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Bradshaw’s Guide


This ancient town, which in Saxon times was noted for its college, founded by Wulfruna, sister of King Egbert, and thence called Wulfrunes-hampton, from which it derives the modem name, is now a parliamentary borough (two members), and the capital of the iron trade. By the North Western, or narrow-gauge line, it is 126 miles from London (or 13 miles from Birmingham); by the broad gauge, via Oxford and Worcester, 142 miles. The branch covers about 30 square miles of barren soil, beneath which are rich crops of coal, iron, and stone. Population 147,670.

All kinds of articles in iron, brass, tin-plate, japan work, &c., are made here, as locks and keys, hinges, fenders, coffee mills, tea trays, bolts, files, screws, and other tools, besides engines, &c. Smelting-houses and foundries abound on all sides (see Bradshaw’s Hand-Book to the Manufacturing Districts). The making of tin-plate, that is, of iron tinned over, is a staple business. That of japanning was first introduced by Baskerville, the Birmingham printer, whose portrait may be seen in the counting-house of Messrs. Longman, in Paternoster Row.

Wolverhampton stands on high ground, and has never suffered from the plague, but it did not escape the cholera in 1S49, though the deaths were few compared with those at Bilston and Willenhall. The houses are of brick, and there are not any remarkable edifices. The Grammar School, founded in 1513 by a native, who became lord mayor of London, is well endowed, and replaces a hospital built by the Leveson or “Luson” (ancestors of the Gower) family. There is a literary institute with a public library.

Of its eight churches, St. Peter’s is the most ancient and striking. It is a later English cross, having a tall tower and carved stone pulpit, with monuments of the Levesons, and of Colonel Lane, who, with his sister, were the means of effecting the escape of Charles II., after the battle of Worcester, 1651. It was that officer who was hid away with the king in the Royal Oak. A pillar cross in the churchyard is 20 feet high. Until lately, the manor belonged to the dean and chapter of Windsor, to whom it was granted by Edward IV.

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