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300 Years of the Molineux Building

Who Lived in a House like this? 300 Years of the Molineux Hotel Building

This display is to celebrate the 300 years since the original part of this building was built. It illustrates the varied history of this building; as a home, a hotel, a venue for public events, and now the City Archive.

Although the Molineux name is largely associated with the football club, its origins in Wolverhampton are due to the Molineux family. Benjamin Molineux, an ironmonger and banker was the first Molineux to reside here, and the building was passed down several generations of the family. The family lived in the house for over 100 years, until it was sold on and used by later owners for a selection of other purposes.

These documents from Wolverhampton City Archives tell a story of the building, from its beginnings as a family home, to its current use.

Brief overview of the past 300 years

Probate will of John Rotten of Oxley – 1743 – John Rotten was the first recorded owner of the house. In his will he states he would first pay off his debts of £700 to Benjamin Molineux which meant that when John Rotten passed away in 1744, Benjamin Molineux acquired the house.
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Magazine article on George Africanus – A slave,George Africanus was baptised by the Molineux family in 1766. He was later granted his freedom and moved to Nottingham, becoming a successful and respected businessman and landlord there.
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Sale Catalogue of House Contents – 1856 – The Molineux Family lived in the house for over 100 years. In 1856 Charles Edward Molineux sold the house and auctioned the contents – this is the sale catalogue.
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Poster for Molineux pleasure grounds – 1856 – This is a poster for the pleasure grounds in front of the building (now the rear), for the public to enjoy. This could be hired for events, such as ‘Julien’s musical fete’ in July 1856.
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Souvenir Bookmark for Exhibition of Staffordshire Arts and Industry – 1869 – This is a souvenir bookmark for the exhibition which was held in the grounds of the house for five months. Manufacturers from Wolverhampton and the surrounding areas could exhibit their goods.
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Programme for bicycle races at Molineux House – In 1870 the house began to be advertised as a venue for sporting activities. That summer, bicycle races were held in the grounds.
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Molineux House sale notice – 1886 – The house passed through several owners in a short period of time, and it was advertised in a newspaper as being for sale.
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Letter regarding letting the grounds to Wolverhampton Wanderers Football Club – 1906 – The groundsman of the gardens wrote to a local Councillor to tell him that the owner had agreed to lease the space to the football club. The football club’s stadium is still to the rear of the building today.
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Visitor Book for the Molineux Hotel building – 1906 – This is a visitor book for the hotel, which visitors signed in, offering thanks for their stay. Some guests, often performers, also added photos or drawings of themselves.
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Floor Plans of the Hotel -1963 – These floor plans show the layout of the hotel, and what each room was used for in the past. Some parts of the current layout can be compared to this.
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Wolverhampton Chronicle coverage on the state of the building – 2001 – The house was sold to a developer, with a very uncertain future, as the building was in a dilapidated state.
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Express and Star Coverage of new plans for the hotel – 2005 – The council decided to make the building the new home for the city’s Archive, and reconstruction and restoration got underway to prepare the building for this. This included an extension to create the store to hold the Wolverhampton Archive and Local Studies collection.
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Invitation to the official opening of the restored Molineux Hotel Building – 2009 – Invitation to the official opening of the new city archive to the public.
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Express and Star coverage on the opening – 2009 – This article discusses and advertises the opening of the new archive to the public.
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Coverage on the Archive receiving an award – 2016 – The City of Wolverhampton Archive receives accredited status from the National Archives.
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More reading on the Molineux Hotel History