The Giffard Arms is an unusual listed building, sandwiched between quite modern facades in the heart of the City of Wolverhampton.
Built in 1922 by J.A. Swann of Birmingham who specialised in Tudor buildings and restoration, whether stone or timber framed. The ‘period house’ is extraordinarily well done.
The Giffard family (correctly pronounced should be ‘Jiff’ similar to a once well known bathroom cleaner!), has for generations had local associations with Wolverhampton. The site once contained a town house of the Giffard family.
Basil Oliver author of The Renaissance of the English Public House, Faber and Faber, wrote ‘Somebody bothered about this building. They got an architect and craftsmen who knew what they were doing. The façade is a remarkably accurate rendering of Tudor stone buildings – it is almost repro rather than retro. One might wonder what this style is doing in this town but it does seem to fit in and add interest’.
There are four carved heraldic shields in the central panels in between the three floors of leaded windows, bearing the arms of Staffordshire and Wolverhampton with a Tudor rose and Portcullis in similar stone panels between the first and second floors. There is also a shield relating to Springfield Brewery who delivered to the pub after it was built.
Above the front doors are carved leaves and designs, and if you look closely you might even see the ‘green man’ hiding under what looks like a hat! Even the drainpipes have Tudor roses on them!
In the Dark room the windows have various stained glass bearing the Giffard family associations with the site. On both floors the rooms have oak panelling, although the bar areas have been changed around over the years, the pubs main features have remained the same since the time it was built.
Mr Swann was also responsible for the restoration in the late 1920s, of The Greyhound and Punchbowl Inn in Bilston. For those of you who don’t know, when I first met my husband Tom in 2005, he was the Landlord of The Greyhound and Punchbowl and I was the Landlady of The Giffard. As far as I am aware Mr Swann only built and renovated theses 2 pubs in this area. So definitely a connection there!
When you are outside having a cigarette just look up and see all the effort and details that Mr Swann put into the pub when he built it. Even the wooden arm that holds the pub sign has a gargoyle carved into it!