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Historically part of Staffordshire, Wolverhampton is a city that grew initially as a market town, specialising in the woollen trade. From the 18th century, it became well-known for the production of japanned ware and steel jewellery, and there are many nods to Wolverhampton’s illustrious past throughout the city, from the School of Practical Art and the Wolverhampton Art Gallery, to the Creative Industries Quarter, just off Broad Street, with facilities ranging from the newly-opened Slade Rooms, to the Light House Media Centre and Arena Theatre. Wolverhampton’s biggest public art display took place in 2017 – Wolves in Wolves – which saw 30 wolf sculpture being installed in the city centre and West Park, which were then auctioned off to raise money for charity.
Wolverhampton’s visitors are spoilt for choice when it comes to interesting places to visit. The Bantock House Museum and Park is a popular day-out – a museum of Edwardian life and local history, with 48 acres of surrounding parkland. The Mander Centre is the city’s major shopping centre, while for sports enthusiasts, there’s Wolverhampton Wanderers Football Club, and Wolverhampton Racecourse, the first horseracing track to be floodlit in Britain! Plus, there are a number of notable people with associations to the city, from Enoch Powell MP and Denise Lewis, to Eric Idle and Noddy Holder, and the list goes on…
In the Industrial Revolution, Wolverhampton became a major centre for coal mining, steel production, lock making and the manufacture of cars and motorcycles. Today, the economy of the city is still based on engineering, including a large aerospace industry, as well as the service sector, with many employment opportunities in the fields of public administration, education, health, distribution, hotels, restaurants, finance and IT. The largest single employer within the city is Wolverhampton City Council, which has over 12,000 staff, while other large employers include Birmingham Midshires (banking), Tarmac, Carvers Building Merchant, University of Wolverhampton, City of Wolverhampton College, Carillion (construction), Marston’s (brewery), MOOG, Goodrich Actuation Systems (aerospace), Chubb Locks and Jaguar Land Rover.
Wolverhampton city centre forms a main focal point on the regional road network, with four motorways located within seven miles. The city’s first railway opened in 1837 (the track running through the station site is still in use), and there are also a number of suburban stations – Coseley, Codsall and Bilbrook – just outside the city boundaries. Wolverhampton’s main station is on the West Coast Main Line, with regular rail services to London Euston, Birmingham New Street and Manchester Piccadilly, as well as many other UK towns and cities. Buses in the city are run commercially by a number of operators, the largest provider being National Express West Midlands, while the Midland Metro currently connects Wolverhampton St George’s to Grand Central tram stop via West Bromwich and Wednesbury. The nearest major airport is Birmingham International Airport, which is approximately 25 miles away and can be easily reached by train, with a direct express service to it.
The University of Wolverhampton is the main provider of higher education in the city, with more than 23,000 students in residence. One of the oldest schools in the UK, Wolverhampton Grammar School, founded in 1512, is still going strong. Its old boys include Mervyn King, Governor of the Bank of England, and Sir David Wright, former British Ambassador to Japan. Wolverhampton Girls’ High School is a well-known selective school, which was attended by former English women’s cricket captain Rachel Heyhoe-Flint and Baroness Hayman, first Lord Speaker of the House of Lords, while St Peter’s Collegiate School is the oldest established educational institution currently in the state sector in Wolverhampton. Other notable historic schools include The Royal Wolverhampton School and Tettenhall College, while the City of Wolverhampton College is the principal further education college in the city.
The majority of house sales in Wolverhampton during the last year were semi-detached properties, which sold for around £160,922, while the average property price stood in the region of £185,213. On the whole, sold prices in Wolverhampton were up 5 per cent on the previous year. This goes to show the city’s appeal for those seeking a new home in the heart of the Black Country.