Wollaston, West Midlands
Wollaston is a suburb of Stourbridge, in West Midlands, England. It is within Dudley Metropolitan Borough. It is situated on the border between Dudley Metropolitan Borough and Staffordshire County (South Staffordshire district), and until 1974 was in Worcestershire. Wollaston is one mile from Stourbridge town centre.
Two primary schools serve Wollaston: St. James's C of E Primary and The Ridge Primary. Concerning secondary schools, the village is primarily served by Ridgewood High School (a Science Specialist College).
Wollaston is locally famous for Wollaston Hall, which once stood in the village but was disassembled and shipped abroad to an unknown location in North America It has been established that panelling and a fireplace from the Hall are now in the Edsel and Eleanor Ford House in Grosse Pointe Shores, Michigan, a building that bears a striking resemblance to the original Hall.
Birthplace of steam locomotive
The Stourbridge Lion, built in Wollaston, was the first steam locomotive to run on a commercial line in the United States. Built by Foster, Rastrick & Co. in 1829, the Stourbridge Lion's historic first run took place on 8 August. The foundry in Lowndes Road, Wollaston where the Stourbridge Lion was built stands to this day but is now under threat of demolition. The Grade II listed building has been vandalised since the last business went bankrupt and is in a sorry state. Local historian Dr Paul Collins believes the site is of huge historical importance and should be developed into a heritage centre and exhibition to celebrate this unique piece of history. The locomotive is now on view at the B&O Railroad museum, Baltimore MD, on loan from the Smithsonian Institution, Washington.
The Stourbridge Canal skirts around the village linking the Staffordshire and Worcestershire Canal with the Dudley No 1 Canal, this places Wollaston on the Stourport Ring. The nearest train station is Stourbridge Town, and several National Express West Midlands and Hansons bus services from Stourbridge run through the village. The Stourbridge to Bridgnorth A458 road runs through the village. Between 1901 and 1930, Wollaston was served by an electric tramway, the Kinver Light Railway.
Founded in 2007, FNDC (Friday Night Drinks Club) is a group that meets weekly at public houses within Wollaston. Each member offers a topic of interest for discussion. The group meets from 7pm at The Princess public house and welcome new participants. A friendly and open collective, the group is well known for supporting local hostelries.
Wollaston is home to the locally famous "Wollaston Illuminations" in Leonard Road in the village, where the annual Christmas lights attract people from all over the Black Country to raise money for a chosen charity. The Stourbridge celebrity Johnny Briggs, who played Mike Baldwin in the ITV soap Coronation Street has switched the lights on several times over the years, and they are often featured on the BBC Midlands Today news program.
In 2006 many of the residents of Leonard Road decided to cancel the illuminations as a protest to hot food and drink vendors 'cashing in' on the fundraising event which in past years, has raised large sums for charity.
- A History of Wollaston, H.O.W. Group ISBN 0-9547053-0-0