Express & Star

Victorian Walsall workhouse office building to be sold at auction

The abandoned former offices of the Victorian Walsall Workhouse are coming up for sale as a redevelopment site in Bond Wolfe’s next online auction.

The front of the Board Of Guardians Offices

The Grade II-listed, three-storey office building will have a guide price of more than £99,000 in the livestreamed auction on December 14.

The former Board Of Guardians Offices, at 100 Pleck Road, have been empty and abandoned for around 15 years and are now derelict to the extent that potential bidders visiting the site are warned: “Viewers must take extreme care and access is at the viewer's own risk. Appropriate clothing and footwear should be worn when viewing the property and a torch may also be required.”

Despite this, many of the building’s original features, both inside and out, have survived, including glazed tile dados, panelled doors, stained glass and a first-floor boardroom with a moulded plaster panelled coved ceiling.

James Rossiter, senior auction valuer at Bond Wolfe Auctions, said: “While the property is clearly in need of refurbishment and repairs throughout, it has a wide range of potential uses and further development, subject to obtaining the necessary planning and consents.

“The exterior of this beautiful Jacobean-styled building is largely unspoilt, and its enormous potential means it is sure to attract bidders and developers with imagination.”

The offices of the Board of Guardians of Walsall Poor Law Union were built between 1898 and 1900 to oversee the Walsall’s Central Union Workhouse nearby. It was housing up to 460 people in the years before the First World War.

The workhouse was later converted into Walsall Manor Hospital and the Victorian buildings were demolished during later redevelopments. But the offices are thought to have remained in use until the turn of the last century.

The building has had Grade II listed status since 1995 for special architectural or historic interest.

It also features in the Victorian Society’s Top Ten Endangered Buildings list for 2023.

The actor and writer Griff Rhys Jones, president of the Victorian Society, said: “It seems extraordinarily wasteful and wilful that a new use cannot be found for this fine building.

“It was offices originally and could fulfil that function again. Why erect a boring cookie-cutter office design when you could work in something this stylish.

“This is a palace looking for a new occupant.”

The former workhouse offices are among 156 lots appearing in the auction, which will start at 9am.