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      19.08.2008 17:30

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      Everything youneed to know about Walsall is here:http://caughtinthemiddleman.wordpress.com/2008/02/20/going-nowhere-fast/

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      17.10.2007 11:53
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      Just ignore this place on the map

      Hello everyone i know i have been gone for ages, blame University, but now ive decided to come back and write every so often. So my first review back will be about Walsall.
      Well, what can I say about this old market town, I have lived on the outskirts of it all my life and I don't think I have once been proud of it. Twenty, thirty years ago I was assured it was a pleasant market town which did quite well and was generally considered a nice place to visit if you were passing by. Now it really has gone down in the dumps.
      I try not to venture into this town as much as is humanly possible but as it is the nearest town to me with places I need to go I sometimes find I have to go into the devil's pit. This unfortunate event occurred almost a week ago after not being in the town for over 3 years. Well not much had changed. Walking down the street you can't help really but feel intimidated from the gangs of teenagers hanging about, cans and cigarettes in hand, waiting to give you a scowl if you even look their way. The people are so unpleasant; I accidentally bumped into one man, said I was sorry and thought I was going to get my head ripped off!

      The actual town in itself would not be that bad if it wasn't for the people. The buildings I think are quite old and do give a nice sense of tradition to the town. The market is just like any other market in the world, if you need something cheap and cheerful, then this is the place for you. The let down of Walsall really is because of the people in it, this being the litter. There are probably hundreds of bins around Walsall and still I saw people just dropping their litter to the ground just because a two foot walk is a bit much for them. One of my pet peeves also comes to haunt me in this town that being the amount of cigarette butts on the ground. It doesn't look pleasant; it looks disgusting and really just gives the image of Walsall a boost in the negative direction.
      Ok now that I have had a good old moan about the people and the town's attractiveness its time to get onto the shops in Walsall. This is the main reason so many hundreds of people go to Walsall, the fact that it has all the main high street shops. Debenhams, W H Smith, Woolworths, Argos, Boots, Topshop, New Look and many more. For someone who needs something you are bound to find it in Walsall as everything you could need will be in one of the main shops or even in the many individual shops that Walsall boasts.

      The Saddlers centre holds many unique shops that you are bound to find what you need. Music, gift shops and all kinds of services lay in here for the shopper to find and all at quite a reasonable price. Also in Walsall is the wharf which is home to Asda living, HMV, JJB sports, Next, Mothercare, Pizza Hut and the one that draws me into Walsall, Blockbuster. This is probably where Walsall gets most of its visitors from as the stores are all mainstream and have a large car park at a good price.
      So overall I have to say for shopping Walsall is quite a good place to go as it has all the main shops that everywhere else has plus a few more.
      The reason I think Walsall is quite a busy place is for one the shopping that you can do there, but also because it is the centre of transport. You can travel to many places from Walsall town centre either from the bus station which has over a hundred buses going through it in an hour or the train station which can take you to Bescott all the way to Stafford or the other way to Birmingham New Street which is the portal to go anywhere in the UK.

      Education in Walsall is extremely good, with private education for children aged 6-16 in the city centre, Queen Mary and King Edward's grammar schools and the University of Wolverhampton all close by, Walsall has easily accessible education for children.
      Nightclubs, couldn't talk about Walsall without mentioning its nightlife could I? Having the University of Wolverhampton very close to the city centre, Walsall is the best place to be as a student. Cheap drinks, cheap entrance fees and great clubs, Walsall is a hive for the antics of the nightclubbing scene. I have only been to Walsall on the night a few times so I can only mention the places I have been to. WS1 probably has to be the biggest taker in business with three floors, each dedicated to a different musical theme and cheap drinks, and this is the place hundreds of people flock to, especially if a famous face is making an appearance. The Imperial is a nice place to go to start off your evening with a drink. A quiet atmosphere with plenty of tables, and amazingly the ability to hear the people next to you speaking this is a good place to go if you want a night out without the ringing ears in the morning. With other bars such as The Varsity, Sports Bar and especially the Wharf, Walsall is the place to be when your young and fancying a night out with your friends. Prices typically end up the same wherever you go and I would say a good night out with your mates would end up costing you in the region of £20-30.

