The Wolverhampton Society
Promotes heritage, science, literature and civic pride in the city of Wolverhampton.
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.
Meet Our Committee
Our committee was elected at the January 2020 AGM and represents a dedicated team of hard working volunteers. We are always interested in hearing from anyone who wishes to join us; please check our Vacancies page to see if you can help.
Quintin is our latest chairman, having been elected in January 2020. A former history teacher, he has been involved with numerous local societies over the years and is currently undertaking a second Masters Degree.
TREASURER & PUBLICITY OFFICER
Andy joined the society in 2019 and was tasked with redesigning the society’s website and Facebook page. He is a keen historian and genealogist, who has spent a lot of time researching Wolverhampton’s Jewish community.
Suhail was chairman of the society for a decade and has been involved in a number of local organisations. He was instrumental in the case for Wolverhampton gaining city status, as well as the Local History Symposium at City of Wolverhampton Archives.
Bill has been part of the society’s committee for the last decade in a variety of roles. He has a passion for the history of film and is involved with the Lighthouse Cinema. Bill spent the majority of his career at a local legend, Goodyear.
BLUE PLAQUES OFFICER
Barry has been involved with many local organisations over the years, as well as local politics. He has a passion for the history of the iron and steel trade. He has used this passion to great effect by working as our blue plaques officer.
Penny was appointed to committee in January 2020, adding another role to her many others! She is the current Chair and Treasurer of Friends of Wolverhampton Archives.
Phil Jones is a passionate Severn Valley Rail enthusiast and has been involved with various local societies over the last few decades. He was the primary driver bhind the saving of the Wolverhampton Literary and Scientific Society
Mick is a highly-regarded author of local history books and is primarily interested in War Studies. He has been a long time member of the society and was elected to its committee in January 2020.