What was lost

Following some interesting comment last week about Walsall’s old railway station, I thought I’d feature it this week. For those too young to recall, it was a handsome building with a huge, airy, circular booking hall and grandiose glass and wrought iron canopy on Park Street. It stood where Marks & Spencer does today, and was obliterated to make way for the brave new retail world of The Saddlers Centre, and it’s modernist, dingy afterthought of a rail station we now suffer.

I believe the canopy was saved for a time, but ended up abandoned and rotting somewhere in the Arboretum – why or who by I have no idea, but it’s symbolic of Walsall’s civic attitude to architecture and heritage: it’s clearly all evil and must me decimated.

I thank all the photographers featured here – please click through their images and peruse their galleries on Flickr. Without them we’d have little record of what was lost forever.

Old railway station Park Street Walsall 1978

The old Walsall Railway Station taken on 4th March 1978. I barely remember it, but I do recall the big, circular booking hall. Taken from Walsall1955's Flickr stream.

The old station had a fantastic, circular booking hall, which was all ornate plasterwork and dark wood paneling. I always felt so small there - maybe because I was. Taken from Peter Barker's Flickr stream.

I just love those roof-lights. Why did we lose such a wonderful building? From Peter Barker's Flickr stream.

Another top image from Peter Barker - the station dominated Park Street. Public transport seems to be much more prominent in the seventies than it is now. From Peter Barker's Flickr stream.

A railway station, not a canal! Walsall mid 1970's

Walsall station used to flood regularly, and there are a number of very old pictures showing this around. Didn't know it was still going on in the seventies. Wonder what stopped the problem? Taken from Walsall1955's Flickr stream.

The soon to be removed station canopy in 1978. From Peter Barker's Flickr stream.

Class 25 at Walsall

Site safety would have collective heart attacks at this today. Excellent pic taken from Park Street, through what would become Marks & Spencer, 13th October 1978. Taken from Tutenkhamun Sleeping's Flickr stream.

This entry was posted in Environment, Features, Followups, Interesting photos, It makes me mad!, Just plain daft, Local Blogs, Local History, Local media, Reader enquiries, Shared media, Shared memories, Social Media, Spotted whilst browsing the web, Uncategorized, Walsall community, Walsall Council. Bookmark the permalink.

11 Responses to What was lost

  1. ziksby says:

    I remember the station and Park Street from the late 60s when I lived in Lichfield Road and travelled to Winson Green every day. I caught a train to New street around 7.30 after getting a bus into Walsall. Its hard to remember the inside from 40 years ago as I was always in a hurry to get to the platform, down the steps 3 at a time. Then a dash for a Smethwick or Cape Hill bus.

    In the background of the flooded station photo is the old Fyffes banana warehouse. Woolworth rented this building as a storeroom and it was also prone to flooding and ruining the stock. Stock was trundled through Bradford Place to the store in Park Street on hand carts.

    The early photo of Park Street with traffic shows a bus carrying an advert for Wardair and their flights to Vancouver (via Toronto i think). I wonder how many Walsall people went? They flew out of BHX for a good few years (707s,727s and later 747s)

  2. D.Evans says:

    Hi Bob
    super photos..again..very much appreciated. Thanks, Bob. Moor Street station in Brum is a delight to visit, use, and appreciate whenever I can…its near that huge replica of a fly’s eye. What a shame we seem to have lost this beautiful Victorian station and its fine iron and glass canopy.
    best wishes
    David Evans

  3. DocDelete says:

    Makes me want to weep.

  4. Chris says:

    What a waste. Would have loved to have seen it, by the time I arrived here in 1993 most of the damage to the town already seems to have been done.

  5. stymaster says:

    Fantastic photos. I can’t remember the old station, sadly, or that other great loss, the George Hotel, though I do remember the Saddlers Centre being built. I suppose at that age you have less interest in your surroundings.

    Regarding the flooding, I remember that. It used to cover the tracks at the bridge by Hatherton Rd multi-storey car park, and the dip under the tracks at Bridgeman St used to flood regularly.

  6. Tony Martin says:

    The flooding was cured by the sewr tunnel dug under Walsall, taking much of the water from the Brook.
    The station featured in these photos was built in 1922-3, replacing an earlier building burned down in 1916. There were originally five platforms and a long corridor led from the booking hall to a footbridge. (A bit like the one at Sutton Coldfield, but level.) I can still remember the smell of gas that pervaded it!

  7. sue bowmer says:

    I wass loking for something completely different and found your great photos of Walsall. I lived there from 1954-1968 – and remember little of the place, but wish I had taken more notice of such a beautiful station.
    Can anyone remember a special event in the arboretum, possibly 1955/6/7? one of the displays was a musical ride and I took part with others from Malaise House, Stonnall Wood, under the management of the Boydells.
    s.(nee barr) bowmer

  8. Pingback: Off their trolleys « BrownhillsBob's Brownhills Blog

  9. Ian Thorley says:

    Hi

    Late to find this page, but grateful.
    I am writing to Walsall History dept to find out if any of the canopy still exists. I remember the old station well having being born in 1961. If the old station was to be redeveloped now I guess it would end up at The Black Country Museum which would be something of a saviour.

    A lot of old Walsall needed to be demolished to be honest, but developers since WWII have removed so much of the history that should have been saved for the town, region, bation….

    Ian

  10. An interesting entry on the Council site. http://cms.walsall.gov.uk/index/history_of_walsall_s_train_station.htm
    Para starting ‘In late 1978’. It’s not directly relevant. I have it in my mind that some parts of the frontage are still in the possession of the Council.

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