One of the oldest buildings in Wolverhampton centre and certainly one of the most iconic, is to reopen as a coffee shop as revealed by proprietor Charlie Causer.
19 Victoria Street has an interesting history, having survived Wolverhampton’s two great fires in 1590 and 1696 and has seen a multitude of businesses come and go. The building commonly referred to as the Lindy-Lou or the Copper Kettle was constructed in the late 1500s – shortly before the Gunpowder plot (and the hanging of some of Guy Fawkes’s co-plotters in High Green, today’s Queen Square), Shakespeare, the union of England and Scotland and with either Elizabeth I or James I on the throne. At this time, Victoria Street was called Tunwall Street and would be called Cock Street before arriving at its current name during the lifecycle of the building.
The building is one of only two remaining timber framed buildings in Wolverhampton along with the rear section of the Lych Gate Tavern. 19 Victoria Street stands on stone foundations which are now partially obscured as Victoria Street has risen over the years. The earliest records show that the building was owned by Sir Walter Leveson (1609) and was a pub, the Hand Inn, ran by a Mr Worthington. The building has more recently been a bakers, a tea shop, the Lindy Lou baby / toy shop, a welfare advice centre, clothes shop and Wulfrun Books, a book and collectables store.
The coffee shop, to be known once again as the Lindy Lou’s, promises to give a new lease of life to this much loved historic building and with careful internal renovation works recently completed, business owner Mr Causer is currently planning an opening date for Wolverhampton’s newest independent business.
Read more about 19 Victoria Street on the Wolverhampton History Website here.
Wolverhampton has something of a thriving art and craft scene, as evidenced by the west of Wolverhampton Artist’s Quarter, the amount of galleries in a relatively small area and the obvious local talent on display at the likes of Tettenhall’s Make It or Bake It street market. One such artist is Wolverhampton’s Rebbeca Haddock of Rebecca Lea Artwork & Illustration. We caught up with her for a question and answer session and a look at some of her work..
West Wulf – Tell us about you & your background..
Rebecca Haddock – Hi everyone, I have lived in Wolverhampton for most of my life, having only moved away for 3 years when I went to university. I studied for three years and gained a degree in forensic science, somewhat different to art or illustration! Despite this I have always had a love for art and can’t seem to find anything more enjoyable than sitting down with a few pens and some paper. I have spent several years working in an office environment which has been fun but is not something I have a passion for!
WW – Are you from an artistic family?
RH – We are a somewhat creative family with most of us enjoying art and crafts! My sister makes beautiful handmade cards and canvasses and my mum has a hand knitted baby clothing business that is doing really well! And I think it’s safe to say we are all working on nurturing my young nephews artistic flare!
WW – What inspired your interest in drawing, or less specifically, art in general – and do you have a favourite artist?
RH – I do not remember what first inspired me to draw, I’ve just always loved it for as long as I can remember. My parents encouraged me to do what I loved which gave me a push if I ever got slightly off track…Sitting still was always a bit difficult for me, unless I had a pencil and paper! A lot of artists and movements have inspired me over the years. A big one being Salvador Dali and the way in which he made the surreal seem so realistic! I do sometimes think that most other artists have their own distinctive style by now but I enjoy so many different styles that I haven’t found just one that beats the rest!
WW – Have you experienced any setbacks or has it been plain sailing so far?
RH – There are so many setbacks that can happen when setting up a small business from scratch, the biggest of which I find to be time. Having enough time whilst working a full time job can be quite testing, especially when it’s been a tough day at work. But the key to it is that it is what I love to do and hours can pass by whilst I’m drawing before I even realise!
WW – Do you see a positive future in Wolverhampton for artists?
RH – I definitely do see a positive future for artists in the city. I seem to see more and more independent businesses appearing nowadays which is fantastic for the city and it’s artists! Plus with international communities of artists so accessible with social media artists can get their work seen across the entire world!
WW – Tell us about your favourite creation..
RH – Now where to begin, I have so many! I absolutely love my latest wolf creations however one of my all time favourites has to be one of the simplest… the simplicity and bright colours of the picture below never fails to make me smile. Plus it took a long time to finish all those dots!
WW – As far as your business goes – where do you see your future if everything goes to plan?
RH – If everything goes to plan I see a future doing something that I love for a living. I have a little bit of love for photography too (prints of which will be on sale soon too so watch this space!) and would love to be able to travel in order to get the best inspiration for my art work and take the most breathtaking photographs!