      The arboretum is also a place where many people flock to in Walsall. A green bit of land in the middle of town with a lake, trees and wildlife it can be a nice place to walk around in the sun, again if you don't run into any chavs hanging about. The arboretum is also home to the Illuminations which are held every year from September to November. This is where lights are put up to portray different shapes, people and animals along with food, rides and shows. It is definitely something to do once as it is quite nice to walk around at night. The price is one of the things that make it only a one time event. Open from around 6pm the prices are £6 per adult and £4.50 per child. For something that takes you half an hour to walk round it is a bit of a disappointment for adults, but for children the lights and rides can be fun so I would recommend it for families with young children. Park and Ride is available as parking can get a little hectic.
      Well I think I have mentioned everything to do with Walsall. To get there take the train as I have said before or catch any of the buses that can take you there. The 51 from Birmingham can get you there in about 45 minutes. A couple more things, food shopping in Walsall is easy as there are two large supermarkets, Morrisons and Asda. Morrisons is easily accessible from the Arboretum Island and Asda is just up the top of the market. Parking is available on Morrison's car park for paying customers.

      So overall Walsall is an old town with history which has everything you could possibly need, but only if you dare venture into the town. It would be such a lovely place if it wasn't for the people who seem mostly to be teenagers missing school and Chavs who have nothing better to do than hang around shop entrances. The litter is also a big problem with me and really does bring down the town in overall attractiveness. So go if you really need something desperately but if you can go somewhere else.

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        15.09.2005 14:58
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        A rubbish place which could be made better

        Walsall, what can I say about Walsall apart from the fact that I hate it there!!!

        Now I have had the displeasure of growing up with Walsall as my nearest town but although my 23 years of experience of Walsall has led me to believe it is a dump, I actually do have a few positive things to say about the place.

        Now Walsall is a town located in the heart of the West Midlands only a 15 minute drive away from Birmingham. If you ever want to get to Walsall you can get there on the train from surrounding stations or if you live further away then get a train to Birmingham and there you will find a train to Walsall which leaves every half an hour in the day and every hour in the evening.

        Walsall has a lot of choice in shops and with the new Wharf shopping complex which houses a very good Asda Living store, parking has become a lot better.

        Ok I will start off the review in a positive light and tell you the few good things about Walsall.

        1) The Leather Museum.
        Walsall is famous for its leather and has even provided the royal family with products. The leather museum is actually very interesting and informative. The last time I visited the museum was about 2 years ago for a crafts fair that was there. I had to pay £1 to get in but I think that was just because of the fair where as I think the museum is free to enter all year round. Within the museum you have the chance to watch people creating products from leather and sometimes you can even have the chance to have a go which is popular with children.
        The workshops have a great atmosphere and all of the staff are very friendly and enthusiastic about what they are talking about. They will stand there and answer your question all day basically which is really nice to see. As you walk around the leather museum, you see displays showing you the history of Walsall and its relationship with leather including the saddles they have made for the royal family. Also you will be able to see the museums most recent designs.
        When you are at the museum there is a small café with limited seats so that you can have a drink and they serve up sandwiches at a reasonable price.
        The final thing of course is that there is a shop so that you can take home your very own leather product to keep a memory of your visit. Here they sell key rings, belts and purses (which I am very fond of) at good prices.

        2) The Illuminations.
        Once a year Walsall is bustling in the evening with people wanting to visit Walsall Illuminations. Now honestly it is not as bad as it sounds as it makes for quite a nice night. It costs £4.50 each for adults to get in and £3 for children aged under 15, under 4s go free. When I was little we always used to go to the illuminations and then I didn’t go for years. Last year however my boyfriend Dave saw it advertised and was adamant that we go. We took my sister and cousins along and actually had a really good time.
        The illuminations are located in the arboretum so immediately you get great surroundings with all of the woodland and the lake. The illuminations themselves vary from year to year. It is a lights show as the name suggests and features lots of displays including Disney, cartoons and Halloween displays. The laser displays across the lake are stunning and for children they have live entertainment shows. As sad as we are we stayed and watched one with a magician who was quite funny and all of the kids loved him. There is a small selection of fair rides you can go on including the waltzers and fair like food so expect candy floss, toffee apples , hot dogs and burgers.

