Blakenhall

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For the Cheshire village, see Blakenhall, Cheshire.

Coordinates: 52°34′23″N 2°07′37″W / 52.5730°N 2.127°W / 52.5730; -2.127

Blakenhall
West Midlands
Blakenhall
Blakenhall
 Blakenhall shown within the West Midlands
Population 11,301 (2001 Census)
Metropolitan borough Wolverhampton
Metropolitan county West Midlands
Region West Midlands
Country England
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Post town Wolverhampton
Postcode district WV
Dialling code 01902
Police West Midlands
Fire West Midlands
Ambulance West Midlands
EU Parliament West Midlands
UK Parliament Wolverhampton South East
List of places
UK
England
West Midlands

Blakenhall is a ward in Wolverhampton, England.

Toponymy and history[edit]

Blakenhall's name, according to toponymists comes from the Old English 'blæc', meaning 'black' or dark coloured, & 'halh' meaning 'nook' or 'corner'.[1] It was developed during the late 19th century just south of the town centre, with hundreds of terraced houses, some with shop fronts, being built on the Dudley Road (A459) towards Sedgley, as well as many being built in the side streets running off.

Wanderers Avenue can be found in Blakenhall, the original home of Wolverhampton Wanderers, who regularly played on the adjacent Phoenix Park until 1889. Names of the players can be found on the front of the terraced houses along the street. The club was founded as 'St Luke's Football Club'[2] in 1877, a school side, before merging with another local football and cricket team, 'The Wanderers' two years later to form Wolverhampton Wanderers.

Wolverhampton's very first council houses were built at Blakenhall, on Birmingham Road, in 1902, though it would be nearly 20 years before mass council housing building took place anywhere else in the town.[3] By the 1980s, however, these properties were outdated and they were finally demolished in the spring of 1988.[4]

Vehicle maker AJS moved to a new factory built around Graiseley House on 1914.[5] It closed on their insolvency in 1931 and the site, now a supermarket, is marked by a sculpture, The Lone Rider, designed by Steve Field and carved by Robert Bowers, assisted by Michael Scheuermann.[6][7][8]

In 1919, when work began on the Wolverhampton's first major council housing development to rehouse families from town centre slums, a site around Green Lane (later renamed Birmingham Road and Thompson Avenue) and Parkfield Road was included in this development.[9]

In 1960, 1st Blakenhall Scout Group was formed by Maurice Lane. Maurice was influential in setting up the group which is still going strong today and still recruiting young people aged 6–14. Although Scouting has changed somewhat since the days 1st Blakenhall has formed the group now meet at St Johns Methodist Church near to the Fighting Cocks crossroads and is open to both male and females in the Blakenhall area.[10]

The next major development in Blakenhall took place in the 1960s when several tower blocks were constructed. The tallest of these tower blocks, Cobden House, was demolished by a controlled explosion in August 2002. Two smaller tower blocks were cleared in mechanical demolitions during 2007. The final tower block, Phoenix Rise, was demolished in the spring of 2011.

On 8 July 1996, as nationally reported in the news, a machete attack took place at St Luke's Nursery School in Blakenhall, when 32-year-old local man Horrett Campbell ran riot - stabbing 21-year-old nursery nurse Lisa Potts and six children aged between two and four years. He was arrested at his tower block flat in nearby Villiers House the following evening[11] and committed for trial at Stafford Crown Court later that year. He denied the charge of attempted murder but admitted causing grievous bodily harm with intent, but was convicted on seven counts of the more serious charge on 9 December 1996.[12] Due to paranoid schizophrenia, he was detained indefinitely in a mental hospital on 7 March 1997 when a judge at Teesside Crown Court, Cleveland, ruled that Campbell was mentally ill.[13]

Today[edit]

Terraced shops on Dudley Road, Blakenhall

The ward serves Wolverhampton City Council and forms part of the Wolverhampton South East constituency. The ward also covers the suburb of Goldthorn Park, immediately to the south, and part of Graiseley. It borders Penn, Graiseley, St Peter's, Ettingshall and Spring Vale wards, as well as (briefly) South Staffordshire and the Metropolitan Borough of Dudley.

Blakenhall's community is of predominantly Indian ethnicity (45.6% of the population)[14] which settled into the area in the two decades following the Second World War. The Sikh Guru Nanak Gurdwara occupies the site of a former Corona drinks factory and has at times been able to claim to be the largest Gurdwara in Europe.

Blakenhall is one of the most deprived districts of Wolverhampton, although it has improved slightly since the 1990s due to its designation as an ABC Regeneration Area. A similar initiative covers the neighbouring All Saints district.

The Royal Wolverhampton School is situated in Blakenhall ward, as are Colton Hills secondary school and SWBA, South Wolverhampton and Bilston Academy.

The regeneration of Blakenhall has seen the demolition of most of the multi-storey blocks in the area since 2002, including the Blakenhall Gardens flats. The final tower block is scheduled for demolition during 2010. All of these flats were built in the 1960s. However, the shops and (currently disused) public house that were built at the same time as part of the complex are still standing.

It has been incorrectly reported that one of Blakenhall's oldest and most striking buildings, the 156 year old St Luke's Church on Moore Street South is to close down for good due to mounting repair bills and structural problems with the tower and spire. Whilst the building is not currently in use, no decision has yet been made as to the future of the building. [15][16]

Public houses[edit]

Of Blakenhall's pubs, only a handful remain. 'The Rose and Crown', 'The Old Ash Tree', 'The Kings Arms', 'The British Queen' (now a Desi pub) and 'Billa's Bar' (formerly The Fermentine & Firkin) are all on the Dudley Road A459. Tucked away on Pool Street is 'The Yew Tree Inn' (a Desi pub), and on Cartwright Street is 'The Crown'. Previously in the area - in fact, lending its name to the area south of Blakenhall, was the 'Fighting Cocks', and the 'Foresters Arms' on Grove Street is still standing, but is closed. The 'Glassey Inn' has now been demolished, and the new Blakenhall Community and Healthy Living Centre, operated by Wolverhampton City Council, stands in its place.[17]

References[edit]

  1. ^ David Horovitz's 'Place Names Of Staffordshire'
  2. ^ http://www.wolves.co.uk/page/History/0,,10307~482291,00.html Wolverhampton Wanderers Club History
  3. ^ [1]
  4. ^ [2]
  5. ^ Graiseky Hill Works on the Wolverhampton Local History website.
  6. ^ Noszlopy, George Thomas; Fiona Waterhouse (2005-01-01). Public Sculpture of Staffordshire and the Black Country. Liverpool University Press. ISBN 9780853239895. 
  7. ^ "The Lone Rider". The Lone Rider. Public Monuments and Sculpture Association. Retrieved 19 October 2013. 
  8. ^ 52°34′33″N 2°08′09″W / 52.575861°N 2.135798°W / 52.575861; -2.135798 (The Lone Rider)
  9. ^ [3]
  10. ^ 1st Blakenhall Scouts
  11. ^ [4]
  12. ^ [5]
  13. ^ [6]
  14. ^ http://www.wolverhampton.gov.uk/NR/rdonlyres/64C0C9DC-50BE-4CC4-8700-37F25DA99317/0/census01_04ward_bl.pdf 2001 Census
  15. ^ St Luke's Church Administrator, Oct 2013
  16. ^ "End of the line for crumbling church". Wolverhampton Chronicle. 15 August 2013. 
  17. ^ http://www.wolverhampton.gov.uk/council/news/2010/october/211010a.htm New £5.7m community centre opens doors for first time (October 2010)

External links[edit]