July 21st – Walsall has plenty of abandoned buildings of historical interest. Sadly, our civic masters don’t have the best record of caring for them, and seem to have learned little about protecting heritage from developer’s aspirations over the years. The parish church, dramatically built atop a hill overlooking the town, has it’s aspect sullied by The Overstrand restaurant, built four decades ago, and is now similarly blighted by a hideous Asda shed carelessly permitted five years ago. We never learn.
A couple of weeks ago, town officials were having a ‘crisis meeting’ about the last remnants of the workhouse that stand unloved and derelict outside the new hospital. Once part of the old one, this dramatic building is empty and rotting. I can see why a crisis meeting might be be necessary, after all it’s a bugger when Victorian buildings unexpectedly materialise overnight.
Fear not though, as Walsall has it’s own way of dealing with it’s inconvenient past, often it gets burned to the ground. Trembling before the arsonist’s zippo are several inconveniently located old buildings including Lime House and the former Walkways community centre. The council is now applying to demolish Lime House, but overactive firebugs will probably beat the developer vandals to it.
Welcome to Walsall where our past makes fine fuel.