WW – Finally – you’ve got unlimited money to spend and 48 hours to do it – what do you do?
RH – That is quite a short time, I would love to be able to spend the money going all around the world to experience art in every other culture, take amazing photographs, and let it all influence my future artwork. However 48 hours would be a bit of a push so I would experience as many places and events as I could and of course buy all of the art supplies I could possibly dream of to keep me going for a while!
Wolverhampton isn’t a miserable place. Well, we have our fair share of miserable people, but no more so than elsewhere. We’ve easily thought up 25 reasons to be cheerful that you live in Wolverhampton or are a Wulfrunian. This certainly isn’t definitive – we could have gone on and on..
- Friendly, down to earth Wulfrunians. Most of us aren’t miserable, but we are pragmatic. We also have a few famous sons & daughters
- Football, in particular Wolverhampton Wanderers – though not setting the world alight at the moment, ours is a great old club with proud traditions. We’ve also got some great non-league sides in AFC Wulfrunians, Bilston Town & so on
- Our location. We’re part Black Country, part South Staffordshire & reap the benefits of urbanism & the countryside
- i54 in Pendeford. A world class facility on the Wolverhampton / Staffordshire border
- Our past. It’s true that we were a massive manufacturing town at one time. We can hold our heads high knowing that people in Wolverhampton were so enterprising
- Our future. Things aren’t that bad. Revitalisation is taking place in the city centre & we’re witnessing the rise of some excellent independent businesses as well as big names moving in
- The Civic & Wulfrun Halls and local musicians. Regularly attracting bigger names than many larger cities do, the Halls do us proud. As do our local musicians. Birmingham & the Black Country isn’t The Home Of Metal for nothing you know..
- The Grand Theatre – a proper Victorian masterpiece, a truly classic theatre
- The Arena Theatre, the avant-garde younger cousin to the Grand, some truly cutting edge & original theatre can be seen here
- University of Wolverhampton. A world class university, it is a commendation holder from the Quality Assurance Agency – the only holder in the region as well as being a world leader in research
- Architecture. When in the city centre & beyond, look up! We have some brilliant Edwardian & Victorian buildings
- Hail to the Ale micropub in Claregate. The current holder of Wolverhampton, the West Midlands and West Midlands Region pub of the year, a great example of the micropub format
- Great restaurants. We have some great ones. Bella, Banks Bistro, Rocco, Made in Thai, Skalsa, Penn Tandoori, Indigo, Jivans, Rocco E Nero, The Hungry Bistro, Tiger Wok, Catellanis, New Spice, Bilash.. we could go on & on. We certainly won’t go hungry
- Our Anglo-Saxon roots. Most our place names derive from Old English & the Battle of Tettenhall / Wednesfield was a key victory for the allied Mercian Angles & West Saxons on the way to the formation of a unified England
- Sacre Brew, excellent craft beer brewed at a microbrewery right here in Wolverhampton. Their ‘Man on the Oss’ beer has recently been named one of the UKs best craft beers by Time Out magazine.
- The Express & Star newspaper. The biggest selling evening regional newspaper & an ever present in Wolverhampton since 1889
- Our own nature reserve – the Smestow Valley. that’s 120 acres of meadows, scrubland and woodland, a haven for nature
- Our parks. West Park in particular being a fine example of a well managed Victorian park, it opened on 6 June 1881 & provides fresh air and tranquillity to this day
- The Way – Wolverhampton’s youth zone. Not yet open, but this facility is something to look forward to for children and teenagers in the city
- Our enterprising small businesses – the Little Dessert Shop, Zuri Coffee, Wild Bytes Cafe, Cafe Metro, Broughs Brewery to name but a few. People are pushing on & Wolverhampton is becoming a hotspot for independent businesses
- We have some great schools and an excellent college – education is a priority in Wolverhampton & the next generation of Wulfrunians will have the tools needed to succeed
- Banks’s Brewery / Marstons. One of the city’s biggest employers, a key investor in Wolverhampton & landmark building
- Characters! We’ve had many down the years. Otherwise ordinary people with various quirks. The cowboy (come man of God), the Ring Road tramp (the late Jozef Stawinoga), the preacher.. which leads us to..
- ..our sense of humour. Self depreciating, down to earth – it can & does confuse people from elsewhere in the country, but we wouldn’t have it any other way
- St Peter’s Church and the Art Gallery. Both splendid buildings worthy of a visit, real jewels in Wolverhampton’s crown
What would you add? Let us know by commenting below.
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