A changing landscape

Have you ever wondered where the photo on the home page of black country history was taken? It’s a great image, and we know it shows the Pleck Road, Walsall in 1934. But we can pinpoint where it was taken from? Luckily we have a couple of surviving landmarks in the distinctive tower of the offices of the workhouse, and the spire of St Matthew’s Church on the hill in the distance. A couple of other clues: the camera appears to be looking down from an embankment on to a fence in the foreground. Putting these together might put the photographer on the edge of the reservoir which used to be near the workhouse (see map). One of the interesting things about this image is that the cheek-by-jowl existence of farming and industry in the Black Country of the 1930s was already a relic – elsewhere the residential suburbs we know today had already started to cover the open land.  So, at the time this was taken what it showed was really already more representative of an earlier landscape phase. (Note that the original photo is held by Walsall Local History Centre).

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