Tuesday, 7 February 2012

Victorian West Park Wolverhampton

West Park is right on my doorstep. If I need to go to Town or the City as I suppose I should call it then I can go out the back way from home into Albert Road and take in a walk through West Park from the Conservatory entrance.
Wolverhampton West Park 1945

Wolverhampton West Park 2010

As you can see from the two overhead pictures West Park has changed very little in form over the last 65 years. 

For the uninitiated Google Earth added some overhead view from 1945 for some parts of the UK last year and they offer a fascinating insight into how places have changed over the last 70 years. 
On the first view you can see the old Vauxhalls area off the Tettenhall Road  which is now home to some high rise flats and you can also see the area surrounding the Molinuex which is pretty unrecognisable thanks to the god forsaken ring road. Apart from this though a lot of what was here in 1945 remains today. 

West Park, or the ‘People’s Park’ as it was then known (Tony Blair would have liked that) was opened by Mayor John Jones on 6 June 1881 on the site of the Old Racecourse. There is lots of detail on the History of the Park here.

The Conservatory is beautiful and full of interesting plants from all over the world.

The conservatory changes all year round with plants coming into flower at different times so it's always worth popping in. It's also nice and warm on a cold winters day.

The Victorians were very enthusiastic botanists and there are a wide variety of different Tree species dotted around the Park. I have to be honest I struggle to name all the English Trees let alone the imported ones but help is at hand. A leaflet called the West Park Tree Trail is available from the Lodge at the South Gate of the Park. This takes you round a trail of 17 different tree species from around the world. When the Weather gets a bit better and the trees are coming into flower I'm going to do the trail and take some pictures of the various Trees.

However as Google is available I'll run through the tree trail anyway. These are not pictures of the ones in West Park. That is for another day.

1. Cedrus Libani - Cedar of Lebanon Details
 2. Prunus Serrula Tibetica - Tibetan Cherry Details
  3. Araucaria araucana - Monkey Puzzle Details
4. Fraxinus excelsior Pendula - Weeping Ash Details
 5. Carpinus Betulus - Hornbeam Details
6. Fagus Sylvatica Purpurea - Copper Beech Details
7. Tilia Cordata - Small Leaved Lime Details
8. Swamp Cypress Details
9. Betula Papyrifera - Paper Bark Birch (Ray Mears would like  this one !) Details
 10. Cercis Siliquastrum - Judas Tree Details
11. Platanus Xhispanica - London Plane Details
 12. Metasequoia glyptosroboides - Dawn Redwood Details
 13. Ulmus 'Plantijn' - Elm Cultivar Details
 14. Arbutus Menziesii - Madrona Details
 15. Quercus Robur - Common Oak Details
     Quercus Petraea - Sessile Oak Details
 16. Tsuga heterophylla - Western Hemlock Details
17. Populus Iasiocarpa - Chinese Necklace Poplar Details
The scenes shown below remain pretty much unchanged today which is what makes West Park such a beautiful place to have on your doorstep.

Out on the Boating lake there are a wide variety of species of Ducks and I must admit a rather bruising gaggle of Canadian Geese who always seem a bit sinister to me. I still remember my Grandad getting serious hassle off some Geese down the Crooked House in Himley years ago. I've always given them a wide berth since. 
You are allowed to feed them but make sure it's Wholemeal according to the notice lol FFS !

Follow the Leader

Even in the Midst of Winter it's still a lovely place.

Conservatory Entrance opposite Albert Road

Beautiful Bandstand

1880 Bridge
Sir Charles Pelham Villiers

Charles Pelham Villiers (3 January 1802 – 16 January 1898) was a British lawyer and politician who sat in the House of Commons from 1835 to 1898, making him the longest-serving Member of Parliament (MP). Villiers was elected as a Liberal Member of Parliament for Wolverhampton in 1835. In 1837, 1838, 1839, 1840, 1841, 1842, 1843, 1844, 1845 he launched parliamentary debates in attempts to repeal the Corn Laws. Bit more info here.

Great Picture of Mr Pelham Villiers from Vanity Fair

He looks like he would fit in quite well in Modern day Wolverhampton.


West Park Tea Rooms

Tree planted for Queen Victoria Diamond Jubilee

Anyway West Park is well worth a visit. ;0)