Wednesfield is a small Black Country town located in the historic county of Staffordshire, on the eastern side of Wolverhampton and historically and functionally part of the city, being named within the foundation charter for Wolverhampton as being part of the city.
It is historically known for the manufacture of traps, including man traps; as well as for being the location of a major battle between the Vikings and Saxons in AD910.
Wednesfield on the 1923 MoT Map
Wednesfield in 1950-51
Until the 1950s, Wednesfied was a mostly rural area, and so at the commencement of classification in 1922, there were no Class I routes through the central area and only a single Class II route, although A454, A460 and A462 all passed near to the historic parish boundaries. The main route from Wolverhampton city centre was then given the Class II number B4155, a situation that lasted until 1927 when the main route was upgraded to A4124. In the early 1930s, the main north-south route through the area was also upgraded, but in this case to Class II, B4484.
Beyond new local access routes and housing estates, there was no major route construction within the area until the 1970s, with the construction of Lakefield Road to the east of the centre, which very quickly became part of B4484. Indeed, at a glance a map of Wednesfield from 1970 looks almost identical to that from the 1832 Reform Act maps, save for the aforementioned expansion of the urban area.
Traffic congestion through the centre was a common issue, made worse by the many steep original bridges necessary to cross the Wyrley and Essington Canal which winds its way around three sides of the town centre; and by the narrowness of roads such as Rookery Street, which was still part of A4124. An initial proposal in the mid-1980s to bypass and pedestrianise High Street would have seen the A4124 diverted via Alfred Squire Road and Neachells Lane. However, this would not have solved the issues along Rookery Street and would have introduced a new issue that all through traffic would have been forced to turn right across the steep Pinfold Bridge at the eastern end of High Street. This proposal was not implemented, and instead an alternative became available with the closure of the section of the Wolverhampton and Walsall Railway in the area in the late 1980s. Whilst the railway line had been severed by the contruction of M6 to the east in the late 1960s, the trackbed was left intact between Wolverhampton and Wednesfield in order to serve the industrial area to the south of the town until even this usage ceased. Plans were drawn up to convert the trackbed for road use, and the new A4124 Wednesfield Way bypass opened in the early 1990s, finally allowing the pedestrianisation of High Street.
In the Staffordshire County Development Plan of 1951, there is a new route listed as planned from the A4039 at Ettingshall to the A5 at Brownhills via Wednesfield. This would have seen the new road following just to the east of the line of the eastern former Urban District boundary before meeting A4124 approximately at the junction with Coppice Farm Way, before becoming an online upgrade for A4124 out beyond the M6. Shadows of this plan can be seen today, for example in the gap in the urban area that is now the local authority boundary between City of Wolverhampton Council and Walsall MBC east of Broad Lane; and also in the space regularly available on A4124 for future widening - most obviously under the M6 motorway. This route appears irregularly as an improvement route over the next 30 years, before disappearing; but during that time it changes in importance from a single carriageway road to an urban motorway including offline construction to the north of New Invention, although with the narrow spaces available the latter seems somewhat unlikely.