Billy Pace was a local Labour councillor for Bradley until he met a tragic death in a fire at his home in Bradley.

(Tom Larkin)


Penn House was the name of a large house of the Victorian period situated on the Penn Road. It was the home of Samuel Wells Page.

Mr Page, a solicitor, was the Official Receiver for the Town. He was a Governor of the Royal Orphanage for 42 years and the Chairman from 1910 to his death in 1933. He is commemorated on a brass memorial in the north aisle of St Bartholomew’s church.

Penn House, and its neighbour Penn Court, built by William Hanbury Sparrow, were demolished shortly after the First War. There remain sections of fine Gornal sandstone garden walls. One of these meets the pavement on the Penn Road. At the foot of the wall next to telephone marker is an old Penn Parish marker stone.  

(Peter Hickman)

PIPER’S ROW (City Centre)

Named London Row in Taylor’s 1755 map, it was bordered by Piper’s Croft and Piper’s Meadow, which stretched from Lower Berry Street to Bilston Street.  

(Peter Hickman)

"Piper's Croft and Piper's Row probably owe their origin to a 15th century chaplain of St. Peter's called John Pippard who, in May 1402, was inducted as the perpetual chaplian and warden of a hospital in the town, and conceivably close to the street which now bears his name".

(Chris Upton, "A History of Wolverhampton")

PORTOBELLO (Willenhall)

Portobello was a small hamlet on the Wolverhampton Road to the east of Willenhall. It is named after the naval victory of Admiral Edward Vernon (1684-1757) who captured Portobello, on the Isthmus of Panama, on 22nd November 1739. ("Portobello" is Spanish for "beautiful port"). 

Admiral Vernon was a distant cousin of the Vernons who lived at Hilton Hall in Essington, and the Portobello Tower was erected in the grounds of the hall to mark the occasion. A street in Portobello also takes the name of Vernon Close.  

Presumably the Vernons owned the land on which Portobello was built.  

(Peter Hickman)

The Summer 1988 edition of The Bilstonian (a short-lived magazine produced as part of a job creation scheme) asserts that Admiral Vernon was known as Old Grog because he always wore a cloak made of grogram, a coarse fabric of mohair and wool.  He ordered the navy's ration of rum to be diluted 1:2 with water and the mixture became known as Grog.  If you drank too much of it you became groggy.  (As far as street names are concerned, this is irrelevant.  But it is interesting).

(Frank Sharman)


In medieval times ‘forests’ included villages, cultivated land and wastes as well as woodlands. In December 1240, in a dispute between Robert de Essington and Robert de Wyston, and the Dean of Wolverhampton, there is a definition of the boundary of The Priest Wood. This was about three and a half miles south to north and about a mile wide. It lay from the Essington boundary to the Bilston boundary. In Plantagenet days Prestwood was the whole eastern half of Wednesfield. Today it is about 180 acres between Blackhalve lane and Linthouse Lane.  

(Peter Hickman)


Named after the Rev. William Prosser, who was curate and vicar of St. Luke's, Bilston, from 1877 to 1911.  His sister, Eleanor Bond Prosser, also took an active part in parish affairs in the 1880s.  (His mother, Sophia Prosser, was a writer of novels and fables). 

There is also a Prosser Street in Wolverhampton, off the Cannock Road, but it is not known if there is any connection between the two streets and names.

(Jill Loach)


Tom Cope's "Bilston Enamels of the 18th Century" devotes several pages to the Proud family, noting their rise from an 18th century shoemaker to "Samuel Proud, gent.".  The family were best known for keeping a house for lunaticks, which they seem to have done with a great deal of decency.  The last Proud he notes is Major Samuel Proud, an officer of the local militia, a qualified medical man ministering mainly to the "mentally sick", and the owner of a large house and land in Mount Pleasant ".  Cope comments that "The present Proud's Lane is in the immediate vicinity".

(Reg Aston)

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