The highrise and fall

It’s a sad fact that Brownhills was known for a decade or so for the grimness of some of it’s social housing. Host to four towerblocks  and lots of tenement maisonettes, hastily and badly built using the Wimpey system technique, only Humphries House and Severn House remain. For my pictures from the past this week, I thought I’d feature some of the distinctive architecture that for so long defined the skyline of our town.

It's very hard to think of the area once occupied by the prefabricated towerblocks and houses as being rural, but I geuss it was so once, as this picture proves. From 'Memories of Brownhills Past' by Clarice Mayo and Geoff Harrington.

When new, the blocks looked pristine and sharp, but they were already plagued with unreliable lifts and construction faults. The construction and growth of these buildings must have been quite a culture shock for the older residents of Brownhills. Taken from 'Memories of Brownhills Past' by Clarice Mayo and Geoff Harrington.

By 1982, when this photo was taken, the towerblocks and their environs were beginning to look quite down-at-heel. This is Humpries House. I well remember the reinforced concrete pipes installed as part of a dismal playground. Photo taken from 'Brownhills' Facebook group and uploaded by Pamela Whittaker.

The notorious tenements of Silver Court Gardens had a terrible reputation in their closing years. It's almost impossible to imagine them now, but there were five blocks in total. Photo taken from 'Brownhills' group on Facebook, uploaded by Jayne Brammer.

These grim flats were built somewhat inexplicably in the middle of nowhere, just of Deakin Avenue up on the A5. When they were built, little was here, and the only practical walking route to town was the desolate 'Black Path' - not a pleasant walk at night. I took this picture in the summer of 2007, shortly before they were demolished.

Ready for the drop - my 2004 photo of Waine House slowly being nibbled away by heavy machinery. The process took weeks and covered the area in fine masonry dust. Knaves Court stands on this spot today.

A brilliantly dramatic photo of the final days of Waine House, taken by a resident of Humphries House, and supplied anonymously.

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