16 September 2013

Spotted: Wolverhampton

We've all got places that we can associate with, if we've been to college there or just happen to call home, I call Wolverhampton a place for both situations. Wolverhampton, a city that's certainly gone through the mill. The strains are still apparent for this city but she's got a comeback plan! If you love Wolves look away because you know this is going to be real. 

Wolverhampton is a city that doesn't receive positive press but deep down I know that she is a diamond in the rough. Keeping things straight If I have to throw shade on Wolves I won't hesitate. Wolverhampton's a city that has many qualities and quirks that set it apart from other places in the West Midlands but things have changed. I have spent a lot of time away from Wolverhampton due to moving to Birmingham for university and to America to work, upon my arrival back to England I was looking to reconnect with the Wolverhampton that I had once known. Being a Birmingham and New York City boy hasn't changed my stance on Wolverhampton. Tough love and a healthy wedge of investment is what she needs! Trust and believe. 

Queen Street, the gateway to Wolverhampton's main shopping amenities. Things might look normal from the photo that has been captured to the left but over recent years life hasn't been too kind to the retail of Wolverhampton's city centre. Home is home but after Woolworths closed down the Mander Centre has seen a quick succession of shops closing due to the economic downturn, times are definitely tough! I love a good bargain but I don't want to see a Poundland or Bargain Corner open up across from the city's Primark store. Word on the street is that new developments are coming Wolverhampton's way to help regenerate the city centre's pulling power. This blog feature originated from the infamous and full-frontal Facebook group, Spotted: Wolverhampton. 

I lived in the centre of Wolverhampton at Mooney's Irish Pub, it was a thriving Irish pub located on Princess Street that had true life and soul. No longer this public house exists, after moving out some years ago it was taken over by a new owner. More recently this once bustling Irish Pub is now a 'Paddy Power' betting shop, a stark change to what it once was but I suppose its Irish roots have been artificially been revived. I look back at my time at Mooney's Irish Pub to think I was living in a vibrant place that always had something going on, but as a child I wasn't aware of the delights that I could now take advantage of! See, I'm not completely talking Wolverhampton down to the gutter I just made a positive reference. Good memories aside it's now more common to see betting shops and payday loan stores in place of the gems like Mooney's Irish Pub. Don't dare stay on the passenger side Wolves, earn it back!

We live in a changing world but I just don't understand the way that this place is changing! Will there be a pot of gold at the end of Wolverhampton's rainbow?! The recent opening of the new Wolverhampton Bus Station has lifted the Pipers Row area of the city so that's good news. Plans for a newly built train station have circulated for the last three years or so but a change will happen eventually. Wolverhampton isn't the conventional tourist destination but with some investment and marketing I would see a fair chance for the Birmingham market allowing some growth for Wolverhampton as a destination. I for one wouldn't mind fronting a project to help my city become spotted for all the right reasons. Bring us a new train station, we'll be better connected and that's a damn fact! Life deals us tough times and good but I won't settle for this city to be turned into a hotspot for discount retailers! Wolverhampton, can you be our queen? Don't be that shady lady WV1! No!

Queens Square is the focal point of Wolverhampton from my point of view. I'm so over the Metro bridge its just grey! The 'Man on the Horse' a monument of Prince Albert that was unveiled in 1866 by Queen Victoria, it was five years after his death that this feature was brought to Wolverhampton. I'm proud that Queen Vicky came to Wolverhampton because she would have been real! The area surrounding the 'Man on the Horse' has been transformed into a modern and open square that's complete with some special features. Wolverhampton's list of royal visits doesn't stop at Queen Victoria because the divine Princess Diana came to Wolverhampton to open Bilston Street's police station in July 1992. I'm will not sugar-coat anything Wolverhampton!

I hope that the economic situations get better so a little thing called 'regeneration' pops along to help this deserving city out! All the Queens are welcome in Wolverhampton! Of course! Wolverhampton, I'm warming towards you again! During my college days I spent my dinner breaks wandering around Wolverhampton's city centre with my classmates. I dare say we made the most of the local sights no matter how amusing they posed to be. Spotted: Wolverhampton has gripped Facebook with a frank look at selected photos of people from Wolverhampton. This Facebook site has caused a lot of controversy but it's also quite playful, because who is it really hurting? Take what you want from this site but I won't stop following the updates of Spotted: Wolverhampton anytime soon!

Wolverhampton is home to a place that once made Thursday nights special. St. Peter's House was the home of the Christian Drama Club (CDC) for the three years I spent my Thursday evenings with my six friends and the best Artistic Director, I had a great time! We rehearsed for our performances, improvised from time to time and had a cheeky hot chocolate! Fond memories that I shall take on with me into the future! I genuinely have fond memories of being in Wolverhampton, it's a interesting place that has a lot to answer for! Keeping with the acting theme, Wolverhampton will always be the home of Kuumba Arts Movement. Kuumba was a Theatre Company that has transformed my confidence and introduced me to the world of acting. I will always champion Kuumba Arts Movement for continually being a professional, dedicated place to act and to become myself! You know I'm an actor B!

From hot chocolate with friends at St. Peter's House to venting my stresses for Wolverhampton, I can't help but return to the city again. At the end of the day I'm only a freelance travel and lifestyle blogger so the impact I hope to make might not even reach the surface but we all have a voice. Being a Birmingham university student I have seen the progression that the second city has received and the developments that are to be announced in the future surpass the efforts of Wolverhampton. I hope the City Council see better times but the Government needs to get in touch with the working class midlands of this country to get off their bureaucratic horses to come close to understanding our struggles. Then again the private school educated middle class politicians have never had to struggle for anything in their lives?! Think about that one Mr. Cameron! Lady Wulfruna, we need to get together, we need to save this city from itself! Wolves you're going to be fine! 

Wolverhampton ... You Haven't Seen The Last of Me!

Joseph Harrison 

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