One of the oldest inns in the town
Proceeding up Bell Street (or Hollow Lane as it was called), at the right hand corner at the top on entering Snow Hill is the Coach and Horses and lower down the Peacock united of late with the Swan.
The earliest record of the pub goes back to 1794. It was a famous coaching inn and travellers could go in from Snowhill entrance, change horses and out onto Bell Street.
The extensive stabling at the pub was used to house most of the horses that went to the races. it was called the Peacock and Turf Tavern. Alec Leach was the ostler and Mr Perry the licensee and after Perry’s death Leach took over the charge of the yard. He made a lot of money doing this, partly from the racing fraternity and in 5 years had enough money to buy the Coach and Horses.
In 1832 supporters of the Repeal of the Corn Laws and the Reform Bill of 1832 gathered on land in front of the Peacock one summer morning and marched to Birmingham. The band that marched was 50,000 strong by the time it got to Birmingham and 3 miles long. They joined the Reform Demonstration under Joseph Attwood on Newhall Hill.
(Wolverhampton Chronicle 1862 'Wolverhampton 60 years ago)
H. Kendrick, aged 32, was coming out of the Swan and Peacock yard on horseback. The horse shied and Kendrick fell on his head and was killed instantly. The deceased had been abroad with the Lancers for some years and had been invalided home. He had only been in the town a fortnight. The deceased was single and the youngest son of the late David Kendrick, former Mayor of the town.
Richard Pearson Kendrick, brother of the deceased, furnace manager, said the deceased had been in India. He had not seen his brother for four years and read of his brother’s death in the Express & Star. The deceased was sometimes given to drink.
Harry Manning, boots at the Swan & Peacock, was near Craddock’s shop on Snowhill when he heard a scream and saw the deceased on the ground. The horse belonging to Mr Wright, car proprietor, was quiet.
Mr Choldmondeley, house surgeon at the hospital said that the deceased was unconscious when admitted. The deceased had a fractured skull, certainly, but whether that was the cause of death or blockage of the airways he couldn’t say.
Henry Williams who rents the yard at the Swan and Peacock and is a cab proprietor, said he saw the deceased come into the yard and he was swaying. When he left he was over the horse’s withers. The horse didn’t shy but as it turned into Bilston Street the rider fell off the right side like a lump of lead.
The Coroner said that this was rather a peculiar case because there was a fracture of the skull but death was caused by asphyxia. The deceased probably had a fit, he said.
The jury said that in their opinion death had nothing to do with drink but the fall followed a faint or fit.
Wolverhampton Chronicle 18 July 1894
Charles James Voss was found drowned in the canal between Wightwick and Compton. The inquest was held at the Swan Inn, Compton, where the body lay. Mr Voss was a single man who lived in St John’s Square.
Mr H. Underhill, Town Clerk and Clerk of the Peace of Wolverhampton, identified the body and said that Mr Voss had been his oldest friend. He had never considered that Voss would have been injured by anyone and nor did he consider that his mind was affected. On the contrary, Voss had a sharp intellect and was very accomplished. He had suffered two bouts of illness. He was seized suddenly and had to be carried into the Peacock Inn where he was laid up for six weeks.
Joseph Challinor, a boatman employed by the Staffordshire and Worcestershire Canal Company and living at Compton, found the body between the mill lock and flood gates between Compton and Wightwick where the water was about six feet deep.
Henry Hodgkins, a boatman from Penkridge, was on his boat when the deceased walked by. They bade each other good night and then the deceased walked on towards Compton. He stopped at one point and looked over the meadows and then went on.
Sarah Howell, who lived at the Mermaid had supplied the deceased with bread and cheese and a glass of ale. He stopped for ten minutes and then went to the canal side. The canal was dry. He came back and had two glasses of gin and water, a glass of whisky and water and a cigar. He said he had come to fish but the canal was dry. He had no fishing rod with him.
