A day trip to Wolverhampton had me stopping off at the local Archives in the beautiful Molineux Hotel Building. I spent hours going through past copies of The Express and Star to see if there were any adverts or articles about the bandstand in West Park.
I was trying to work out if concerts were happening there in 1946 or if they had been abandoned due to some kind of post war cut backs. I knew the bandstand had gone into disrepair during the second half of the twentieth century but I wasn’t sure when this began. I had to stay focused – much as I wanted to read about all local gossip of 1940s Wolverhampton and find out who had been scamming who, I was determined to find out something about the bandstand.
Eventually I stumbled on some adverts for concerts that were taking place on the bandstand in July and August. Various, mostly military bands from around the country would play on Sunday afternoons and evenings. You had to pay 3 shillings to get into the enclosure for music and dancing. I was really excited to discover these adverts as so far the stories depend on entertainment having taken place on the bandstands in that year. we would have been pretty stuck if we found out music and dancing was off the menu in 1946.
The Willenhall Siver Prize Band
In the archives I also discovered a short, experimental film made about West Park. There are various voices where people talk about their experiences of the park. It was interesting to hear that even in recent times, some people take refuge in the park because of racism or abuse experienced by going into town. A few older voices talked about dancing around the bandstand on wooden platforms which were built over the fields. A good specific detail which I’ll use in the stories to help embed them in the location.