When you think about places that have an Art Deco legacy, Dudley in the West Midlands is not necessarily the first place that comes to mind, but this would be a mistake, for the town is a treasure trove of beautiful and interesting Art Deco and Modernist style buildings.
The 1930s must have been an exciting time for lovers of architecture in Dudley, as modern looking building after modern looking building sprung up in the town centre, a true contrast to the ruins of the castle and priory. Many of these buildings are still around today, although some are in a poor state of repair, or, in the case of the former Dudley Hippodrome on Castle Hill, in real danger of being demolished to make way for ‘progress’. Others though, are still in use, with the prime example being the stunning Tecton entrance to the Zoo and Castle, and the glorious former Odeon building which has been lovingly and faithfully restored and is now the Kingdom Hall of the Jehovah’s Witnesses.
I’m hoping to make a trip to the Zoo once the weather is a little warmer to explore the historically important, Grade 1 listed Tectons that were formally used as animal enclosures. I remember these so well from my childhood when they were still in use, and seemed so modern, hard to believe they were already 50 years old at that point.
The former Angel Pub, now a charity shop
There had been a public house on this site for many years, This building was built in 1936 and has the look of an ocean liner that you often see in Deco/Streamline Moderne buildings. It is still in use and in pretty good condition.
Former Woolworths Building
Many shops of the past had in house architects who created some beautiful buildings in the Art Deco style. Burton is one of the classic examples, but C&A, Marks and Spencer and Woolworths also have buildings that are well worth looking up.
The former Woolworths building in Dudley is now the Plaza Mall, and is seriously in need of some TLC to restore it to its former glory. I can well imagine this shining brightly in its heyday, but the tiles are now in need of a clean up.
Co Operative Building now a charity shop
Of all the Art Deco buildings in Dudley, I have to say the former Co Op building is one of the most interesting, a sort of space age building dropped into a suburban town. It has been through lots of guises, including a shoe shop, but when I went past it was in the middle of being transformed into one of the grandest charity shops you will ever see.
More Interesting buildings to look out for