Charter of Incorporation
After considerable public
dissatisfaction with the Town Commissioners, a petition
was signed by 108 of the principal householders, and
presented to Mr. John Hartley, the Head Constable,
asking him to call a public meeting to consider the
possibility of petitioning Parliament and the Queen to
ask for the granting a Charter of Incorporation for the
The application was made, and in
August 1847 the Privy Council instructed Captain
Warberton to hold an inquiry about the petition. The
official inquiry was held in the assembly rooms in Queen
Street, now a public house. The inquiry lasted for two
days, and as it came to an end it was apparent that
the desire of the people for an elected council had won
The Wolverhampton Charter of
Incorporation became law on the 18th of March, 1848. The
Charter describes the powers of the proposed
Incorporation, under the provisions of the Act. The town
was divided into eight wards: St. Peter's, St. Mary's, St.
James's, St. Matthew's, St. George's, St. John's, St.
Paul's, and St. Mark's. There were to be thirty six
elected Councillors and twelve Aldermen. Edward Bagnall
Dimmack, Ironmaster, was to act as Returning Officer for
the first Election, which was held on 12th, May, 1848.
Polling Booths were generally empty
shops or houses, and each candidate supplied the
electors with voting papers, with his own name and the
names of those candidates for whom he wished the elector
to vote. The elector was instructed to cross out any
name he did not vote for, sign the voting paper, and
personally hand it in to the person appointed by the
Returning Officer, who inquired if the voter was the
same person whose name was on the list of voters. If so,
the paper was kept, and the vote recorded in the poll
The election results were declared
in the Queen Street assembly rooms, and were as follows:
|St. Peter’s Ward:
John Cholditch, wine merchant, 301 votes.
William Fleming Fryer, banker, 287 votes.
Joseph Underhill, ironmonger, 278 votes.
William Warner, Jun., draper, 253 votes.
Joseph Bridgen, bookseller, 235 votes.
William Wallace, veterinary surgeon, 219
||St. John’s Ward:
Jeremiah Wynn, factor, 228 votes.
Sidney Cartwright, toy manufacturer, 217
Samuel Walker, factor, 205 votes.
Henry Crane, factor, 200 votes.
Alexander Walton, factor, 198 votes.
Henry Walker, maltster, 187 votes.
|St. George’s Ward:
George Lees Underhill, ironmonger, 189
William Ward Andrews, ironmonger, 183 votes.
Edward Griffin, rope manufacturer, 173
Thomas Moss Philips, solicitor, 157 votes.
John Langman, pawnbroker, 153 votes.
William Robinson Lowe, chemist, 118 votes.
||St. James’s Ward:
Thomas Aubery Hales, merchant, 260 votes.
Charles Clark, ironfounder, 243 votes.
James Shipton, carrier, 226 votes.
James William Weaver, carrier, 224 votes.
James Bradshaw, grocer and miller, 220
John Neve, ironmonger, 200 votes.
|St. Paul’s Ward:
Edward Perry, Japanner, 163 votes.
Edward Hayling Coleman, surgeon, 155 votes.
Thomas Randle Andrews, draper, 134 votes.
||St. Mary’s Ward:
William Haynes, publican, 134 votes.
Joseph Walker, nail manufacturer, 97 votes.
Thomas Gatis, surgeon, 81 votes.
|St. Mark’s Ward:
Moses Ironmonger, twine manufacturer, 79
George Benjamin Thorneycroft, ironmaster, 74
George Robinson, solicitor, 72 votes.
||St. Matthew’s Ward:
John Perks, toolmaker, 161 votes.
John Barker, ironmaster, 159 votes.
Thomas Walker, factor, 156 votes.
The first Council meeting was held
in the Queen Street assembly rooms on 22nd May, 1848.
All the new councillors were present, and George
Robinson presided. The following Aldermen were elected:
George Robinson, John Barker, Thomas Randle Andrews,
Henry Walker, John Neve, Joseph Walker, Joseph
Underhill, Thomas Gatis, Sidney Cartwright, Jeremiah
Wynn, William Warner, and Henry Crane.
Finally the following additional
councillors were elected:
Mr. Joseph Farmer, iron merchant; Mr. George H. Perry,
Japanner; Mr. Thomas Bolton, solicitor;
Mr. William Corns, coffee mill maker; Mr. T. F. Meyrick,
architect; Mr. R. Walton, builder;
Mr. Thomas Cherrington, gentleman; Mr. Stephen Evans,
miller; Mr. Joseph Waltho, factor;
Mr. Charles Corser, solicitor; Mr. John Hartley,
ironmaster; and Mr. William Fleeming, chemist.
Mr. G. B. Thorneycroft of Shrubbery
Ironworks was elected as the town’s first Mayor at a
council meeting on 22nd May, 1848.
Moving forward to 1948 and the commemoration of the
Events included a Centenary
Luncheon at the Civic Hall on Thursday 20th May, 1948,
and the Wolverhampton Centenary Pageant, also held at
the Civic Hall. The three hour-long pageant telling the
story of Wolverhampton’s history ran from Saturday 22nd
May, until Saturday 5th June. What follows is taken from
the pageant souvenir programme.