From 1845 until 1849 times were
hard in Ireland because of the potato famine, which
caused mass starvation and disease, and led to around
one million deaths. Many people emigrated, some coming
to Wolverhampton, particularly from County Galway,
Roscommon and Mayo. They were very poor and so the area
of cheap housing around Stafford Street was very
attractive, especially because of the large number of
jobs on the doorstep in the expanding iron and steel
By 1871 there were over 2,000
people in the local Irish community, many living in
squalid conditions around small unpaved alleyways
containing stagnant ditches filled with sewage.
dirty water in the ditches led to the spread of cholera
and typhus. The area gained a bad reputation and became
known as Caribee Island after Carribee Street, which
later became Westbury Street.
Wolverhampton took advantage of the
Artisans’ Dwelling Act of 1875 which empowered local
authorities to pull down slums and build decent
accommodation for working class families.
acquired at Springfield for that purpose. The Act was
implemented in 1881, when the old slums were demolished
and the area was quickly redeveloped.