VICTORIA STREET (City Centre)
In a Terrier of 1609, one Nicholas Worthington occupied a “common Inn
called The Hand, in "Tunwall Street". That ancient property is
still there, but the street is today called Victoria Street. The upper
part of Victoria Street was later named Cock Street, after the
Cock Inn, and the lower part, between Bellcroft and Salop Street, was
called Boblake. The street became Victoria Street after the visit
to the town by Queen Victoria in 1866.
Chris Upton says that "in medieval times this was Tunwalle Street,
sometimes wrongly associated with the fortifications the town never had.
The name in fact refers to the Town Well, which lay just behind the Cock
VIEWLANDS DRIVE (Wightwick)
Named after a large house off Wightwick Bank which,
at the time this road was built up, was called Viewlands. The
drive largely follows the line of the original carriageway from
Bridgnorth Road to the house; the original lodge still stands on
the corner. Viewlands was originally called Elmsdale Hall and was
owned by, amongst others, Sir John Morris, Colonel Henry Loveridge and
Jesse Varley, who embezzled vast sums from the Borough Council.
In 1919 it was owned by a Miss Swift who changed the name to Viewlands,
presumably to avoid the unpleasant associations with Varley. The
house kept that name until it was converted into flats, about 1990, when
it reverted to Elmsdale.
VILLIERS STREET (Blakenhall)
Charles Pelham Villiers was the longest serving MP in Parliamentary
history, serving continuously for thirty-three years. He was born on
January 9th 1802, his father being the Hon George Villiers, a
nephew of the Earl of Clarendon. He entered St John’s College Cambridge,
obtaining his degree in 1824 and studied to become a barrister in
Interested in politics, he campaigned on free trade as a candidate for
Hull, but was defeated. In January 1835 he was invited to stand for
Wolverhampton as a Whig and was at first well received. He then failed
to turn up to further election meetings and was almost in the process of
being replaced when he appeared. The other candidate stood down and
surprisingly Villiers was elected.
Villiers proved to be an ardent member of the Anti Corn Laws League which
succeeded in their aims with the repeal of those laws in 1846. However
it was not until 1896 that he was finally recognised as ‘The Father of
Free Trade’ by the Cobden Club. A statue of Villiers, designed by
William Theed RA, in Sicilian marble and now in the West Park, was made
It formerly stood on Snow Hill, where it was locally known as ‘The
It was suggested that the new West Park might be named after Villiers but
he sent a bandstand and characteristically did not turn up to its
inauguration. Villiers never married and died 16th January
1898, still in office and having refused a peerage in 1885.