Willenhall History Society

Street Names - W



Waite Road. Named after G.A. Waite who came from Ilkley in Yorkshire to take up his appointment as Surveyor to the council on 20th May 1921. and remained in that capacity until his retirement. His commencing salary was œ375 per Annum plus œ125 housing fees. This was to compensate him for the heavy workload involved with the town's development between the wars. Mr. Waite retired in 1939 and died in 1951.

Wakes Close. A new street off Gipsy Lane which was named as recently as October 1993 by the Willenhall Area Planning Committee. Little was known about the area and after considering names like Keys Grove, and The Latches, names which refer to the industry for which the town was well known, they settled for Wakes Close as the site is close to the Wakes Ground.

Waldale Close. Situated off Sherringham Drive. The name is believed to be fictitious and of on special significance.

Walsall Road and Walsall Street. The main roads leading out of Willenhall towards Walsall.

Ward Street. Named after the Reverend William Latimer Ward (See also Latimer Street). The street was originally known as "Back of Ann Street" until it was made up and renamed in 1912. The street suffered damage and casualties during the air raid on Willenhall in November 1940 and was demolished after the war. It is now used for industrial purposes only.

Warwick Avenue. Named after Warwick, the county town of Warwickshire.

Waterglade Lane. The dictionary defines a glade as a clear green space and the water no doubt refers to the River Tame which runs nearby.

Watery Lane. Today a modern road which connects Noose Lane with Neachells Lane. Until recent years this was just a track surrounded on either side by pit banks and numerous pools, no doubt the result of flooded mine workings. There was also a spring half way along it from which clear water bubbled up continuously.

Watkins Drive. Named after Councillor Fred Watkins who served as a member of Willenhall Urban District Council for many years prior to its being taken over by Walsall in 1966 following which he was elected to the newly enlarged Walsall Metropolitan Borough Council. In 1967 he became the first Willenhall man to be elected Mayor of Walsall following this he was elected to the office of Alderman until that office was abolished.

Wayford Glade. Named after a small village of that name near Crewkerne in Somerset.

Wayside Gardens. Just a pleasant sounding name of no special significance. Stands off Furzebank Way on the estate of that name.

Webb Street. Named after F.G.T. Webb who was appointed Clerk to Willenhall Urban District Council on April 1st 1920 at the princely salary of œ300 per annum. Mr. Webb replaced Mr Rowland Tildesley, a local solicitor who had held the office since the council was first formed in 1894 until his retirement on March 31st 1920. Mr Webb had previously been assistant to Mr Tildesley and had performed most of the clerks duties, being clerk in all but name. One of his first duties was to oversee Willenhall's ambitious plans for post World War One development which included a fine memorial near the central schools with landscaped gardens and also the Memorial Park and what was rather grandly called a "Garden City" but what later became known as the Park Estate. By the time Mr Webb took over, the Memorial Committee had already raised œ6,000 towards the œ7,000 which they estimated it would cost and had purchased 42 acres towards the 50 which they required for the scheme. Mr.Webb retired in 1939, to be replaced by Mr C.J. M. Daulton, and he died in January 1951.

Webster Road. Named after Councillor Arthur Webster,member of Willenhall Urban District Council from 1925 until 1960 and chairman of that body for the years 1940 to 1942.

Wednesfield Road. The road leading from Willenhall to Wednesfield.

Welland Grove. Takes its name from Welland near Malvern in Worcestershire.

Wellington Place. This road which forms part of the highway between Willenhall and Wednesfield lies between the Wednesfield Road and Fibbersley and was named as a tribute to the Duke of Wellington, a national hero following his military exploits when he defeated the French at Waterloo. Originally known as Sir Arthur Wellesley, he joined the Napoleonic and Revolutionary wars in 1809 as Officer in Charge, of the British forces and in 1815 he commanded the British Army at Waterloo when the French were defeated in a momentous battle which put an end to Napoleon Bonaparte's ambitions to conquer Europe. His military activities made him a national hero and after he left the Army he entered into another successful career, this time as a Tory politician. He attained the rank of Prime Minister in 1827-8 and eventually died in 1852. His death took place at about the time that development was taking place in the Wednesfield Road and this short stretch of road was a fitting tribute to the man who became known as the Duke of Wellington.

