March 30th - Off to work early, and a return via Slowloaf in Mellish Road. Rushall Parish Chuch - that of St. Michael the Archangel - is fittingly made from local limestone, and is a handsome, Francophile church with an imposing, tall broach spire. It has a long history, although this incarnation is Victorian. History hereabouts of the village, the hall and environs go back to the Domesday book. All of which are somewhat impressive.
Reflecting on this, whatever aberrant demon possessed the architect of the modern hall, bizarrely erected in the churchyard really needs to be expunged. Sadly, the exorcism wasn’t undertaken quickly enough and similar architectural defecations occurred at many Lichfield Diocese churches in the 80s and 90s; Brownhills, Pelsall, Walsall Wood, Canwell.
They make me think distinctly unholy thoughts.
November 29th - While we’re on the subject of architectural disasters, the new Premier Inn on the waterfront development near the art gallery looks better at night - mainly because it’s grim black colour and peculiar yellow window frames are muted by the darkness. Nearly ready to open, the lights were on and made for an interesting shot or two over the canal basin. Over a decade since development here began, the basin is still overlooked by derelict and unoccupied buildings. Not a great success story, it has to be said.
October 13th - As if to hammer home my point, Town Wharf, across the basin from the New Art Gallery. This is a new hotel. It looks like something thrown up in Tito’s Yugoslavia. It’s hideous, cheap and nasty. It opens in a couple of weeks - why not come and stay? Affording excellent views of the derelict and burnt out factory over the water, it’s sure to be a big tourist draw…
Walsall deserves so much better than this shit.
November 13th - Canwell Church. A beautiful, light stone design by Temple Moore, elegant in it’s plain simplicity - dedicated in 1911. Sat beautifully in a surprisingly quiet spot, just off the A38, for 80 years… Then some idiot wrecks it in the 1990’s by cursing it with that disease of many churches in the Lichfield Diocese, a wholly unsuitable extension. Pelsall, Brownhills, Walsall Wood have all befallen this malaise. You’d think a landlord with so many historic, beautiful properties would understand aesthetics of architecture… whoever approved this should be ashamed of themselves.
August 11th - Walsall Wood church of St. John is an imposing, typically industrial red-brick church, sadly vandalised by a thoroughly unsympathetic extension, an affliction meted out surprisingly frequently to local churches by the Lichfield Diocese, who seem to have about as much understanding of ecclesiastical aesthetics as I do of brain survey. Both Pelsall and Brownhills churches were similarly debased; it’s particularly sad in this case as the church itself has a beautiful, devotional interior and didn’t deserve this treatment.
July 25th - possibly the ugliest building I’ve ever seen, this industrial unit near South Wigston station is, frankly, hideous. I don’t know who had it built or why, but it has no windows whatsoever, and seems to consist of precast concrete ribs bolted together. The worst part is that it faces, on the other side of the street, a pleasant housing estate who must have been looking out on this architectural aberration for decades. Now used as a self-storage depot, I hope the owners see sense and demolish it…
July 5th - St. James Church is the parish church of Brownhills. Designed by architect G.T. Robinson, it has stood in the quiet heart of Brownhills since 1850. A cruciform design, it is built out of red sandstone blocks and features a distinctive, odd-looking spire. Sadly, like many churches in the Lichfield Diocese, it has suffered the indignity of having a hideous, unsympathetic extension bolted onto it. Whoever was responsible for this aberration must surely feel remorse.
Funny thing, though; up until I took the photograph I could have sworn the church had a clock. It clearly does not. Funny how you mind plays tricks.