This post has been written by Frank Lockley, a volunteer on the Taking Account of Our Past project. For more details on the work of the Queen Square Syndicate please see my earlier blog posts here, here and here.
A few weeks ago I had a browse through the Minute Book of the Queen Square Syndicate, reference D-SSW/2/QSS/1/1/1.
This is a comprehensive record of the Syndicate from the very first meeting of the Syndicate directors on 21st February 1907.
The detailed entries during the initial years of the Syndicate provide a wealth of information on the building and letting of the new shops, with details of the rents and length of leases.
Along with the shops in the development there were plans for a restaurant, bakehouse and a new building to re-house the pub Harleys Vaults.
Many of the existing tenants of shops were allocated new units and advertisements were placed to attract new tenants “…for high class retail business premises”.
There are a lot of entries regarding the negotiations with the existing tenants before agreements were reached.
Although not strictly needed for the project I thought it would be interesting to try and find out a little more about some of the individuals mentioned.
William Fleming was one of a number of existing tenants who made an offer for a new unit. He was a confectioner, who had been based at 31 Queen Square since at least 1900. Despite initially agreeing terms for the new unit No. 2 and the bakehouse, there seems to be some disagreement and an entry on 16th March 1908 records that he has declined the offer and requests reasonable time for him to vacate the premises. In 1912 he is in premises in North Street where he stays for a number of years.
William Allt is a boot maker, who starts trading from 26 Queen Square as well as 60 Victoria Street. He has been an established wholesale boot maker and retailer in the town for many years along with his father, also William. He is one of the first tenants to move into his new premises in May 1909. However he does not appear to have stayed in Queen Square for long, the 1911 census finds him and his family living in south Wales.
26 Queen Square is taken over by a Mr. G.C. Dean who moves his already well established tailors shop from Lichfield Street. The first recording of the Lichfield Street premises is in 1899 and the Queen Square address is occupied till 1930.
This longevity is almost matched by Ladies Outfitter Miss Annie M. Deans. She is trading at 3 Victoria Street from 1899 where she is listed in directories under “Hosiers and Haberdashers” as well as “Baby Linen Warehouses”. She is one of the tenants that the minute book records the arrangements for temporary premises during the building work. 1910 sees her at the new No. 28 Queen Square where she stays till 1924.
This is just a very small selection of the huge amount of detailed information to be found in these minute books.
Thanks to the Project they are now available to researchers in all manner of subjects, along with all the other documents that are now catalogued.
This item is currently on display in the Map Room of Wolverhampton City Archives as part of the Taking Account of Our Past project display. It will be available for use by researchers from the start of January 2013 following the end of the display.
Further details on this item and others in the Queen Square Syndicate collection can be found on the Black Country History website.