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Piece of history saved from bulldozers
10:46am Thursday 25th October 2012 in Local
A TREASURED piece of civic heritage has been saved from destruction in the demolition of Cradley Heath’s iconic Municipal Buildings.
Local history enthusiast Anne Smart managed an 11th-hour rescue of the Rowley Regis coat of arms before the bulldozers razed the 1930s building to the ground.
Battling against the odds, she persuaded the demolition contractors to remove the four carved one-ton stones that made up the coat of arms from above the main door “I really didn’t think I was going to get it, the building was nearly gone and the demolition people thought it was highly unlikely they’d get it down without breaking it,” said Mrs Smart.
She added: “Some people might wonder why I bothered, but we’ve lost so many of our buildings, we are in danger of losing our identity. At least this preserves a piece of the building and the memory of the Rowley Regis borough.”
Mrs Smart, of Timbertree Road, is treasurer of the Friends of Haden Hill Park and daughter of the late Rowley Regis councillor Frank Tommey.
The coat of arms is now in safe storage and it is hoped it will be incorporated into the landscaping of the new community fire station which is to be built on the site of the Municipal Buildings in Barrs Road.
Failing that, Mrs Smart would like to see it on public display in the park and she is now researching to establish the colours of the faded carving so it can be restored.
Cradley Heath and Old Hill Councillor Ann Shackleton said it would have cost Sandwell Council about £4,000 to save the coat of arms, which could not be justified in the current economic climate and praised Mrs Smart for her determination.
“A lot of people felt strongly about the building being demolished, but it was in a very poor condition. This will help people remember the building and the old borough council,” she added.