Come On Wolverhampton – Use Our History for Economic Regeneration!

I have strongly felt that our City’s history in all its richness and form should be used to deliver economic regeneration and prosperity for all. Here in the North East of the City, our Wednesfield Community has embraced its history with some gusto. Much focus on local history has come alive since the Wednesfield History Society was formed a couple of years ago. I think I can say that The Village has embraced its history with some good effect!

Wednesfield is putting into practice in a marvellous way its history, drawing attention, creating interest, and delivering leisure events based around our mediaeval and industrial heritage. The model does work, and the interest grows every month.

Let me explain .

helmetWednesfield History Society has now put on two Battle re-enactments which explain the ‘Battle of Wodensfield’ in 910AD. When Anglo Saxons stopped the Danelaw extending from the North of England.

This battle was one of the most important historical battles ever fought in England.

If the Danish Kings had won, then the chances are we would all be ordering our beers today in Danish! It was that important as a battle.

The public has turned out and the Village has welcomed this volunteer led event, with smiles and with pride. It has also signalled clearly that history does have a great role in drawing attention and creating crowds, and of course the crowds have to have refreshments, food and other services to supply them with all they require.

In short we have the start of an economic generator. I have also been promoting the Wyrley & Essington Canal, putting ad hoc Canal Festivals together.

The canal I believe is 220 years old next year. We have had numerous floating markets, plus we also have attracted the very popular Narrow Boat Cruises, to come and overnight here in Wednesfield. Last year those cruises and the casual leisure boater added some £10,000 of spend to our High Street! This year looks even better. Plus we have had a great turnout from local people, who themselves walk and enjoy and spend their money along the tow path access to leisure and retail sites.

The canal is soon to become a Local Nature Reserve. This will increase footfall again and attract extra people from all over the Country.

AS I mentioned earlier I know from the statistics that I am keeping that Narrow Boats have boosted the Village economy by an estimated £10,000 last year by NB overnights, and this year up until June we had a similar figure- so I am estimating that a £20,000 statistics is more than likely.

We are using our industrial heritage to discover new markets as we use our history to good avail.

What I would like to see now is this City Council also helping a little more. The City has already supported the resolution I placed before them in 2014.

The Resolution – At Wolverhampton City Council in 2014 The Full Council backed this resolution. It is a resolution that I placed before the City Council after I had received backing from Wednesfield residents to ‘talk up the battle’ and get the City to recognise how important this historic event was, and also to use the fact to deliver policies that will regenerate and develop the local economy.

“This City Council recognises the importance of the Battle of Wodensfield which took place in August 910 within the current City Boundaries. We wish to ensure the historic significance of this battle by declaring that the City Council flag is flown over the two day Anniversary (5/6) August  annually. We further request the City Council to investigate and report back to Cabinet, ways in which this historic event can be marked to regenerate and develop our local economy.”

I am particularly keen to find out how the City Council plans to use this important historical battle ” to regenerate and develop our local economy” into the future. I have written to the Leader of the Council, Councillor Roger Lawrence setting out these thoughts and points.

Phil Bateman

Phil Bateman is Married to Mary and lives in Wednesfield North. He was a long serving local politician having served previously on the now defunct West Midlands County Council... read more