- The stalls take shape -
I begin in the centre of Wolverhampton, Cleveland Street to be exact, where work on the city's new market site (opposite Central Library) is continuing - some of the stall infrastructure has started to appear with diggers and workmen very much in attendance. It is currently anticipated that the facility will open in July, at which point the existing market off Salop Street will close and its land will become part of the proposed Westside regeneration scheme.
- Hickman Park -
Meeting up with Stephen at 8:30am, we hop aboard the Midland Metro for a quick ride to The Crescent and then walk the short distance to Hickman Park. Named after the prominent industrialist and local MP Sir Alfred Hickman, the park opened in 1911 and still plays an important role in the life of the town. Features include a terraced sports arena, open air theatre (presented to the town in 1938), an ornate park shelter and the base of an old bandstand.
- Tennis Terminated? -
Via Shale Street and Arthur Street (passing the Guru Nanak Gurdwara), we reach Villiers Avenue which is home to Bilston Town Bowling Club. The local Lawn Tennis Club also used to be based in the vicinity but the corner with Harper Road is now an empty patch of earth, the old tennis courts and pavilion having been deemed unsafe and subsequently demolished. Further down the road is the Villiers Arms (converted to flats after ceasing trade as a pub) and the Villiers Square shops comprising a general store, a launderette and a hairdressers.
- Bilston Cemetery Lodge -
Next up is Etheridge Road which brings us quietly past the old Green Lanes post office to Windsor Street for our approach into Bilston Cemetery. The lodge building here dates from 1937 and the lawned grounds once featured a memorial to John Etheridge the local philanthropist associated with founding a Sunday School. The cemetery has some significance for Stephen too as we find the spot where his paternal grandparents are remembered.
- A not so Happy Wanderer -
Emerging back onto Green Lanes, we soon confirm D9's news about the Happy Wanderer which looks distinctly unhappy all overgrown and boarded up. We suspect the pub has been closed for some time and probably won't ever reopen, a shame given I have fond Hub Marketing memories of meeting mannequins, playing darts and supping Banks’s beers. Proceeding deeper into the Stowlawn estate, we discover a primary school mosaic on Middleway Green opposite the One Stop convenience store.
- Studying the fishing form at Grapes Pool -
Two fishing locations provide the finale to our walk. The first is Grapes Pool on the corner of Prouds Lane and Moseley Road, part of a wider area of open space that stretches off towards Moseley Park School. The second (after a wander past Stowlawn bus terminus) is Stowheath Lane Pool, a place that had escaped Mr B's rod radar until now but seems popular enough with the angling fraternity today. The 53 bus then takes Stephen back home while I finish off with pictures of the Merry Boys and Cleveland Arms to conclude another productive photographic morning.