Wesley Road. Takes its name from the Wesleyan Methodist Church which stands at the corner of Wesley Road and Coltham Road.The foundation stone for the church was laid on July 13th 1881 and the completed building opened for worship on April 11th 1882. This was however the third Methodist Church to be built in Short Heath following the arrival of Methodism in the village in about 1826. A man named Wilkes who was employed at Bentley Colliery is the man credited with being the first man to begin a Methodist witness and the first church was opened in Coltham Rd in 1826. This soon became too small for the number of worshippers attending and a second church was built in 1833 adjoining the first building in Coltham Road which was then converted into two cottages. This building then remained until the present church was built when it continued in use as a schoolroom until 1908 when the New Invention School was built and the pupils transferred there. It was demolished in 1971.

Westacre. Like its neighbouring streets, Eastacre and Midacre, stands on a area which for many years was known by its old field name of the Long Acres. The names are an attempt to retain something of the character of the old name. See also Long Acres.

Western Close and Western Avenue. Probably an indication that these two streets mark the Western boundary of the Bentley Estate.

Westfield Road. There are numerous towns in the British Isles bearing this name, notably in Clackmanan, Gloucestershire, West Lothian, Norfolk, Renfrew, Somerset, Sussex and Perth. No doubt the name is derived from one or all of these.

Whitewood Glade. A pleasant sounding name of no special significance. Like other streets on the estate, has trees as its theme. Stands off Stroud Avenue on the Furzabank Estate.

Whitminster Close. Named after Whitminster a small town near Stonehouse in Gloucestershire.

Wilkes Street. Named after one of Willenhall's oldest families and also one of the most well known. The Wilkes family came to Willenhall from Hertfordshire during the reign of Edward the Fourth 1461 - 1483 and built their mansion house on the site of the present Public Library. It is believed that the original building was either destroyed or severely damaged during the great fire of Willenhall in 1659 which swept through the town destroying all the houses in its wake, and that it was subsequently rebuilt. The most well known of the family was Doctor Richard Wilkes, son of Richard and Lucretia Wilkes, who was born on March 16th 1690. He received his early education at Trentham and from there he went to St John's College Cambridge in 1710 to read for the church.He was awarded his B.A. in January 1715 and then went on to obtain his M.A. in the following year. He was appointed a fellow of the college in 1718 and became a Linacre Lecturer. He was ordained a deacon with a title to the parish of Stowe by Chartley in Staffs but never proceeded to priests orders and he eventually returned to Willenhall, dissatisfied with the established church, and like all leading citizens played a leading role in the life of the town and church. He was a trustee of the Chapel of Ease Estate, and played a prominent part in pulling down the old church and rebuilding it in 1749, in fact it was Doctor Wilkes who set out the foundations of the new church on May 6th 1748. He married his first wife Rachel, daughter of Rowland Manlove of Abbotts Bromley on 24th June 1725 but she died in 1756 and he married for a second time to Frances Bendish the widow of Higham Bendish and daughter of Sir John Wrottesley who survived him for nearly 40 years. He died on March 20th 1760 at the age of 70 years and was buried beneath his pew in St Giles Church, of which he had been Chapel Warden for the last 12 years of his life. Doctor Wilkes wrote his own epitaph some years before his death during a severe illness but although it was recorded it was never used on his memorial which can be seen in the South Transept of the church.

"Here, reader, stand awhile, and know

Whose carcase ' tis that rots below.

A man's, who walk'd by reason's rule,

Yet sometimes err'd and play'd the fool;

A man's sincere in all his ways,

And full of the creator's praise;

Who laughed at Priestcraft, pride, and strife,

And all the little tricks of life.

He lov'd his king, his country more,

And dreadful party rage forebore;

He told nobility the truth,

And wink'd at hasty slips of youth.

The honest poor man's steady friend,

The villain's scourge in hopes to mend.

His father, mother, children, wife,

His riches, honours, length of life,

Concern not thee. Observe what's here.

He rests in hope, and not in fear".

After his death his wife left the town to live with her sister in London for a time but eventually she moved to Froxfield in Hampshire where she stayed until her death in 1798. As there were no children, the estates were sold and the mansion passed through several hands before finally coming into the hands of the local authority who demolished it in 1934 to make way for new council offices. It is this building which today houses the Public Library.

William Harper Road. Takes its name from William Harper whose foundry stood in nearby Birmingham Street from 1890 until closed by recession a few years ago.

Williams Close. J.T.(Jack) Williams spent many years as a teacher at the Willenhall Central Senior Boys School where he was a popular sports master and teacher of English. A member of the Willenhall Urban District Council in the post war years and chairman for the year 1959-60. He was also a County Councillor. In his later years Mr Williams had the misfortune to lose one of his legs following illness but never allowed this to prevent him leading a full and active life.

Windsor Gate. One of several streets on this estate with royal associations, in this case Windsor Castle, one of the Queens homes.

