Harrowby Road, Fordhouses
|Population||3,003 (Wobaston - 2001 Census)|
|Sovereign state||United Kingdom|
|EU Parliament||West Midlands|
Fordhouses is a suburb of Wolverhampton, West Midlands, England. It is situated to the north of the city centre, adjacent to the border with Staffordshire, within the Bushbury North ward of Wolverhampton City Council. It is the most northerly part of the city alongside Pendeford, adjacent to the M54 motorway.
Name and origins
The place name 'Fordhouses' refers to the houses situated alongside the Wolverhampton to Stafford road next to where the road crosses the Wobaston Brook. In 14th century subsidy rolls, folk living here were described as being 'atte forde'. This is the earliest known reference to people living in this area, though the nearby Wobaston place name is said by toponymists to derive from 'Wibaldes tun' - likely the early English / Anglo-Saxon 'Wigbeald', with 'tun' meaning homestead or farmstead - so the name would literally mean the farmstead of Wigbeald.
Fordhouses was struck by an F1/T2 tornado on 23 November 1981, as part of the record-breaking nationwide tornado outbreak on that day. The tornado later moved out over Wolverhampton city centre, causing further damage.
Today, Fordhouses stretches over a large area, as far south as Oxley, as far west as Pendeford, as far north as junction 2 of the M54 at Coven Heath and as far east as Bushbury. It encompassess several smaller areas, such as Wobaston, Snapes Green, the Harrowby estate & Lesscroft. The area is a mix of housing and industrial, with many rows of industrial units in the north-east along the Wobaston and Stafford Roads, such as HS Marston Aerospace & Spectre UK Ltd, with housing taking up much of the rest of the area.
Shops & amenities
There are two focal points in the central Fordhouses area - both straddling the Stafford Road. The first being the shops at Vine Island in Wobaston. Here there is a branch of the Co-Operative Food store, Fordhouses Post Office, Pete's Plaice Fish & Chip shop, Sandwich Box, TJ's barbers, the Poonian pharmacy, a Lifestyle Express off licence, and a branch of Jimmy Trims. This shopping area is now served by its own road and car parks running counter to the traffic, accessed via the Wobaston Road.
The other local shops are slightly further north on a slip road running off the southbound arm of the Stafford Road. These include a Perfect Pizza, the Fordhouses Chippy, Kitchen Factory, Wine Cellar, News Xpress newsagents, Sandwich King, K3 Hair salon and The Olive Branch, a gift shop. On the opposite side of the Stafford Road is a BP petrol station. There was previously a petrol station on the same side as the shops, but this was recently demolished to make way for new housing.
On Harrowby Road there is a small row of shops including a Costcutter store, Divas Hair Salon, Paul's Off-Licence, Yummy Yummy Rice House Chinese take-away and a hairdressers called "Scissor Sisters"
There are two pubs in and around the central Fordhouses area today. The Moreton Arms is located on Springfield Lane, which is a Marston's plc pub that specialises in food and good ale. The other is Moseley Park, a Table Table pub which also specialises in food and good ale.
Until c.2003, The Vine (Grapevine) and annexed The Old Vine pubs stood on Vine Island (lending its name to the island). These have been pulled down and modern apartments now stand in its place, with a vine shaped fence paying homage to the old pub. On the Harrowby estate is a pub called The Harrowby, which stands on the corner of Patshull Avenue and Harrowby Road.
There is also a members only social club on Pendeford / Fordhouses border, which is part of the Fordhouses Cricket Club (formerly Dowtys).
People, groups & organisations
The mixed voice choir group, The Marston Singers, are a Fordhouses-based choir group. They formed in 1961 when Keith Lloyd along with other employees from engineering company Marston Excelsior Limited set up a small choir. Though this disbanded in 1964, the choir were back in 1970 & continue to this day. Fordhouses also has an Air Training Corps squadron based on Bee Lane.
Until 2010 a second cricket club sat within the estate, giving its name to the road Cricket Meadow. The land, including that of a small farm which sat alongside, has since been developed as a housing estate called Boundary Park. The farm house itself has been kept as a part of the housing estate.
Several football teams play at the nearby Goodrich Sports Ground, located within Goodrich's works on the Stafford Road. These include Goodrich F.C. and their youth team. Wolverhampton Wanderers W.F.C. also used the ground until the end of the 2011-12 season.
- Notes on Staffordshire Place Names By W H Duignan
- 'The Place-Names of Staffordshire', by David Horovitz
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 15 April 2012. Retrieved 28 December 2011.
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