Robert Evans who lives at Mr Devey’s, Castlecroft, said about four o’clock on Thursday the deceased had called at Castlecroft for a glass of ale. They were about to have tea and the deceased joined them and stayed for about two hours. Some people were catching fish on the other side of the canal and the deceased left the group and went to the brook as though he were looking to see if there were any fish. There was nothing unusual about his behaviour or appearance.
Dr Steward said that Voss had been his patient for more than 20 years. He thought that the deceased had had a seizure and would therefore be unable to help himself. He was a good swimmer so had he fallen into the water accidentally he would have been able to save himself.
Police Sergeant Billet was called to the body and examined the man’s pockets which contained letters, a gold whistle, some money and a pair of spectacles. The Coroner said that he did not want the letters read out in court if they were private. Since they were of this nature and disclosed nothing about the deceased’s state of mind or cause of death, they were made available to the Jury if they wished to read them.
The Coroner advised the Jury that they could return a verdict of accidentally drowned, but there was no evidence to that effect, nor was there any hint of violence. The verdict of ‘Found Dead’ was returned.
Dr Steward, his doctor, thought Voss may have had a fit and fallen into the canal but he had also been depressed having lost some relatives in the late war. Voss was an artist and had come to this town 26 years before, from Dusseldorf, where he had been trained as an artist. He came to found an art school associated with Mr B. Walton’s Old Hall factory but owing to Mr Walton’s death, found himself working as an artist in the factory itself. He was an engaging and cultured man, having studied under many famous artists and he was also a lover of music and could count Mendelssohn as one of his friends, having sung and studied with him. On one occasion Mendelssohn wrote a song specially for him. He never lacked friends but he rather lacked ambition and perseverance. He wanted days of pleasantness and ease. He had worked as a portrait painter and some years ago had become German teacher at the Grammar School and only lost the appointment as teacher of drawing, by one vote. His career became limited and he became depressed in spirits. Violence is not suspected but this is a sad end to a man of talent.
(Note: not recorded here but Mr Voss had a photographic studio.)
Wolverhampton Chronicle 26 July 1871
John Woodward, aged 37, cabman, of 10, Brickkiln Croft, employed by Mr Williams of the Swan and Peacock Hotel Yard, Snowhill. He used to drive a grey horse and his wife said he had often told her it would kill him. It had lamed another driver. It was in the habit of rushing out of the shafts and of falling down in the street.
Harry Williams. son of the owner of the horse, said that he was bedding a horse down in the stables about 11.30 on Tuesday night when he heard someone cry out. He found the deceased on his hands and knees near the bottom of the yard. He said, “It isn’t Lob’s fault; don’t blame him. I am dying.” (Lobster was the name of the horse.) The cab was in the street 20 yards away with one trace attached. He could not explain the accident. The horse may have bolted. He did not know the horse had a habit of rushing out of the shafts. It was generally a quiet horse. It was not true that the horse had lamed another man. The driver was generally sober but did sometimes have a drink. The deceased was taken directly to hospital but died going up the steps. A wheel had gone over his body.
William Henry Davies, stableman, employed by Mr Williams, confirmed the above statement and said the deceased was fond of the horse, which was quiet.
William Alfred Perry, cabman, stopped the horse; it was on the fidget. One shaft was out of the harness. Perry had driven the horse before the deceased and it was quiet but it would sometimes rush out of the shafts.
Mr G. M. Martin held an inquest at the Dartmouth Arms. The post mortem revealed a ruptured liver.
Wolverhampton Chronicle 3 January 1894
William Perry, aged 28, cabman, of the Peacock Hotel, was standing on his cab watching outside the Molineux Football Grounds watching a match. The horse moved and he fell and was treated in hospital and then went home. He complained of pains in his head and began having fits. He went back to work after about a week but then became worse and died in hospital. At a post mortem Mr Cholmeley, house surgeon, found that death was due to a clot on the brain.
The Coroner said it was a pity the deceased did not remain in hospital and keep quiet.
Wolverhampton Chronicle 6 October 1897
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