Willenhall History Society

Street Names - G



Gairloch Road. Named after the small Scottish town of Gairloch which is near to the Kyle of Lochalsh in the county of Ross and Cromarty.

Gerrard Road. Named after Mr R.D. (Bob) Gerrard who was General Secretary of the National Union of Lock and Metal Workers from 1940 until his death in 1959. Mr Gerrard was born at Milnrow near Rochdale in Lancashire in 1901. When he started work he became active in the working class movement, both in the trade unions and the Labour Party. He was a man of some considerable ability and soon gained a Cassell Trust Scholarship and also a Lancashire County Council adult scholarship to study at Ruskin College Oxford for two years. In 1935 after completing his two years study he was appointed as the Assistant General Secretary to the union serving under Mr George Bellamy. He served in this capacity for five years before taking over as General Secretary in 1940. He was co-opted as a member of Willenhall Urban District Council during the war, but his main work as a councillor and Alderman was with Staffordshire County Council on which he served for thirteen years. He was appointed a Justice of the Peace in 1943, the same year in which he became Chairman of Willenhall Local Employment Committee and Willenhall Juvenile Advisory Committee. He served as Chairman of Governors of Willenhall Comprehensive School in Bilston Road which opened on May 31st 1956. This realised one of his great ambitions as he had helped to plan the school with Mr George Tomlinson when he was Minister of Education in the Labour Government. Mr Gerrard was awarded an MBE in the New Year Honours List of 1955. To commemorate this a dinner was given in his honour at the Baths Assembly Hall. He died in New Cross Hospital Wolverhampton on August 17th 1959 at the age of 58 and left a wife and three children. In his memory a Bob Gerrard Trust Fund was set up with donations from local organisations, including lock manufacturers. The proceeds were invested in the Commissioner of Charities Investment Fund. Interest from the fund is used for educational activities in which past and present students of Willenhall Comprehensive School are involved.

Gipsy Lane. Nothing is known as to how this street got its name but it may be a reference to the fact that many years ago it was a site where Gipsies camped.

Glaisdale Road. Named after the small town of Glaisdale in Yorkshire.

Glamis Road. Glamis Castle was the Scottish home of Lord and Lady Glamis, parents of Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother. Although she was not born there she did spend a good deal of her early years there and no doubt it is from this that she developed a love for the country which she has retained throughout her life. The castle stands between the Firth of Tay and the foothills of the Grampians. When the Queen Mother was three years old her parents became the fourteenth Earl and Countess of Strathmore.

Glebe Road. Glebe land is usually regarded as land belonging to either a parish church or an ecclesiastical benefice of some kind. In this instance the name probably infers that the land was once part of the extensive Willenhall Chapel of Ease Estate from which the incumbent of St Giles church derived his income many years ago. In the middle of the last century the lands were sold off and the money invested to provide a more stable income.

Gloucester Place. Named after the town of Gloucester.

George Street and Borrow Street. These two streets built in the early thirties were named on 13th October 1931 to commemorate George Borrow 1803 - 1881 the well known Romany author whose semi biographic books include" Romany Rye" ," Wild Wales" and the more well known "Lavengro" which tells the story of his fight with the Flaming Tinman at Mumpers Dingle in 1825. It is generally believed that the site of Mumpers Dingle was near Monmer Lane and that Monmer Lane is a modern day interpretation of this. It is also believed that the Public House mentioned in the book was the Bulls Head Inn which stood at the junction of Wolverhampton Street with Peel Street for many years, until it was demolished shortly after the First World War.

Gomer Street and Gomer Street West. Nothing is known of the origins of this name,but it may possibly be a corruption of another name. In a directory dated 1861 a Baptist Chapel which once stood on the site of the Falcon Inn, was described as being in Garner Street. It is easy to see how this may have been changed by common usage.

Gorey Close. Named after the town of Gorey on the Island of Jersey.

