Norm started his presentation by setting the scene with a view of Wolverhampton in the 1800s.

Wolverhampton experienced amazing changes at this time with the impact of the Industrial Revolution which along with riches for the few also brought with it the most dreadful poverty and illness. The rich got richer whilst the poor lived out their daily existence in the infamous slum area known as Caribee Island, situated in the centre of Wolverhampton. The poor and insanitary housing was both physically dangerous and a health hazard.

By the middle of the 1800s improvements to the living conditions did start to appear and by 1877 the Wolverhampton Improvement Act resulted in many changes to the cityscape with new roads laid out and existing buildings demolished.

During this time John Fullwood, from Wolverhampton became a successful and world-renowned landscape painter, etcher and illustrator.

John Fullwood was given the task of recording the story of the town’s redevelopment during the Victorian period, which he did together with other artists and photographers George Bradley Mitchell, John Reid, James Tibbetts and Edwin Hasler. They recorded Wolverhampton businesses, houses and streets using sketches, prints, watercolour and photography. They collaborated and set about putting this information together in a book which Norm introduced to us during the presentation. The book is full of delicate beautiful prints and sketches highlighting the town’s lost beauty as well as interesting social and historical documentation.

It was a fascinating presentation which showed us the value of the Artists’ role in documenting this important geographical and social history.

Many thanks from the membership to Norm Keech for an extremely informative and very entertaining evening.