Condemned: Homes on Death Row
Midland provides a rich selection of abandoned buildings. The mixture of redevelopment and modernisation of industries has meant that not only do parts of the industrial area become available for examination, but also there are increasingly a number of houses that are abandoned, or lie in wait of the bulldozer.
The style and insides of these houses confirm their age. Presumably workers lodgings, the intricate cornices and stylised roof plastering strike a depressing cord within me. The fireplaces of these houses, with ash long cooled threatens to excite memories of sitting in front of my own, but really any homeliness these places have is long gone.
I never have that much fun in abandoned houses. These were people’s homes, full of memories and evidence of this habitation. The smashed walls and graffiti are a reminder that even fairly beautiful historical homes full of life are merely a developers buck or government stamp away from destruction. It is an all too acute reminder of the risk my own house faces. Part of Guildford’s history but situated on a large piece of land in a prime location, it too is at risk of succumbing to the march of ‘progress’.
Many of Perth’s most beautiful buildings have been lost to the myopic greed of government and developer alike, replaced by modern structures with several decades of catching up to do. A stark reminder of this is Moir Chambers in Perth. It was demolished for the lamentably unimpressive Citibank Building.
You would be hard pressed to find anyone in Perth, or elsewhere, who doesn’t think that sacrifice was a tragic and idiotic mistake. Yet those same mistakes are repeatedly made. People rejoice when ‘tired’ or ‘ugly’ buildings are destroyed, failing to realise that the flux of taste repeats, and those assessments are precisely what was thought of Perth’s original streetscapes, terrace housing and colonial homes whose destruction is so keenly lamented.
This is not to say that I hate development. Indeed considering my opinion on the city of Swan’s wont to reject any interesting proposals whilst consistently approving cookie cutter mini-estates or ugly as hell retail spaces, I could well be considered radically pro-development in those circles. What is to be lamented is the destruction of history at too cheap a price. The marketplace fails to recognise the value of history.
So when I come to old condemned homes like these, I’m reminded that history repeats, and history is forgotten. Indeed, it shows that people happily turn history into a pile of rubble – especially when the new supermarket or retail centre it is replaced by will send dollars straight to their wallets.