marked its 100th birthday with the start of a Centenary Pageant
in May, celebrating the granting of a charter conferring borough
status in 1848.
It was also
the 1,000th anniversary of the royal grant of land to Lady Wulfruna
on which was built the church of St Peter and the early town of
actors, with 140 bit part players, staged an ambitious series of
plays on the extended stage of the Civic Hall.
traced the history of the town from Saxon times to the present and
even looked to the future through some of the town's manufacturing
a living drama," proclaimed the Mayor, Alderman Ted Lane (pictured
left) . "The glorious pageantry of a thousand years."
One of the first
major events of the celebration year was Wolves' away FA Cup game
at Bournemouth and thousands of fans made their way south for the
sent a telegram to the team saying: "Wolverhampton expects you to
celebrate this year, her centenary, by winning the Cup."
there, then . . .
in a December smog:
The West Midlands was plagued with one of the worst smogs of the
year which lasted for three days in December, leaving a trail of
havoc across the region - including a train crash.
The Black Country
alone was heavily blanketed in the swirling fog, resulting in people
arriving late for work.
down to less than ten yards on some roads. Bus and train services
were running irregularly, some up to an hour late, and some train
services between Wolverhampton and London were cancelled.
to Wolverhampton Express crashed into a light engine in the fog
at Lapworth, near Warwick, leaving a number of Wolverhampton passengers
shocked but otherwise unhurt.
The driver and
fireman of the Express escaped serious injury. The driver had cuts
to his face and legs and the fireman slight facial injuries.
by a doctor the two were taken home by a local train. The force
of the collision disconnnected the engine and the first coach of
the Express .
The impact shot
the light engine forward about 150 yards and the fireman was thrown
onto the track.
terror . . . A
theatre audience watched in horror as a daring young girl on a flying
trapeze plunged 20ft to the stage at Dudley Hippodrome in December
when the leather mouthpiece from which she was hanging by her teeth
was hurriedly lowered and a comedian was ushered to the front of
the stage to give a character sketch as the shapely flyer, Dorothy
Clements, pictured right, was given first-aid on the stage where
she lay unconscious.
a Canadian, recovered consciousness as she was being placed on a
stretcher but at first refused to go to hospital.
She was later
detained in Dudley Guest Hospital and it was found she had escaped
with nothing more serious than a broken tooth, shock and bruising.
up for a new National Health Service: Doctors
throughout the West Midlands joined up for the Labour Party's new
"cradle to the grave" National Health Service.
of the fact that they no longer had to pay for every visit to the
doctor - and not only was medical treatment free, it included wigs,
glasses and dentistry.
and district, which included Bilston, Coseley and Willenhall, reported
that, at the most, only a couple of doctors were against the scheme.
About 500 of
Birmingham's 550 doctors had asked to be included and in Dudley,
all but one doctor had adopted the free health-care plan.
mark the event, health minister, Aneurin Bevan, pictured right,
whose wife, Jennie Lee became MP for Cannock, went to a Manchester
hospital for a token ceremony where Lancashire County Council officially
handed over to the new regime.