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The Black Country inferiority complex

Bilston Canal

The Wednesbury Oak Loop

This canal was built to meander through the Black Country and provide access to various coal mines. It was built in 1770 by James Brindley. The canal was built to carry goods from the mines and factories. Later railways were built and they too went directly into factories. I remember seeing the trains looking out of my bedroom window as a child. The trains ran through the Cadbury factory in Bourneville, Birmingham too. These days Wednesbury and the whole of the Black Country appears to be suffering from a inferiority complex.

Wednesbury is part of Sandwell, a Metropolitan area of six towns and the politicians love their empire building. The ‘iconic’ building that signifies the madness the most, must be the Public at West Bromwich. The architect, Will Alsop has again been complaining about lack of support for the ‘arts’. The Public is a stupid name for a pink building with bubble shapes windows that cost a bloody fortune. Why do we bring people in to do this stuff; don’t we have architects with a bit of common sense? These modern and silly buildings spring up everywhere. The latest is the new Sandwell College with a ‘wave shaped’ roof. Am I being unfair? The Prince of Wales regularly criticises these modern  carbuncles that are supposed to be buildings. Of the new Central library in Birmingham, he said it “looked like a place where books are incinerated, not kept.”

Walsall also got a new art gallery complete with a Costa coffee. I’ve been there, nice idea to put it on the side of the canal. I went down a back street to get there. I forget the name now, it was in the news this week; the police found a brothel operating there. The architect for that was Caruso St John; you couldn’t make these names up could you?

Not all modern architecture is bad, sometimes we have to be practical. I think the new Manor hospital in Walsall is great; but I bet the architect wasn’t local. Manor 039

It is important that a hospital is hygienic and they can do those deep clean things when there is an infection.  Incidentally, it’s £1.00 for every 30 minutes to park on the car park and that includes disabled people who might take a little longer to get in and out of their cars. I don’t mind paying a parking charge, it’s better than before when I could never find a parking space. It can get a little expensive if you are visiting someone in hospital regularly, I suppose. It discriminates against people on benefits too, unless they can claim it back? Now for a photo of the art galley:


At one time the local people were achieving something. Now it’s outsiders and all we can do is admire these ‘iconic’ buildings. The industry is gone, replaced by retail stores. We have Ikea, Curry’s, PC World and a lot of retail down Axletree way; but F. H. Lloyd’s that it replaced employed thousands. We have lost the Black Country pride and in the past week a few people have described Wednesbury as a sh**hole. I get people around the world want to come and visit when they see my photos on Facebook. Maybe we could get someone in from London to tell us how to clean up the grottier bits? Second thoughts, we would end up with another iconic building with a brothel down the street.  No wonder the people of the Black Country have a collective inferiority complex. I think they should scrap HS2 and close the motorways on weekdays to stop people, especially architects, from coming here.

Smile with tongue out

This was a another Sunday ramble, you can find more amazing blogs on the Home Page. Incidentally, I have bought a domain for a new website (a dot com) and will be setting that up soon; in case anyone wants to write some guest blogs!

Smile with tongue out



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