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The Moon Under Water

Take a look at old photographs of Wolverhampton’s Grand Theatre.

53–55 Lichfield Street, Wolverhampton, West Midlands, WV1 1EQ

The author George Orwell wrote an article in the London Evening Standard about his favourite fictional pub which he called The Moon Under Water. When Wetherspoon’s chairman, Tim Martin, had around seven pubs in London, a journalist visited one of them and told Tim he liked the pub and that it was similar to the pub envisaged by George Orwell – in essence, a pub with a good atmosphere, good real ales, food and no music. Tim decided that it was a great name for a pub; in the following years, several were given this name.

A print and text about The Grand Theatre.

The text reads: The Grand Theatre opened on 10 December 1894 and has since outlived all its rivals, including The Star Theatre in Bilston Street and The Empire Palace (later The Hippodrome).

In the early days The Grand Theatre played host to the famous and the soon to be famous. The renowned actor, Sir Henry Irwing appeared in several productions here.

In 1903, the 15 year old Charles Chaplin was the ‘call boy’ at The Grand, a job he almost lost after roping together dressing room doors and interrupting the performance. He also appeared on stage as Doctor Watson’s page boy in Sherlock Holmes.

The Grand became the venue for a different kind of spectacle in 1909, when a group of Suffragettes interrupted a men only gathering addressed by Winston Churchill.

Nine years later, the Prime Minister David Lloyd George, addressed a full house when he opened the general election campaign of 1918. In his speech he said that the task facing the nation was “to make Britain a fit country for heroes to live in”.

Having recently celebrated its centenary The Grand Theatre, now one of the best equipped in the country can look to the future with confidence.

Photographs of aspects of Lichfield Street.

Top: The Grand Theatre
Right: The Victoria Hotel
Below: All shops and no traffic, Lichfield Street around 1900.

A photograph of Lichfield Street, Wolverhampton, c1908.

A photograph of Queen Square, Wolverhampton, c1908.

If you have information on the history of this pub, then we’d like you to share it with us. Please e-mail all information to: