| University of Wolverhampton|
| West Midlands|
| Wightwick Manor, Bantock House Museum and Park, Moseley Old Hall, Grand Theatre - Wolverhampton, St Peters Collegiate Church|
Wolverhampton is a city and metropolitan borough in the West Midlands, England. In the 2011 census, the local government district had population of 249,470. Wolverhamptons urban population at the time of the 2001 census was given as 251,462, and was the second largest component of the West Midlands Urban Area which makes it part of the third largest urban area in the United Kingdom. By this reckoning, it is the 12th largest city in England outside London. For Eurostat purposes, Wolverhampton is a NUTS 3 region (code UKG39). People from Wolverhampton are known as "Wulfrunians".
Historically a part of Staffordshire, and forming part of the metropolitan county of the West Midlands from 1974, the city is commonly recognised as being named after Lady Wulfrun, who founded the town in 985: its name coming from Anglo-Saxon Wulfr?neh?ant?n = "Wulfr?ns high or principal enclosure or farm". Prior to the Norman Conquest, the areas name appears only as variants of Heantune or Hamtun, the prefix Wulfrun or similar appearing in 1070 and thereafter. Alternatively, the city may have earned its original name from Wulfere?ant?n = "Wulfheres high or principal enclosure or farm" after the Mercian King, who tradition tells us established an abbey in 659, though no evidence of an abbey has been found.
The variation Wolveren Hampton is seen in medieval records, e.g. in 1381.
The city grew initially as a market town with specialism within the woollen trade. During and after the Industrial Revolution, the city became a major industrial centre, with mining (mostly coal, limestone and iron ore) as well as production of steel, japanning, locks, motorcycles and cars – including the first vehicle to hold the Land speed record at over 200 mph. Today, the major industries within the city are both engineering based (including a large aerospace industry) and within the service sector.
A local tradition states that King Wulfhere of Mercia founded an abbey of St Mary at Wolverhampton in 659.
Wolverhampton is recorded as being the site of a decisive battle between the unified Mercian Angles and West Saxons against the raiding Danes in 910, although sources are unclear as to whether the battle itself took place in Wednesfield or Tettenhall. The Mercians and West Saxons claimed a decisive victory and the field of Woden is recognised by numerous place names in Wednesfield.
In 985, King Ethelred the Unready granted lands at a place referred to as Heantun to Lady Wulfrun by royal charter, and hence founding the settlement.
In 994, a monastery was consecrated in Wolverhampton for which Wulfrun granted land at Upper Arley in Worcestershire, Bilston, Willenhall, Wednesfield, Pelsall, Ogley Hay near Brownhills, Hilton near Wall, Hatherton, Kinvaston, Hilton near Wolverhampton, and Featherstone. This became the site for the current St. Peters Church. A statue of Lady Wulfrun, sculpted by Sir Charles Wheeler, can be seen on the stairs outside the church.
Wolverhampton is recorded in the Domesday Book in 1086 as being in the Hundred of Seisdon and the county of Staffordshire. The lords of the manor are listed as the canons of St Mary (the churchs dedication was changed to St Peter after this date), with the tenant-in-chief being Samson, William the Conquerors personal chaplain. Wolverhampton at this date is a large settlement of fifty households.
In 1179, there is mention of a market held in the town, and in 1204 it had come to the attention of King John that the town did not possess a Royal Charter for holding a market. This charter for a weekly market held on a Wednesday was eventually granted on 4 February 1258 by Henry III.
It is held that in the 14th and 15th centuries that Wolverhampton was one of the "staple towns" of the woollen trade, which today can be seen by the inclusion of a woolpack on the citys coat of arms, and by the many small streets, especially in the city centre, called "Fold" (examples being Blossoms Fold, Farmers Fold, Townwell Fold and Victoria Fold), as well as Woolpack Street and Woolpack Alley.
In 1512, Sir Stephen Jenyns, a former Lord Mayor of London and a twice Master of the Worshipful Company of Merchant Taylors, who was born in the city, founded Wolverhampton Grammar School, one of the oldest active schools in Britain.
From the 16th century onwards, Wolverhampton became home to a number of metal industries including lock and key making and iron and brass working.
Wolverhampton suffered two Great Fires: the first in April 1590, and the second in September 1696. Both fires started in todays Salop Street. The first fire lasted for five days and left nearly 700 people homeless, whilst the second destroyed 60 homes in the first five hours. This second fire led to the purchase of the first fire engine within the city in September 1703.
On 27 January 1606, two farmers, Thomas Smart and John Holyhead of Rowley Regis, were executed on High Green, now Queen Square, for sheltering two of the Gunpowder Plotters, Robert Wintour and Stephen Littleton, who had fled to the Midlands. The pair played no part in the original plot but nevertheless suffered a traitors death of being hanged, drawn and quartered on butchers blocks set up in the square a few days before the execution of Guy Fawkes and several other plotters in London.
