The former home of the Molineux family, the mansion was built by Benjamin Molineux, a wealthy banker and ironfounder, on the outskirts of the town centre in early/mid-1700s.
The family remained in residence, extending and altering the property, until 1860 when the new owner transformed the grounds into a pleasure park, used for fetes, galas, exhibitions and sporting activities, such as professional bicycle racing and occasionally football. The house was also used as a hotel from this period.
The pleasure park was closed in 1889 when Wolverhampton Wanderers Football Club made the grounds their home, but the hotel continued to operate until 1979.
Left in a state of disrepair, a catastrophic fire almost destroyed the building in 2003, prompting the Council to launch an extensive restoration project with funds from English Heritage, the Heritage Lottery Fund, Advantage West Midlands and others.
The fully restored Grade II* listed Molineux Hotel Building reopened as the home of Wolverhampton City Archives on 10 March 2009, and retains (and recreates) many of the original features. Among these are the wood panelled Oak Room and ornate Rococo Room – both restored to their Georgian glory.
Storage areas maintain ideal conditions for preservation, with temperature kept between 15-20 degrees centigrade and relative humidity between 45%-65%. The areas are also equipped with sensitive smoke detection apparatus and gas-based fire suppression systems. Fragile material is protected and stored appropriately and conservation of documents is undertaken by specialists when required.
While the surroundings have changed radically since it was a family home, the remaining garden areas include period features such as an 18th century-styled kitchen garden, box hedging parterres, yew and holly topiary and seating, providing a peaceful oasis for visitors.
Find out more about who lived in the Molineux building with our 300 years of the Molineux Building digital exhibition.