn, replaced by a drapers and tea dealer. The Queens Arms (1849) was replaced by the Trocadero in 1909, which itself closed in 1935. Saunders Commercial Hotel (1868) was closed by 1881, but Cope’s Wine Lodge (1871) lasted until 1954. Walkabout (1993) was in the former County Court building and later became The Outback before closing in 2018.

In Pipers Row, the venerable Barley Mow dated from 1792 and was kept by Wolves player, Billy Harthill, but closed in 1983. The Dog and Duck was first licensed in 1818, but closed in 1893. The Old Bush (18181940) became Archers restaurant, whilst the Plough and Harrow (1857) closed in 1923.

Market Street is home to the Wheatsheaf (1854) on the corner of Tower Street, rebuilt in 1923 by A.T. Butler. The Alhambra (1859) was the taphouse for Bruford’s brewery, closed in 1928, while the Castle (1858) closed in 1912. In Garrick Street, we’d find the Garrick’s Head (1849-1985), rebuilt in 1935, and Shakespear­e (1850-1865), with the more recent Clock (1973-1978) and Heroes Bar (1998-2007) on the corner of Bilston Street.

Nearby, in St John’s Street, the Old Anchor dated from 1792, but was closed by 1855. Other pubs included the Seven Stars (18181937), Acorn (1822-1912), Vine (1833-1891) and St John’s Square Wine and Spirit Stores (1871-1959). Along with the Manders paint works, this area eventually became the Mander Centre.

Bilston Street was home to the long-lived Blue Ball (1818-1981), kept by Wolves player, Alf Potts in the 1920s, the True Briton (18331981), Bulls Head (1855-1981) and Blue Bell (1857-1975). On the corner of Bath Street, the Crown (18301922) was not far from the Green Man (1818-1891) and Turks Head (1818-1913). Other pubs included the Blue Pig (1858-1911), Crown and Cushion (1849-1921), Fox (18511913), Unicorn (1849-1913), Red Cow (1850-1981), Forge Hammer (1851-1914), Black Horse (18581930), White Rose (1861-1872) and Victoria Stores (1896-1913). The Horse and Jockey (1818-1975) was next to the cattle market, while the Painters Arms (1858-1921) was next to the pig market.

Continuing into Snow Hill, the Swan and Peacock (1816-1960) was an old coaching inn where the Tallyho, Emerald, Prince of Wales and Triumph stage-coaches called, but was demolished to make way for the Wulfrun Centre. The Coach and Horses (1818-1969) was originally a commercial hotel, which had one of the first telephones in 1886. Other pubs included the Bull (1855-1901), Hen and Chickens (1818-1940) and Pied Bull (1818-1983), a former Georgian house on the corner of Temple Street, later converted into a shop. The Woolpack dated from 1822, but was closed in 1912. Not far

away were the Red Lion (18451960), originally known as the Lion and Pheasant, Theatre Royal Inn (1851-1923) and Corn Exchange (1861-1934). The modern Gondolier opened in 1969.

Running south from Queen Square is Dudley Street, one of the main shopping streets. The Castle was an old coaching inn dating from 1770, where the Royal Dart stagecoach left every morning at nine for Birmingham, but closed by 1842. Other old coaching inns included the Golden Fleece (1818-1957), renamed the Bodega in 1898, Angel (1816-1934) and Red Cow (18181929). Other venerable pubs included the Kings Head (18021957), rebuilt in the 1860s, but converted into shops, and Three Crowns (1810-1927) on the corner of Woolpack Street, along with the Pack Horse (1818-1933), Lord John Russell (1833-1865), Beehive (18501884) and Old Porter House (18691928).

Victoria Street also runs off Queen Square, where we’d find the Old Barrel on the corner of Bell Street, originally dating from 1600, first licensed in 1822, but converted into a shop in 1962. Other ancient taverns included the Hand (17921802), first known as a pub in 1609, but best remembered as “Lindy Lou” children’s clothing shop, Golden Cup (1792-1871) and Hand and Bottle (1802-1927). Bell Street was naturally home to the Old Bell (1818-1861), a home-brew pub, along with the Kings Head (18181922), Royal Oak (1858-1909) and Star (1858-1908).

