The big prize given every year by the WCHS is the Richard Rhodes award. But our newer members might not know the man behind the award…

Who was Richard Rhodes?

Richard Rhodes came from a long line of proud Wulfrunians. Richard’s Grandfather, Robert Rhodes, owned the first ever number plate issued in Wolverhampton (in 1903) and was the secretary of the Wolverhampton Automobile Club.

Robert Rhodes with the number plate “DA1”, image courtesy of Billy Howe.

Richard Rhodes himself dedicated his life to Wolverhampton and amassed an Aladdin’s Cave of treasures related to the city.

He was a member of both many societies and ran the Civic Society, who began the process of awarding blue plaques in 1983. Over the years he gave an outstanding contribution to the city and thus, the honour given in his name is not given lightly.

Richard Rhodes, with the same number plate as his Grandfather.

What is the award given for?

In the spirit of honouring Richard’s legacy, the award is given to a person who has made an outstanding contribution to promoting the local history of Wolverhampton.

Who are the previous winners?

2015’s inaugural winner was the legendary Frank Sharman. Frank has been involved with with Wolverhampton issues for decades and has helped run the History and Heritage Society for many years.

Inaugural winner, Frank Sharman

2016’s winner was the great Billy Howe. A proud Wulfrunian, who began chronicling the town some 70 years ago, Billy has dedicated much of his recent work to his excellent website, Lost Wolverhampton. His stories range from the Victorian era to the Fifties, but all are told from a very human perspective.

Inaugural award winner, Billy Howe.

2017 saw hospital historian, Roy Stallard, get the award. Having spent the majority of his life in nursing, firstly in practice, then in teaching, he began cataloguing the history of hospitals in the city. His incredible work is on show at New Cross Hospital; where instruments throughout the history of Wolverhampton’s storied voyage in medicine can be found.

2017 winner, Roy Stallard

You can listen to Roy talk about his work to me below.

Who won it this year?

This year the award was won by the incomparable Bev Parker.

Bev has one of the most comprehensive local history websites in the UK, and it just so happens to be about Wolverhampton and the Black Country! He was formerly an engineer for the University of Wolverhampton and he also runs one of the top local history events, the Penn History Fair. You can visit his website below.

Wolverhampton History & Heritage Website

(Opens in a new tab).

Here is the moment Bev accepted his award.

Bev is currently accepting exhibits for the Penn History Fair 2019; you can get in touch with him at info@historywebsite.co.uk