Withywood Close. Probably a product of someone's fertile imagination, but according to the dictionary a Withy or Withe is described as a willow twig, any flexible twig used to bind something.

Woburn Avenue. Named after Woburn Abbey in Bedfordshire.

Wolverhampton Road. A short stretch of road leading from the Portobello High Street to the boundary with Wolverhampton when it becomes Willenhall Road.

Wolverhampton Road West. Part of the main road between Walsall and Wolverhampton.

Wolverhampton Street. Before the New Road was made Wolverhampton Street lay on the main route from Walsall to Wolverhampton and the West with stage coaches passing along Walsall Road, Walsall Street, Cheapside, Cross Street, Market Place into Wolverhampton Street before joining Somerford. At the junction of Wolverhampton Street and Peel Street lay the old Bulls Head Inn where the coaches stopped to drop off mail and take refreshment before continuing on their journey. Its trade diminished slowly once the New Road was opened, but it continued to function until its demolition shortly after the First World War. Wolverhampton Street was later known locally as "The Old Road".

Wolverson Close. This street was named after Charles William Wolverson, a member of the well known Willenhall family of that name, who was a member of the Willenhall Urban District Council from 1958 until 1964. Mr Wolverson was born in 1913 and died at the age of 80 in 1993. Other well known members of the family who have left their mark on the town in past years were as follows: On the political scene Henry Wolverson, who lived in Cross Street,and served on the Willenhall Local Board of Health for a number of years prior to it being replaced by the Urban District Council in 1894. The elections for the new Urban District Council which were held on December 17th 1894 were on a first past the post basis with 16 seats being available. Henry stood for election and polled 757 votes but it was not enough and he was only 17th. He tried again on April 20th 1895 in a bye election caused by the death of John Adams, but again he was unsuccessful, being beaten in a straight fight by Clement Tildesley who polled 1012 votes to Henry's 705. At least his support was consistent. On the industrial front T.B. Wolverson X Rays Ltd have carried on business in Walsall Street for many years,though not always at the same premises. Their original factory stood next to the Prince of Wales Inn but they moved further down the road to their present site some years ago when they took over the premises vacated by Messrs Willen Key Ltd. Captain L. Wolverson was also a well known figure in the town between the wars when, as the School Attendance Officer for the town, he pursued defaulters much more enthusiastically than they are pursued today. Captain Wolverson also had a distinguished war career, being awarded the Military Cross for bravery. He was also the district correspondent for the N.S.P.C.C. On the commercial side Dan Wolverson carried on his business as a butcher in Stafford Street in premises which still today serve as a butcher's shop, but now owned by Messrs Hills.

Wood Lane. Takes its name from Rough Wood which is situated nearby. According to local legend King Charles, on his journey from Moseley Hall to Bentley Hall on September 9th 1651 travelled via an ancient bridle path which crossed Wood Lane. As it lies in a direct line between the two houses there is likely to be some truth in the belief. Wood Lane was once part of the old road from Willenhall to Bloxwich and was originally known as Coppice Lane.

Wood Lane Close. See Wood Lane.

Wood Street. . This street was so called because it was once covered by woodland. An entry in the Baptism Registers of St Giles Church for the year 1660 reads as follows:- 25.11.1660. Mary daughter of Tho Stokes "of ye woods".

Woodland Close. Situated near to the Rough Wood Nature Reserve.

Woodside Way. So called because it runs along two sides of the boundary of Rough Wood.

Worcester Road. Named after the county town of Worcestershire.

Wordsworth Road. Named after William Wordsworth the Lake District poet, 1770-1850. Wordsworth was born at Cockermouth in Cumberland and was a friend of S.T. Coleridge. In 1799 he settled in Grasmere along with his sister Dorothy, first at Dove Cottage and from 1813 onwards at Rydal Mount. He succeeded Southey in 1843 at Poet Laureate and was buried at Grasmere Churchyard.

Wrighton Close. Named after Councillor Reg. Wrighton who served on Willenhall Urban District Council from 1956 to 1965, during which time he served as Chairman of that body for the year 1963-4. Councillor Wrighton's wife Ada Wrighton was also closely associated with the council. See also Ada Wrighton Close. Although both are now retired they continue to work for the benefit of the town.

Wroxham Gardens. Named after the town of Wroxham in Norfolk.

Wychbold Close and Wychbold Way. Named after the town of Wychbold near Droitwich in Worcestershire.

Wyrley Close. The streets on this estate are mainly named after either Collieries or mining towns associated with them in the Cannock Chase coalfield. In this case Wyrley, home of several collieries.

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