The Giffard Arms originally dated from 1818 and was rebuilt in Cotswold stone as a “reformed” pub in 1927 by Wolverhamp­ton architect, James Swan. It’s listed (Grade II) and, in the 1990s, was kept by former rock musician, Andy Harper. On the corner of Cleveland Street, the Mitre (18181975) was rebuilt in 1858. The Star and Garter (1818) was a commercial hotel, coaching inn and excise office, rebuilt in 1836, but demolished in 1964 to make way for the Mander Centre, as was the New Inn (1822-1966). Other pubs included the Spread Eagle (1818-1928) and Tiger (1868-1912). The George Wallis (1998) was originally the Newt and Cucumber, before being renamed after the famous Wolverhamp­ton industrial artist in 2012.

Continuing along Worcester Street, we’d find the Old Queens Head (1818-1855), Old White Horse (1818-1854) and Plough and Harrow (1855). On the corner of Pitt Street, the White Hart (1818) is remembered for its topless lady boxers, but was rebuilt in 1923. On the corner of Temple Street, the Oddfellows (1860-1960) was converted into a shop in 2003. Not far away in Little Brickkiln Street were the Sir John Falstaff (1833-1912) and Duke of York (18181918), with the Leopard (18511907) and Shakespear­e (1850-1907) in Hallett’s Row.

Cleveland Street runs between Victoria Street and Snow Hill and was home to the Cleveland Arms (1845-1925), along with the Commercial (18611938). In Temple Street, we’d find the Dolphin (1818-1858), Old Crown (1851-1907), Kings Arms (1850-1930) and another Star (18511908). The Bond Street Tavern (1868), originally the Greyhound, is naturally in Bond Street, while the newer George Street Tavern, known locally as the “Flea and Fidget” and renamed St John’s Vaults in 1978, was in George Street, not far from the Tiger (18181976).

In Salop Street, we’d find the Angel (1818-1928), George (18181850), Golden Lion (1818-1935), known locally as the “Salt Box”, and New Inn (1818), rebuilt in 1960 and opposite the Star and Anchor (1833-1907). The Lord Nelson (1833) was once a home-brew pub, rebuilt in 1883, but demolished in 2006. Other pubs included the Beehive (1871-1907), Horse and Jockey (1833-1872), Minerva (1818-1870), Royal George (1851-1935) and Wonder (1864-1907).

Peel Street was home to the Peels Arms (1855-1959), along with the West End Inn (1858-1966), originally the Sir Robert Peel and home to Frank Myatt’s second brewery. On the corner of School Street, the Fox (1858) was rebuilt in 1965, but demolished in 2011.

Darlington Street was named after Lord Darlington, who sold the land to the Town Commission­ers to build the road in 1821. It was home to the Darlington Arms (1833-1972) and Joiners Arms (1866-1926), once a home-brew pub, before becoming an Atkinsons (Birmingham) pub and later a shop. The Park Stores (1871) was closed in 1912. In Waterloo Street, we’d find the Royal Exchange (1851-1929) and Golden Cup (1858-1919).

Most of Wolverhamp­ton’s older town centre taverns have sadly disappeare­d, but there’s still a handful of historic pubs to enjoy. ■ With acknowledg­ement to Tony Hitchmough, Joseph Mckenna, Alec Brew, Dennis Moore, David Clare and Ned Williams.

 ?? ?? Once the Hand pub (1792-1802) but still remembered as the Lindy Lou
Once the Hand pub (1792-1802) but still remembered as the Lindy Lou
 ?? ?? The Old Still
The Old Still
 ?? ?? The Grain Stores, originally Madame Clarke’s Ale and Porter Stores
The Grain Stores, originally Madame Clarke’s Ale and Porter Stores
 ?? ?? The Star & Garter Royal Hotel
The Star & Garter Royal Hotel
 ?? ?? The George Wallis
The George Wallis

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