Express & Star

West Bromwich gas showroom demolition under way ready for new life at Black Country Living Museum

The demolition of a former historic gas showroom in West Bromwich has finally got underway - with sections of it being moved to the Black Country Living Museum.

Outside former gas showroom in West Bromwich, Black Country Living Museum director and chief executive Andrew Lovett

The building in West Bromwich High Street will now be relocated to the museum base as part of their £21 million expansion project.

Bosses at the Tipton Road site – who have campaigned to save the building since last year – announced that they would pay additional costs to make sure that it was taken down, despite Sandwell Council bosses giving the go-ahead for its demolition in May.

Councillor Paul Moore, the council’s cabinet member for regeneration, said: “I am pleased to see this derelict building finally coming down after being a blight on the High Street for far too many years.

The gas showroom

“Removing this building, which is a dangerous structure and beyond economic repair, means this site can be redeveloped.

“This project is part of our ongoing work to regenerate West Bromwich town centre, while also allowing the Black Country Living Museum to preserve the historic elements it wishes to save.”

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Key architectural elements of the showroom will be moved to the museum.

The council, its contractors Coleman & Company and curators from the museum met yesterday (TUES) on site to agree a programme of works for the demolition of the building.

Jonathan Wilson, deputy chief executive collections, learning and research at the museum, said: “The Gas Showroom is one of the key buildings of our new historic town we’re creating at the museum.

Outside former gas showroom, Councillor Paul Moore, Black Country Living Museum director and chief executive Andrew Lovett, and project manager Josh Scriven, from Coleman & Company, at High Street, West Bromwich.

“It gives us the opportunity to tell a range of stories from the 40s to the 60s – from the bombing of the Black Country in World War Two to Cannon’s innovation in gas cookers – and allows us to recreate 1950s cookery demonstrations.

“While the condition of the building means it can’t be taken down ‘brick-by-brick’, we are specifically hoping to save the central stone staircase – perhaps the most memorable feature of the showroom – as well as the Gas Service signage, bricks, windows and lintels to allow us to rebuild the frontage exactly as it would have been in the 1950s.”

Demolition work is expected to be completed by March 2018.

The museum expects to rebuild the Gas Showroom at the museum and open it to the public along with the rest of the new development by 2022.