MUCH of the old Black Country has gone forever, familiar landmarks lost as great swathes of our towns have been redeveloped in the last 40 years.
Fortunately, Dave Westwood of Rowley Regis was on hand to record much of the Black Country on the eve of this transformation. He has kindly loaned to the Bugle several albums of his pictures and this selection was taken in Tividale around 1980.
At the top of the page we have the old St Michael's church, one of the great Victorian churches of the Black Country that stood for over 100 years.
The church was originally a chapel of ease in the parish of Rowley Regis, built 1877-78 at a cost of £11,390. Tividale parish was created on May 23, 1879, from parts of Rowley Regis and Tipton. From the beginning the church was strongly Anglo-Catholic and the church still follows that tradition today under the present vicar Fr Martin Ennis SSC.
In 1982 an inspection of the church found it was severely affected by damp and woodworm and it was earmarked for demolition. This was carried out in 1985 and a new St Michael's was built. The old church hall was converted to a church and this opened in 1995.
Dave Westwood's pictures show the church, firstly, from Church Street and, secondly, from Gilbert Street with partially derelict house and land that had already been cleared.
Another photograph shows the empty and boarded-up Gate Hangs Well pub, alongside the roofless shells of more houses.
The picture at the bottom right shows houses and shops in Tividale Road that are still standing today, on the stretch between Gate Street and Hopkins Street but all the properties on the near side of the road have been demolished.
At bottom left we see more ruined and partially-demolished houses. These were in Hopkins Street but the photograph was taken in Danks Street. On the left of the picture is the old Hopkins Street Chapel; this is now a business address.
Our last picture is another view from Danks Street, showing the junction with Tividale Road. You can see the post office on the corner of Tividale Road and Barnett Street and the back of the Albion Inn across the road from it. Danks Street was completely redeveloped in the 1980s.
What are your memories of old Tividale and St Michael's Church? Have you your own pictures of the Black Country as it used to be? Please share them with Bugle readers, contact email@example.com or write to 41 High Street, Cradley Heath, B64 5HL.