Bantock House Museum and Park, is a museum of Edwardian life and local history, with 48 acres of surrounding parkland in Wolverhampton. The house was built in the 1730s as New Merridale Farm. It was extended and improved during occupancy by Thomas Herrick about the beginning of the 19th century and renamed Merridale House. The house had several tenants but in about 1864 was bought by Thomas Bantock, a canal and railway agent. Thomas became Mayor of Wolverhampton, as did his son, Baldwin, who left the property to his wife, Kitty, when he died in 1938, on the understanding that she bequeathed it to the town. She outlived him by 16 years, yet generously gave the house and park to Wolverhampton in 1938. Having been a base for the local Home Guard during World War II, come peacetime, Wolverhampton Corporation turned the property into a museum, and the newly named Bantock House Museum opened in April 1948. A keen gardener, Baldwin transformed the farmyard into the charming sunken Dutch Garden and planted the Rose Garden, as well as creating the colourful flower borders and Woodland Garden, which now forms part of the park’s nature trail.
Reflecting the Arts and Crafts movement, and other popular fashions of the period, the interior features carved oak panelling and, in the grand Staircase Hall, six Pre-Raphaelite paintings by Frederick Shields and a cosy inglenook fireplace. Bantock House also has fine examples of English porcelain and ceramics including Delftware tiles, Royal Worcester, Bloor Derby and Myatt, exquisite examples of locally made japanned ware, enamels and steel jewellery, as well as a display of children’s toys and dolls. The refurbished late Victorian Billiard Room features information about the lives of leading Wolverhampton businessmen and industrialists, including Charles Mander and Charles Chubb, while the Upstairs Hall, Lady’s Bedroom and Day Nursery reveal more about the life of Victorian children, the role of women, and Bantock House’s servants. A varied events programme includes temporary exhibitions, history talks, storytelling, family activities, and more.
Bantock Park has 48 acres of land and includes a play area for children, a small, 18 hole golf course, a putting green, and football fields. Highland cattle were bred by the Bantock family and are believed to have roamed the grounds of the park up until around the 1930s. To recreate the presence of the cows, local craftsman Neil Watt was commissioned to create a cow sculpture, which can now be seen at the front of the house. General access around the site is good. There is level access to the ground floor of the house and conservatory and access to the first floor is via a lift. A special wheelchair lift operated by a member of staff takes visitors to the top floor. There is a large print description of each room on the wall by the doorways. There is a designated toilet (left hand transfer) on the ground floor of the house, a designated toilet inside the cafe (right hand transfer) and a third facility which is radar key operated (right hand transfer) within the courtyard. It also worth noting that although the cafe has been extended and there is separate wheelchair access to both levels, this is a popular attraction and it does get crowded at peak times. Assistance dogs are welcome.
Location : Bantock House Museum, Finchfield Road, Wolverhampton, West Midlands WV3 9LQ
Transport: Wolverhampton (National Rail)then bus. Bus Routes : 3, 4 and 714 stop close by.
Opening Times : Tuesday - Sunday and Bank Holidays 12:00 to 17:00.
Tickets : Free
Tel: 01902 552195