There is also evidence that Wolverhampton may have been the location of the first working Newcomen Steam Engine in 1712.
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 and the Willenhall side of Wolverhampton 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 and Coventry. Examples would be UK Government regional bodies such as the Black Country Development Corporation, under whose remit the city fell.
The city lies upon the Midlands Plateau at approximately 120 m (394 ft) above sea level, and is the highest city centre in the UK. There are no major rivers within the city, although the River Penk and River Tame (tributaries of the River Trent) rise in the city, as does Smestow Brook, a tributary of the River Stour, and thence the River Severn. This means that the city lies astride the main east-west watershed of England.
The geology of the city is complex, with a combination of Triassic and Carboniferous geology; specifically Bunter and Keuper sandstone, and Upper and Middle Coal measures. There is also an area of dolerite intrusions.
Traditionally, Wolverhamptons economy has been dominated by iron, steel, automobiles, engineering and manufacturing industries. However, by 2008 the economy was dominated by the service sector, with 74.9% of the citys employment being in this area. The major subcomponents of this sector are in public administration, education and health (32.8% of the total employment), while distribution, hotels and restaurants take up 21.1%, and finance and IT takes up 12.7%. The largest non-service industry was that of manufacturing (12.9%), whilst 5.2% of the total employment is related to the tourism industry.
The rock groups Slade, Sahotas, Cornershop, The Mighty Lemon Drops and Babylon Zoo came from Wolverhampton, as do electronic musician Bibio, soul/R&B singer Beverley Knight, drum and bass guru Goldie, roots reggae maestro Macka B.
Hip Hop music producer S-X who has worked with T.I., J. Cole, Birdman & Lil Wayne was born and raised and still lives in Wolverhampton.
Wolverhampton has a number of live music venues; the biggest is technically the football ground, Molineux Stadium, which was used for a Bon Jovi concert in 2003, 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. The Civic Halls now have a new venue, The Slade Rooms, this has a capacity of approximately 550 standing. There are also a number of smaller venues with capacities between 100 and 250, the Wolverhampton Varsity being the most long-standing of these (Unfortunately now closed) along with the Light Bar, Fryer Street. The Little Civic closed and has been replaced by a much less loved Numa Bar. The new Dog & Doublet next to the old Little Civic has recently had live music at the venue. The 18th-century St Johns Church 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 Midland Box Office is the primary sales point for most of Wolverhamptons venues and is situated in Queen Square, it is made up of a small team of dedicated and enthusiastic staff.
The citys main choral groups include the City of Wolverhampton Choir, (a choral society founded as the Wolverhampton Civic Choir in 1947) and the Choir of St. Peters Collegiate Church.
The Grand Theatre on Lichfield Street is Wolverhamptons largest theatre, opening on 10 December 1894. It was designed by C. J. Phipps and completed within six months. Included amongst the people to have appeared at the theatre are Henry Irving, Charlie Chaplin and Sean Connery. It was also used by politicians including Winston Churchill and David Lloyd George. The theatre was closed between 1980 and 1982.
The Arena Theatre on Wulfruna Street, within the University of Wolverhampton is the secondary theatre, seating 150. It hosts both professional and amateur performances.
Cinema is catered for by a multiplex Cineworld located at Bentley Bridge, Wednesfield, and a smaller cinema, Light House Media Centre, housed in the former Chubb Buildings on Fryer Street. Cineworld caters mainly for popular tastes, showing Hollywood films and other big-budget films as well as some Bollywood films whilst Light House shows a range of older and subtitled films as well as some selected new releases. Light House has also played host to visual art shows, an International Animation Festival and incorporates a small café.
The Citys Arts & Museums service, run by the council, covers three sites: Wolverhampton Art Gallery, home to Englands biggest Pop art collection after that held at the Tate; Bantock House, a fine historic house with Edwardian interior with a museum of Wolverhampton located within Bantock Park; Bilston Craft Gallery with exhibitions of contemporary crafts.
The Black Country Living Museum, situated in nearby Dudley, has a large collection of artefacts and buildings from across the Black Country, including an extensive collection associated with the city.
Eagle Works Studios and Gallery situated in Chapel Ash, is a self run artists group. It provides studio accommodation for eighteen visual artists, mostly painters. Its small gallery holds a regular programme of exhibitions to show and promote contemporary art in the city.
The National Trust owns two properties on the edge of the city that are open to the public: Wightwick Manor, which is a Victorian manor house and one of only a few surviving examples of a house built and furnished under the influence of the Arts and Crafts movement, and Moseley Old Hall, which is famous as one of the resting places of Charles II of England during his escape to France following defeat at the Battle of Worcester in 1651. English Heritage owns Boscobel House, within Shropshire, another refuge of Charles II.