I follow a couple of Facebook Pages. One is “Wolverhampton in old photographs”, the other “Lost Wolverhampton”. As their names imply, both post pics of times long since gone.
And I was born and raised in that town.
Seeing the pics – especially of places I once knew well – sends me off into deep nostalgia tinged, quite often, with a little sadness. There has been so much butchery – er – development in and around the old town that I would, perhaps, need a guide to show me round.
The sadness is usually sparked by finding out that many of the fine Victorian and even Georgian buildings have gone. That does two things: people growing up in the town – now given the posh name of “city” – cannot see pieces of their history; and it makes me wonder why so many buildings have been replaced by modern, characterless ones.
Yet “development” is happening everywhere, whether it’s necessary or not. We must bear in mind that “developers” are out to make money – and some of ’em may go to all sorts of lengths to persuade local authorities to get rid of all sorts of perfectly usable buildings and replace them with these characterless ones.
Alas, I see it happening – to a lesser, slower degree – in dear old Aberystwyth. Many, many small shops owned and run by locally born and bred people and their families are no longer open. The big-boys are moving in and putting such shops out of business. There are empty premises in nearly every street in the town centre.
I am quite fond of Aber, having known it since the early 1950s and lived not far from it since 1977. Yes, this could be an old moaner saying “It was better when I was younger”. However, I hope there will be some sort of organisation formed by people living in the town which will prevent things happening like they have in Wolverhampton.