Gough Street. Gough Street was named after the Gough family who owned a considerable amount of land in the area prior to it being sold off for development in the middle of the last century. They were also a family who played a prominent part in the life of the community in the nineteenth century. Ralph Dickenson Gough was the son of Ralph and Catherine Gough and was born at Gorsebrook House Wolverhampton in 1822. He qualified as a solicitor before coming to Willenhall in the 1840's where he met and married Mary Clemson, daughter of John Clemson a Maltster of Willenhall and descendant of the wealthy Clemson family, who lived in Walsall Street.After their marriage Ralph and Mary set up home at 25, Walsall Street directly adjoining St Giles church. This house was later to be used as a house for the incumbent of St Giles Church. When the Willenhall Local Board of Health was formed in 1854 Ralph was elected as its first chairman, being elected to that office at the inaugural meeting of that body which took place on September 18th 1854 at the rooms of the Willenhall Literary Society in Stafford Street. Ralph held this office until his death on November 9th 1881, and during his term of office he saw many changes take place as they sought to clean up the town and eliminate the scourge of Cholera, Typhoid and other highly contagious diseases. Ralph and Mary also found time to work wholeheartedly for St Giles Church where they worshipped. They played a large part in getting the old building demolished and replaced by the present structure in 1867. Much of their work was directed towards helping to raise the necessary finance towards which they also contributed handsomely. The East window of the church was installed by Ralph to commemorate the outstanding work done by his wife Mary towards the building of the church. There were no children of the marriage and when Mary died in 1894 the house was bought by the trustees of St Giles church to provide a vicarage for the incumbent and it continued in this capacity until it was replaced by the present building during the 1960's.

Gower Street. The Gower family were a Yorkshire family and became related to the Leveson family by marriage when Sir Thomas Gower Bt. of Stittenham Yorks married Francis Leveson the family co-heiress in the 1630's and changed the family name to the hyphenated one of Leveson- Gower.In the next five generations the family rose rapidly, they acquired a barony in 1703 and an earldom in 1746, were made marquesses of Stafford in 1786 and became Dukes of Sutherland in 1833. The 2nd marquess made the greatest of the family's numerous splendid matches when in 1785 he married Elizabeth, countess of Sutherland and baroness of Strathnaver. He took the title Sutherland as a complement to his wife when he was created duke in 1833. The family seat was at Trentham Hall, which they abandoned in 1905 with the house being subsequently demolished.

Granville Street. Granville was the family name of the Dukes of Sutherland who were joint Lords of the Manor of Stowheath together with the Leveson family to whom they were related by marriage. A branch of the Leveson family lived in nearby Moat House for many years and owned much land in the area.

Greadier Street. It is believed that this is a miss-spelling of the name Greader and is a tribute to a well known family of that name who were prominent in the last century. Henry W Greader in addition to being the licensee of the Albion Inn which once stood in Cross Street, was also a founder member of the Willenhall Local Board of Health on which body he served for many years. He also carried on business as an Auctioneer and House Agent. John Greader was also a member of the Local Board of Health, he lived in New Road and also acted as Secretary of the Willenhall Gas Company.

Greaves Crescent. Named after Councillor Greaves, former member of Willenhall Urban District Council from 1964 until 1966.

Greenhill Close. There are many towns of this name up and down the country. Most likely to have been named after one of these.

Greenmeadow Road. Situated of Coppice Farm Way, the name is probably an indication of what the site was originally.

Grenville Close. Situated off Ingledew Close. The origins of the name are not known.

Griffiths Road. Commemorates Councillor Richard Griffiths member of Willenhall Urban District Council from January 5th 1942 when he was elected to replace Councillor J.A. Harper who had died. Councillor Griffiths served as chairman of that body for the years 1949 to 1951. and continued to serve until the town was taken over by Walsall in 1966.

Gurnard Close. Named after the town of Gurnard near Cowes on the Isle of Wight.

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