The decades of the 1940s and 50s really put Wolverhampton on the music map. Concerts had continued to run during the war years and from 1945 onwards the Civic and Wulfrun Halls were busy building their reputation as the place to go.
Between 1940 and 1945 concerts were given by the country's leading orchestras including the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, the National Symphony Orchestra, the Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra and the National Symphony Orchestra.
Musicians travelled to the town from Harleem in The Netherlands, Paris and Berlin as the reputation of the halls grew internationally. In 1949 the American singer, stage and film actor Paul Robeson, who later became involved with the Civil Rights Movement, performed in the town.
His visit was part of a tour of just 20 concerts in the UK and came at a pivotal time. The entertainer had been vocal about his support for communism and he had criticised the United States government and its foreign policies. Such outspoken views later led to him to be blacklisted, limiting his ability to work and travel.
With the arrival of the new decade and the birth of rock and roll, the halls became even more popular with leading British dance bands playing at the venue – many shows being broadcast on television and radio.
In June 1950 the Civic Hall was host to the iconic British ballet star Margot Fonteyn as she performed on stage with Australian dancer Robert Helpmann, who later went on to play the sinister child catcher in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.
The graceful pair performed with the Sadler's Wells ballet company and music was provided by the New London Orchestra.
The decade also saw shows from some of the world's most famous variety stars. Acts such as Danny Kaye, Johnnie Ray and Nat King Cole were among some of the greats who played here.
sorry I was late
White Cliffs of Dover songstress Gracie Fields performed at the Civic on November 30 1954, listing her addresses in the visitor book as “Capri and London.” While Britain's first teen idol and rock and roll star Tommy Steele, who visited in 1956, just leaves an apologetic “sorry I was late.”