On borrowed time…

Since there’s been a welcome focus on the treatment of our local architectural heritage in the days since the Jabez Cliff fire in Walsall, I thought I’d once again delve into the urban exploration community and their activities in Walsall. To this end I visited the excellent 28dayslater forum, and found a couple of great explorations of still extant Walsall buildings of note.

Way back in 2009, forum veteran and urban explorer extraordinaire Dweeb (whose excellent work I’ve featured here before) explored the old, abandoned BOAK leatherworks on the corner of Bridgman Street and Station Street. This is a historically significant – and recognised – building that is symbolic in so many ways of the history of Walsall, both industrially, socially and politically. Meanwhile, fellow forum old hand rookinella posted an extraordinary exploration of the Walsall Union Workhouse’s Guardians Office, that currently stands forlorn and out of place on Pleck Road in front of the new hospital.

Both of these buildings still exist and are in grave danger – they represent nothing more than a pain in the backside to our civic leaders and their friends the property developers. We need to be vigilant – just yesterday the Express and Star reported that our council leader, Mike Bird, wanted to go down in history as the man who got the Mellish Road church demolished. Well done Mike, I couldn’t have vocalised the historical ignorance and wilful neglect that sums up the council’s planning policy better. Two decades of bluster, fudge, lies and prevarication to end in loss, which we’re all supposed to welcome. Is it any wonder that our leader is a laughing stock?

Walsall, where failure is marketed as success.

Walsall Union Workhouse Guardian's Office by rookinella, posted on the 28dayslater forum. Click image to visit the post.
Walsall former BOAK Ravenscraig Leatherworks by Dweeb, posted on the 28dayslater forum. Click image to visit the post.
Walsall Union Workhouse Guardian's Office by rookinella, posted on the 28dayslater forum. Click image to visit the post.
Walsall former BOAK Ravenscraig Leatherworks by Dweeb, posted on the 28dayslater forum. Click image to visit the post.
Walsall Union Workhouse Guardian's Office by rookinella, posted on the 28dayslater forum. Click image to visit the post.
Walsall former BOAK Ravenscraig Leatherworks by Dweeb, posted on the 28dayslater forum. Click image to visit the post.
Walsall Union Workhouse Guardian's Office by rookinella, posted on the 28dayslater forum. Click image to visit the post.
Walsall former BOAK Ravenscraig Leatherworks by Dweeb, posted on the 28dayslater forum. Click image to visit the post.
Walsall Union Workhouse Guardian's Office by rookinella, posted on the 28dayslater forum. Click image to visit the post.
Walsall former BOAK Ravenscraig Leatherworks by Dweeb, posted on the 28dayslater forum. Click image to visit the post.
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9 Comments

  • The Workhouse is especially lovely, but in a bad way.

    I’d spotted Mike’s words, but was unsure how to best express my contempt: Mike is obviously proud to let our heritage rot, moulder, and get torched until demolition becomes the only option? Go You! Pour yourself a brandy and get out the cigars. Can we all form a queue to congratulate you and Adrian Andrew, since you are doing such a sterling job of regeneration our town?

    Walsall, where failure is marketed as success.

    When failure is all you have……

     
    Reply
  • It looks like Walsall council are just like Tamworth council in believing that it is no good unless it is square and made of concrete and do not show the slightest interest in our history or heritage only in making a name for themselves and getting their picture in the paper every week.

    Walsall Union Workhouse looks like a wonderful building and the tiles on the walls look very much like they could have been made by “Gibbs and Canning” in Tamworth, further examples of which can be seen in Tamworth Co-op

    http://atschool.eduweb.co.uk/arodgers/images/Co-op_interior_5.jpg

    http://atschool.eduweb.co.uk/arodgers/images/Co-op_interior_1.jpg

    and the Victoria and Albert Museum in London and should really be saved.

    Another Gibbs and Canning building in Walsall is the Tudor House, is it still there?

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/36844288@N00/4738551509/

    I hope the people of Walsall do fight to save these buildings and others or it will end up like Tamworth where they demolished whole rows of medieval buildings only to replace them with concrete rubbish and then tell us the town is a better place for it.

    As for the Mellish Road Methodist Church I have always thought it should be restored even if another use is found for it but it certainly should not be demolished and it should in any case be made really difficult in law to demolish any church or pub as both of them are at the center of communities.

     
    Reply
  • Hi Bob,

    Great post. I think that leather works caught fire too. The Workhouse guardian’s office needs to be restored. It would make a great little museum. People would park on the Manor car park at a £1.00 for every 30 minutes and walk around that if it was done up! You know what they’re like. They would sell granny for a few quid. I might send that suggestion to the trust! 😉

    Thanks for visiting my blog.

     
    Reply
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