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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 ‘Moon Under Water’ was the name of the ideal pub imagined by George Orwell. The famous writer described his fictitious pub in a newspaper article. In late Victorian times, a furniture ‘emporium’ traded on this site. It was later divided into smaller shops, one of which was the Co-operative Society’s drapery store. The ‘Co-Op’ later took over all of the shops. The redeveloped premises opened in 1931. Its new, bigger café is now The Moon Under Water.

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: