Dirty old town

This week, we’re taking a trip to Walsall for pictures from the past, but not just any old Walsall. Late eighties Walsall. A younger Bob could be walking these streets, I knew them so well at the time. This is a very evocative set for me, which I became aware of last weekend, when a link to it was posted on twatter by one of the local tweeting coppers – I think it was @PCStanleyWMP (PC Richard Stanley, response officer for Walsall Local Policing Unit, who also has a great blog). These images are taken from the Flickr stream of user ‘walsall_pete’ who appears to be a bus driver and sometime printer at the Lithographic. I take my hat off to him for a wonderful set of pictures, all dating from around 1988.

If Pete is passing, please do comment and say hello, but if you have any contributions, please do share them.

Park Street

So similar, and yet so much has changed. Back then, there were no steps here. From walsall_pete's Flickr photostream.

Walsall General Hospital

I can't believe a picture of this place exists. It was said that the treacherous slope out front had heating running under it to melt the ice and snow in winter, but it never worked, probably apocryphal. From walsall_pete's Flickr photostream.

Pen And Wig

The Pen & Wig. Never salubrious, but usually heaving with punters. I sa my first ever video jukebox here. From walsall_pete's Flickr photostream.

The Bridge

I honestly think The Bridge was better with the traffic. It looks like Tito's grave now. With added Burberry. From walsall_pete's Flickr photostream.

Park Street 3

Crikey, those Metro-Cammel busses. They used to stink of mould, and fill with water on top when it rained. Remember the rush hour chaos here, the computer shop on the coner of Marsh Street (used to deal in Dragon hardware I think) and the Doc Marten shop. From walsall_pete's Flickr photostream.

Park Street 2

Dixons and Currys next door to each other. Of course, even then, they were the same company. From walsall_pete's Flickr photostream.


Ah, Georgies. Not a big haunt of mine, but I went in a few times. The classic eighties young peoples pub. From walsall_pete's Flickr photostream.

Walsall bus Station

People seem oddly nostalgic for the old bus station, but it was a hideous place. I can remember it being dark, isolated and frightening at night. Usually filthy, too. From walsall_pete's Flickr photostream.

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13 Responses to Dirty old town

  1. Roger Jones says:

    Dixons and Currys in what was previously Woolworth where I was Deputy Manager between 1967 and 1969. That was before Park Street was traffic free and in Sainsbury you only had counter service.

  2. stymaster says:

    Crikey, that takes me back.

    I did used to drink in Georgies. I would hate it now, drank in the Pen and Wig occasionally too, as did my big sister.

    As to the bus station, it was a bit grim, but I’m certain it worked better than today’s weird arrangement, which doesn’t exactly feel good either….

  3. kate Goodall says:

    All our yesterdays eh?

    Spent quite a bit of time in A & E at the General as a kid, either for my injuries, or with my brother for his. Funny to see Georgies too – I worked there as a sixth-former, so may even have served you and thestymaster!

    Being reminded of the old bus station makes me think the “new” one isn’t so bad after all. Mind you, I only use it when the car’s out of action.

    Bit confused by the lack of steps to the Saddler’s Centre. I do remember the entrance being very steep when I was about 16. Perhaps they levelled that to some extent and so had to build the steps outside to match up? Maybe all that was done while I was living the student life dahn sarf.

    Nice to see these pix 😉

    • stymaster says:

      I spent a good amount of time at the General too. A bit more on Georgies: I drank there about 1987ish. Used to get annoyed by people continually putting Meat Loaf on the jukebox.

      I’m pretty sure the steps thing was as you suggest: there was a steep slope, which was levelled and the steps became necessary.

      @Roger Jones- where was Sainsbury’s? I can remember the one where part of Debenhams or Bright House is now in the old square, and the one where Asda is now, but not one near Park St.

  4. D.Evans says:

    Hi Bob

    thanks for showing the photos of Walsall from 30 years ago, or so. They have cheered me up since I have my last week’s visit still in my mind. The Victorian Arcade is a treat to the eye, but ,sadly, there is the “Overstrand” close by. Ouch!

    kind regards
    ……David Evans

  5. Linda says:

    Thanks for sharing. Brought back a lot of memories for me too. Was a regular at the Pen&Wig 79-83 during lunch breaks. They did a bostin steak sarni as I recall, always used to have one of those and half a pint following a swim at the Gala!

    Park Street is a lot more open without those awful steps but nothing has changed with regard to sale/letting signs.

    Did anyone else play spot who is going in the family planning clinic from the old bus station when they were young teenagers? Endless source of amusement for the puerile 13 yo I once was.

    As to the General, what a bloody awful waiting area A&E had. Spent many unhappy hours there due to my accident prone nature, right through until I left Walsall

  6. CAZ says:

    Great pics.
    I regularly went to the Pen and Wig on saturday night.
    Can’t believe I never went to Georgies and it’s practically on the doorstep.I’d actually forgotten about it until now……it seems to have been a MacDonalds forever….and I’ve never been in there either, but then, I do prefer my cows in a field rather than on a bun.
    As for the bus station, it was pretty dire back then but I still prefer it to the ‘new’ one. Every time I go to Walsall, the stop has changed.you’d think by now I’d have learned my lesson and check, but no….last time I went, I waited 15 minutes for the 10A at stand G only to find that it had moved yet again to K or was it J? it doesn’t really matter, it’ll be somewhere else next time I go, and yes,I had just missed it.
    What did the shop next door to Dixons sell….Mister Minit? I’ve never heard of it.
    And I’d never noticed that Park Street seemed to be on a curve……the bins are tilted.
    Keep the old photos coming Bob, they’re great for bringing back memories and many thanks to ‘Pete’ for taking them

    • kate Goodall says:

      Mister Minit was shoe repairs and key cutting I think. The curve you mention on Park Street is for drainage of rainwater. See the line of what looks like flat kerbstones to the left of the nearest bin? There’s a gap between the stones with a drainage channel underneath. There has to be a bit of a gradient to make the water run.

  7. Walsall town centre pics bring back memories. From 1986-1988 I was at Walsall College two evenings a week, which as I was also working a twenty-four hour, three shift system as a Computer Operator in Wednesbury, meant I had to call in a lot of favours.
    Before class, I used to get a toasted tea-cake and a cuppa for I think less than £1 at the Wimpy.

  8. Graeme Fisher says:

    Ah, the Pen and Wig…..
    Five ints of Bass one lunchtime and spent the afternoon asleep under the sink in the back of Frank Innes estate agents on the Bridge…

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