The Wolverhampton Society can trace its roots back to 1880, with the founding of the Wolverhampton Literary & Scientific Society (known as “The Lit”). A decade prior, Charles Dickens visited the town for one of his famous readings and this inspired 13 of the town’s “worthies” to form a society dedicated to continuing the memory of this visit. The society sought to educate its members and the wider public on the science, technology and literature of the day. In its heyday, the society was so popular it packed out the Civic Hall and had a waiting list for its events.
The Wolverhampton Civic Society was initially established in 1960, with the aim of “preserving and protecting throughout the borough of Wolverhampton”. The organisation studied planning applications, trying to ensure these were sympathetic to their surroundings and supported Conservation areas and promoted their extension. For many years, the organisation was run by “Mr Wolverhampton” Richard Rhodes. In 1983, Richard, along with Rudi Herbert and Pat Reidy, oversaw the introduction of a commemorative blue plaque scheme in Wolverhampton. This has gone on to be arguably the most successful scheme outside London, with over 100 produced. Pictured to the left is Richard with Sarah King, president general of Daughters of the American Revolution National Headquarters at the 1985 unveiling of a plaque for Button Gwinnett. The Civic Society was also instrumental in driving the case for Wolverhampton gaining city status.
By the year 2010, The Wolverhampton Civic Society made the difficult decision that it could no longer proceed on its own and agreed to join forces with the Wolverhampton History & Heritage Society. The latter organisation featured a number of prominent local historians; Bev Parker, Keith Farley and Frank Sharman to name but a few. Frank (pictured to the right) was the inaugural winner of the Society’s “Richard Rhodes Award” for an outstanding contribution to local history. The combined organisation was called the Wolverhampton Civic & Historical Society, which ran from 2010 to 2020. In 2020, this organisation merged with “The Lit” to form the present day organisation, The Wolverhampton Society.
Committee Members 2021
Chairman – Suhail Rana
Secretary – Bill Kelly
Treasurer – Phil Jones
Plaques Secretary – Barry Hodgson
We are always looking for more people to join our committee.
If you’re interested please contact the Chairman on enquiries@WolverhamptonSociety.com
The Wolverhampton Society
Promoting Heritage, Civic Pride, Science and Literature in the City of Wolverhampton