Early Wolves grounds

06/02/2014 19:06

Only because Wton is 15 mins away using the Black Country Route, I had an afternoon in the Goldthorn Hill district today looking for the sites of the grounds of Blakenhall St.Lukes and Goldthorn Hill FC as well as the Wolves' earliest 'grounds' (fields!).

First thing I noticed was how steep Goldthorn Hill was, and the social contrast between the 4 bedroom detached Victorian houses there, and the grubby terraced houses half a mile away around the Dudley Road. I checked out the well known location of the Wolves' Dudley Road ground on Wanderers Avenue and managed to sneak around the back of some houses and take a photo of what used to be the pitch area (see website photo section). There was a noticeable slope up Wanderers Ave, I would say that the ground must have had a 6 foot slope from top to bottom, and was notorious for being very muddy and with only one tiny stand to protect the spectators.

Of more interest to me was finding the locations of the Wolves' two earliest fields, the Old Windmill Field and John Wrights Field facing the Niphon Works which still stands despite being almost derelict yet imposing. I was also keen to have a good walk around Goldthorn Road for down there used to be the old Orphnage Asylum. I was delighted to find this impressive building, and more so to find that it has become the Royal Wton Grammar School ! The reason here, is that Goldthorn Hill FC-one of the 2 teams which merged +evolved into the Wolves-played 'on a field by the Orphanage'. Studying old maps, there were only 2 possibilities: a field across the road (which almost touched the Windmill Field) and another on the corner where a wonderful row of quality terraced mews houses was built. The field by the mews houses was in a considerable dip with old trees etc, and so I have eliminated that as the Goldthorn ground, which leaves the field facing the orphanage which today is behind the caretakers house which has an astropitch next to it. This means that Goldthorn Hill and the Wanderers played almost in the next field to each other circ 1879-81. St.Lukes FC ground-said to be in a field near Sir Alfred Hickmans house on Goldthorn Hill- remains an enigma as after days of scrutinizing 1887 maps of the district, cannot be found, even though I know it was a huge detached property known as Mount Pleasant.