Willenhall History Society
Shops in Willenhall
Wolverhampton Street is one of the main thoroughfares of the town. Until the New Road was built it was the main route out of Willenhall towards the west. The Bulls Head Inn, on the corner of Peel Street, was one of the coaching Inns of the town.
There were shops along both sides of Wolverhampton Street from Peel Street to the Market Place. Until the mid Nineteenth Century the whole of market place was also known as Wolverhampton Street.
There are few old photographs of Wolverhampton Street, but several more recent ones, which give a good idea of the shops in this street.
This is Beatties jewellery shop in the 1960s, on the corner of Gomer Street. It gives a good idea of a typical shop with living accomodation built above for the shopkeeper and his or her family. Round the back is a door for loading stores into the first floor.
The shop is still there, and a barbers has recently opened in part of the building.
Further along the street towards the Market Place is this interesting building, number 9, with arched windows and fine ornamentation.
In the background are the refurbished flats on the corner of Gomer Street.
Chungs chinese restaurant is number 4, this is another fine building which has been generally well preserved. The modern shop fronts are the only major difference in the way the street looks, though no doubt the inhabitants of Willenhall in times gone by would be surprised at the number of take aways and restaurants.
Barclays Bank is number 62 Wolverhampton Street. You can see it in the picture below, next to the Post Office, which is located where the 8pm Chemist is today. The Post Office moved to this site in 1915 when the cinema was built on the site of the previous post office. The Post Office moved again to its present site in the 1960s to 70s.
The 8pm Chemist is another attractive older building with arched windows. The site next door to it has been illegally demolished.
This is the Post Office taken from the opposite direction in the 1930s or 40s copied from the Willenhall Official Guide. It also shows shops in the background, part of the Market Place.
Next to Doctor Pottinger's house is a further row of shops.
R.S. News is number 57 and has a more recent front with a gable.
The next few shops are older, then there is a warehouse building, which originally had doors at the front on each level into which goods could be raised by a pulley.
Further along Wolverhampton Street has been largely redeveloped. In the 1918 map above are a lot of small houses, which have now been replaced by more modern housing and the flats. The old St Stephens Church was also demolished and replaced by housing, and a small church.
In 1901 there were a range of shops in Wolverhampton Street, including
Further back in 1850, the following shops in Wolverhampton Street were listed in the Post Office Directory
There were also a lot of lock and key makers and other manufacturers listed.
In the Pigot and Co's Directory of Staffordshire 1842 Wolverhampton Street has these shops:
Not much is listed for Wolverhampton Street in the 1818 'New Directory of the County of Stafford'. This probably includes what is now Market Place.
There have been many changes in Wolverhampton Street over the years. It has never been such an important shopping street as the Market Place. In the past, as now, there have been a variety of shops to suit people's needs.
Willenhall History Society Website 4.11.2009