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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9 Comments

  1. Tweets that mention The highrise and fall « BrownhillsBob's Brownhills Blog -- Topsy.com  December 11, 2010

    […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Brownhills Bob, The Edditer and Stuart Williams, Local History Centre. Local History Centre said: RT @BrownhillsBob: The highrise and fall: http://wp.me/pvAxA-Y6 […]

     
  2. Past trucking « BrownhillsBob's Brownhills Blog  December 16, 2010

    […] in the 1950′s, were spent in the Anglesey Arms on the Watling Street opposite Howdles Lane. A block of flats were built on the site after the demise of the public house. These flats have recently been demolished and all that remains now is a compound of green […]

     
  3. New homes planned for Brownhills | BrownhillsBob's Brownhills Blog  November 17, 2012

    […] here still leaves a huge amount of land undeveloped in Brownhills town centre – the sites of Bailey House, Silver Court Gardens and Wessex Close, not to mention the sites formerly occupied by garages […]

     
  4. High-rise histories – can you help a local historian? | BrownhillsBob's Brownhills Blog  August 17, 2013

    […] love to see locals involved in this project – We still have Humphries and Severn houses, but Waine and Bayley house, together with the tenements of Silver Court Gardens are lost, and with them, the community and experiencers they […]

     
  5. Beyond the flames | BrownhillsBob's Brownhills Blog  February 9, 2014

    […] that’s Waine and Bayley House under construction. Both blocks were demolished in 2004; Waine, on the right, was replaced by Knaves Court, and the site of Bayley House has just had […]

     
  6. Application submitted for large Brownhills housing development | BrownhillsBob's Brownhills Blog  June 12, 2014

    […] Court Gardens – once the fifth most deprived housing estate in the country – was steadily vacated and demolished ten years ago, and has stood empty and unused ever […]

     
  7. Living on the skyline | BrownhillsBob's Brownhills Blog  September 14, 2014

    […] the meantime, If you have any memories of high rise or maisonette living in Brownhills, please do comment here. It’s a sadly ignored bit of our collective culture, and I’m so […]

     
  8. Plan for 200 new homes in central Brownhills approved | BrownhillsBob's Brownhills Blog  September 21, 2014

    […] to finally redevelop the wasteland in Brownhills that was once Silver Court Gardens, the notorious tenement maisonette estate that was demolished in 2004, into over […]

     
  9. Open Mike | BrownhillsBob's Brownhills Blog  April 19, 2015

    […] I think from the 1990s, mostly, with the derelict trotting track stadium, Chasewater play area and Silver Court Gardens being seemingly of that era. The Warreners Arms is captured in transition between being a pub, and […]

     

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