NOTE: This page is about the original city of Wolverhampton. In 1974 it was merged with some neighbouring communities to create the Metropolitan Borough of Wolverhampton in the newly-formed county of West Midlands.
The city grew initially as a market town with specialism within the woollen trade. During and after the Industrial Revolution, the city became a major industrial centre, with mining (mostly coal, limestone and iron ore) as well as production of steel, japanning, locks, and eventually motorcycles and cars – including the first vehicle to hold the land speed record at over 200 mph. Today, the major industries within the city are both engineering based (including a large aerospace industry) and within the service sector.
Wolverhampton is recorded in the Domesday Book in 1086 as being in the Hundred of Seisdon and the county of Staffordshire. The lords of the manor are listed as the canons of St Mary (the church's dedication was changed to St Peter after this date), with the tenant-in-chief being Samson, William the Conqueror's personal chaplain. Wolverhampton at this date is a large settlement of fifty households.
In 1512, Sir Stephen Jenyns, a former Lord Mayor of London and a twice Master of the Worshipful Company of Merchant Taylors, who was born in the city, founded Wolverhampton Grammar School, one of the oldest active schools in Britain.
In Victorian times, Wolverhampton grew to be a wealthy town mainly due to the huge amount of industry that occurred as a result of the abundance of coal and iron deposits in the area. In the 19th century the city saw much immigration from Wales and Ireland, following the Irish Potato Famine.
Wolverhampton had a prolific bicycle industry from 1868 to 1975, during which time a total of more than 200 bicycle manufacturing companies existed there, but today none exist at all.
In 1933, the boundaries of the borough expanded, taking in areas from Cannock Rural District and Seisdon Rural District, with very little of the surrounding urban area being affected. Only Heath Town Urban District was abolished.
The bulk of the urban districts of Bilston (a borough itself after 1933), Tettenhall and Wednesfield were added to the borough in 1966, along with the northern section of the urban district of Coseley and parts from the north of Sedgley and the west of Willenhall. The vast majority of these areas were part of the original ancient parish of Wolverhampton.
Localities in the City of Wolverhampton