Saturday 7 August 2010

Weoley Castle - The Bad and the Good

Weoley Castle has a poor reputation.  In Weoley Castle itself a shopkeeper called it 'the Bronx of Birmingham', and yet there is also an amazing pride in the area too.  We have just completed a project (JOIN US) where we worked with young people interviewing a range of Weoley Castle people.

When we asked people about Weoley Castle, nearly all interviewees started with either, 'there's no place better...', or 'it's a shithole...'.  Summing up the good and the bad is a useful way to open up debate about any issue, and we have used that format - two edited films of theWeoley - one good one bad.  All will be online soon  for all to comment or join the debate.

I think it is all too easy to be carried away by 'the bad' in any community.  It is important to address problems, and yes, it may only be a handful of people who give Weoley Castle it's poor reputation, but those people have made a big impact on the lives of people in Weoley Castle, and leave their mark on the square on a weekend evening.

What I think is more easily forgotten is 'the good' in any commmunity, and those 'community activists' and that sense of trust, respect and responsibility between members of a close community like Weoley Castle - The good in a community has a big impact too.

What hasn't changed in Weoley Caslte over the last 80 years of its existence, is what people from outside Weoley see and report on -  vandalism and loutish behaviour.  And what is the most common thing people complain about in Weoley Castle?  Lack of services for people, particularly the bus. And that hasn't changed either.

Images below thanks to Mike Hunkin form Bham Archives and Heritage, 'Suburban Birmingham' project.

Birmingham Gazette, 3rd February 1938

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