Sunday, 18 September 2011

Vestiges - Derelict Demolitions

I have to do a fair amount of driving in and around the city of Birmingham for my job, often taking me to areas I wouldn't generally see in my normal day to day toing and froing. To which end, I've started to notice more than a few of what I would consider once proud public buildings and factories that are due to be demolished, or are in a state of severe disrepair or dereliction.  

I've decided to take my trusty 'carcam' (an ancient 5 megapixel Acer camera I keep in the car in case of 'accidents') to a few sights, just to record them before they finally bow out in a hail of dust, debris and 'salvage'. Apologies about some of the picture quality, a 'hinky' focus and poor low light definition are probably to blame.

The recent (ish) recession and downturn in property development sees many 'new' schemes put on hold, which gives these often architecturally beautiful 'dinosaurs' a last view of the skyline before being reduced to rubble.

Compared to the modern steel and alloy 'retail park/built to a budget' alloy box monstrosities, many of these old fellas show a degree of civic pride that has all disappeared from city planning today. The eye for detail is something we seem to have lost in modern times, and most I expect would have cost considerable sums to build in their day. Be that in the stonework, terracotta tiles or ornate brickwork. Most are built to a more human scale, they impress without making you feel dwarfed by what you see. Many are obviously Victorian, when I guess the sense of civic pride was strongest in Britain, but many sites span many 'ages'.

Anyhoo, here's a few pics from a not yet demolished, mothballed regeneration project which is sited less than 1/2 a mile to the North East of Birmingham  city centre, based around the Millenium Point Thinktank Museum , the new Matthew Boulton Colleges and old areas of Bordesley and Nechells Green. The Grand Union Canal runs through site, which looks like it may have been a thriving community some time back. Now it's all blocked off roads and empty plots which back onto the main Birmingham Ring Road. It's hard to believe that this was probably a heavily populated place where generations lived and died. Today the area has a forlorn and destitute feeling about it, heavy with the presence of 'past lives', especially at dusk when these pictures were taken.

The Moby Dick pub Circa ????

Unknown Factory circa 1899

Ahh, the entrance of the 'proles'

Gutted Remains 1

Office Staff entrance with eponymous 'Willy' graffiti

Gutted Remains 2

Derelict Communties

The Eagle & Tun, one of three derelict  'terracotta' pubs in the vicinity

Two strange little workshops dwarfed by office blocks

The Woodsman opposite Curzon St Station, the old 'entrance' to Birmingham

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