is 100 years ago today that the Mayor of Wolverhampton, Councillor Thomas Austin Henn, launched his tree planting scheme that dedicated each tree to “the memory of the brave men who died to make the world freer and brighter”, commemorating Fallen Wulfrunians of the First World War.
However, due to public health concerns, this event went ahead early, although further events will be held later this year. This will involve pupils from the local school involved in the planting.
All Saints School was absorbed into Grove Primary School, in nearby Caledonia Road, and their Headteacher, Ben Davis, wants to involve present pupils in the rearranged commemoration, alongside a special schools pack linking All Saints and other plantings near their school to current initiatives to plant more trees.
At the 1920 planting the Mayor was with his children, Mr T. Wesley Henn (John Henn’s grandfather), Frank and Molly. In his Mayoral address on 10 November 1919 he said he would ask for money to plant 1,000 trees chiefly in streets “which were drab and dreary monotony”. He said it would cost £1,200 – nearly £61,500 in today’s prices – with Wolverhampton people, particularly pupils, parents and staff of schools, raising the money.
The anniversary came to light in a chapter written by Jim Barrow on Wolverhampton’s memorial trees in a new book, Wolverhampton’s Great War 1914-1921, published by the Wolverhampton Society.
Special thanks go to ASAN Gardening Club members, Shobha and the staff at ASAN, to Jim Barrow, Councillor Zee Russell, Councillor Sandra Samuels, John Henn of TA Henn Jewellers, and Dr Paul Darke of the Outside Centre for providing the trees.
Short Video by Jim Barrow
Wolverhampton’s First WW1 Memorial Trees
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