FacebookBack to Front PageLinksMemories of IndustryPersonal Memories


The Early History of Stowlawn by Frank Sharman

1. The name

Stowlawn within the old manor of Stow Heath, which covered an area from the centre of Wolverhampton eastwards to cover the whole of Bilston (but not Bradley). What is now the Greyhound and Punchbowl pub was the manor house.

Originally, it seems, "Stow” simply meant “a place" so Stow Heath meant “the place which is a heath”. But by 1066 or so it usually meant “a place connected with the church”. So Stow Heath would mean “the heath belonging to or in some way connected with the church”. In this case it must have been St. Peter’s, as St.Leonard’s was a chapel of ease only. “Lawn” comes from the Middle English word “launde" which meant a clearing in woodland or pasture land. I do not know how far back "towlawn” goes. It might be a later invention. But if it is not then it means something like “the pasture associated with the church”. The name was adopted by the council for its housing estate but was not invented by them – the land on which it was built had previously been owned by the Stow Lawn Colliery Company .

2. Council housing in Bilston before WW2

 Between the first world war and the outbreak of the second Bilston council had built two large estates, the Lunt, mainly built in the 1920s; and the Villiers estate, mainly built in the 1930s. These large estates were standard streets of houses without much in the way of community facilities in them.
Pre war council houses Pre-war council houses castle houses
Pre-war council houses Pre-war council houses – Lunt Area “Castle Houses" 1947

The council also built smaller groups of houses which included some pretty unusual designs, the houses now known as “castle houses” from the fact that their projecting staircases had the appearance of bastions along a city wall.  The date at which all these was built is not established but some of them may have been pre-war thought most now seem to have been post war. Plans exist with the name of the Borough Architect on them but it seems likely that the designs were heavily influenced by Ella Briggs (see http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ella_Briggs ).

   All building came to a halt throughout World War 2 , But at least very little housing in Bilston was lost to enemy action.

The story continues with The Development and Construction Committee