A Grand stage for Arthur Price in the heart of England
It was back in 1865 that our founder and namesake was born in Birmingham. Not too far away almost three decades later, the Wolverhampton Grand Theatre opened its doors. Now known as one of the country’s leading regional theatres, the Grand has a rich history, much the same as our renowned Arthur Price of England.
In 1902, none other than Charlie Chaplin performed at the Grand as a page boy in a production of ‘Sherlock Holmes’ - and that very same year, Arthur Price founded his cutlery company. Since that story started 114 years ago, both Arthur Price and the Wolverhampton Grand have enjoyed decades of success.
Arthur Price himself first visited the theatre in 1927, with young Simon Price visiting the Grand in 1970 with his siblings to see a Christmas pantomime. Little did he know the basis on which he would return to the Grand in the future…
Many stars have graced the stage of the Grand over the years in addition to Charlie Chaplin, including Sean Connery in ‘South Pacific’ in 1954 and international singing star Marlene Dietrich in 1966. Winston Churchill addressed an audience in 1909, PM David Lloyd George launched his election campaign at the Grand in 1918 and Agatha Christie attended a premiere in 1958. Few places could equal such a glamorous line-up over a prolonged period of time.
Running parallel to the Grand’s visits from high profile guests was Arthur Price’s high profile exposure, supplying cutlery to RMS Titanic in 1912, winning a contract and securing a future with the Ministry of Aircraft Production in 1943, creating exclusive cutlery for Concorde in 1976, and being granted Royal warrant a year later by appointment to Her Majesty the Queen.
The early 80s saw change at Arthur Price and at the Grand, with Simon Price - who is now Chief Executive at Arthur Price - joining the family business in 1982, and the Wolverhampton Grand undergoing a large renovation and restoration in 1983, reopening to great acclaim. For Arthur Price, a second Royal Warrant was issued by His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales in 1988 - which is still retained - and a decade later in 1998, another major refurbishment saw the Grand Theatre restored to its former glory.
At a similar time, Arthur Price of England featured in a multi-Academy Award-winning film, James Cameron’s 1997 ‘Titanic’, and in 2010, Arthur Price supplied bespoke items to the newly refurbished Savoy. 2014 saw the addition of a fifth-generation Price to the team, with James Price, Simon’s son, joining the family business.
A more recent refurbishment happened earlier this year at the Grand, which included the revamp of the Dress Circle Bar, now named ‘Arthur’s of the Grand’ or more affectionately known as ‘Arthur’s Bar’, sponsored by Arthur Price – an exclusive bar, hand-crafted by two fine English establishments.
This long-standing relationship and newfound partnership will see Arthur Price and the Wolverhampton Grand Theatre enter a new chapter together as leading businesses that complement each other incredibly well. With five familial generations already part of Arthur Price’s illustrious history, many more will no doubt be linked to the Wolverhampton Grand Theatre and now, Arthur’s of the Grand; you will even find Arthur Bear sitting in pride of place by the bar.
Arthur’s Bar opened on 10th September 2016 and we have to say, it looks fantastic. The brand new and exclusive luxury bar offers seating in an open setting for you to enjoy pre-show and during the interval.
Simon Price certainly agrees: ‘I have always been a huge fan of the Wolverhampton Grand having visited for the first time nearly 50 years ago. The changes to the Grand excite me. The Dress Circle Bar is now a destination in its own right due to it being lavish, splendid and a very special experience. I don’t know of another similar regional venue which will have such a luxury setting and feel to that of Arthur’s.’
Over 1,000 pieces of cutlery supplied by Arthur Price to the bar are in keeping with the Art Deco style of the area, as well as specially commissioned silver holloware pieces including champagne buckets, coasters and cocktail shakers, all engraved for Arthur’s of the Grand.
Discover this luxurious new bar for yourself, on the second floor of the renowned Wolverhampton Grand Theatre or explore the Arthur Price cutlery and silverware ranges in our Lichfield shop.