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Spelling of Bilston sign spurs anger from residents

Wolverhampton | News | Published:

It is meant to be a sculpture to help people find out more about the history of Bilston. But a new piece of art work in the town has got people talking for all the wrong reasons.

The wheel structure, on the corner of the Black Country Route and Oxford Street, reads Bilston on one side but Bilstone on the other, leading critics to describe it as a "schoolboy error" by the designers.

Heantun Housing Association, which commissioned the work, says Bilstone was the former name of the former mining town and is in fact a tribute to its heritage.

Councillor Bert Turner, who represents Bilston East on Wolverhampton City Council, said the people of Bilston won't be happy with it. He said: "I have been contacted by numerous people who have pointed out that Bilston has been spelt wrongly on the sculpture. I find it amazing that something that's so wrong, or at least appears to be wrong, has ended up on the sculpture. It makes the town look stupid."

Tom Fellows, secretary of the tenants and residents association of Lower Bradley, added: "It's a total blunder. I've been living in Bilston for 66 years and not once in that time have I ever heard this town referred to as 'Bilstone'.

"The only Bilstone I can find is a village in Leicestershire so I can't understand where this has come from. I won't be the only one who thinks it's a schoolboy error either." Heantun Housing officials said they had worked with more than 100 local residents on the art work.

In a statement they said: "It is a sculpture which contains scenes from the life and work of local people in Bilston over the last 1,000 years. This includes Bilston's importance at the beginning of the Industrial Revolution in 1770 but also includes references to the town before the doomsday book when it was known by different versions of what we now know as Bilston.

"The different names on either side of the flywheel reflect the current spelling and an old spelling of Bilston and it's hoped this will encourage people to look into the history of the town.

"Local people's concerns that the spelling of Bilston is incorrect will be resolved once the interpretation panel is located next to the sculpture which is presently being prepared for its launch."

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