        3) The Art Gallery.
        The Walsall art gallery was opened by the queen several years ago now and has become a focus point of Walsall. The gallery is free to enter and there are several different floors to explore and sections are clearly labelled. There are both stairs and elevator to reach each floor and many toilets are located around the facility.
        Sections to visit will include exhibitions and local art. The exhibition taking place at the moment is Epstein and the fertile line. The gallery itself is very interesting and there are lots to see and do. People of every age should find something of interest there and there is a shop located at the entrance to buy souvenirs including art prints and key rings.


        I am afraid that is all I have to say good about Walsall so now to the bad things.

        1) Appearance.
        Let’s face it Walsall just looks rank. Now as far as buildings go there are some nice ones, I mean if you walk by where they have just opened the new subway you can see some pretty nice looking buildings. The town hall, Varsity pub and the imperial pub all look really nice and unique. On one of the buildings you can even see musical instrument because it used to be a music shop. That is where the attraction ends as the rest of Walsall’s buildings look uninteresting and because of graffiti just look disgusting. I know they have tried to revamp Walsall lately but it just hasn’t worked.
        I cant really say much about the Saddlers shopping centre as it looks quite nice but The old square shopping centre just has the atmosphere of a rundown little mall. I used to work in the Debenhams there which is a lovely store but just not in the nicest area.

        2) The Litter.
        This adds to the vile appearance of Walsall because despite the number of bins located around the town people still drop their litter on the floor. So if you find yourself in Walsall expect to step in chewing gum, food wrappers and food such as left over burger king and McDonalds, the two main eating areas of Walsall.

        3) Gangs.
        Another problem with Walsall is gangs of people. As Walsall is very accessible from all of the areas around by me you tend to get a lot of younger people and gangs come in to the town. Now honestly I do not mean this to sound prejudice in any way but there are a lot of rough areas around by me and Walsall attracts a lot of rough people. The gang spots in Walsall just to warn you are by the water fountain by the shop MVC. At the top of Walsall by the art gallery and basically sitting on the walls on the high street. Now I get intimidated by gangs of people especially when they shout at each other swearing and I tend to steer clear.
        This was actually a reason why I don’t go to Walsall now because when I used to work there I have had my phone stolen from me twice just walking up the high street and also had chewing gum thrown at my head and called a snob just because I was in a suit for work.

        4) Shops.
        To be honest there are a lot of shops but none of them are amazing. They are small and the staff in most of them are very unfriendly. The worst is on a Saturday when nobody wants to be in work and most of them just cannot be bothered. I know this is the same with most towns but in Walsall it is evident that they would rather you not be there.

        5) Pubs and bars.
        I used to love the pubs and bars in Walsall when I was 15 and that is exactly what today’s 15 year olds think. The fact is there are way too many pubs and bars in Walsall and anybody can get into them. On a Friday and Saturday night I avoid Walsall like anything because like I said earlier there are a hell of a lot of rough people that go down there and any night you go you are bound to see a fight. It’s a guarantee now. Again its personal reasons why I don’t like the pubs and bars anymore because when I was 20 I went out for a night in a bar and got my purse robbed, when I told the bouncers they just laughed at me and told me to deal with it. One of my friends who knew a bouncer in Walsall said that he had told him that being a bouncer was fun because when you are bored you can just start a fight going by telling somebody they couldn’t get in the club.

        6) Graffiti.
        Wherever you go in Walsall you will see graffiti. I am not even talking about the good graffiti you know the pictures where you think actually that is quite good. I am talking about Amy fancies Adam and if you want sex phone this number. There is just one bit of good graffiti in Walsall which is at the skate park by the wharf but it really spoils the town that swear words and vulgar sayings are dotted around the town for everyone to see.


        Ok so there it is. I have been doing quite a few positive reviews lately so it was quite refreshing to have a rant. Walsall in its own right is ok for shopping as they have a good selection but to be honest the only part of Walsall I would recommend for shopping is at the Wharf as it has good parking and a few nice shops. It is quite new and looks lovely and has shops such as Asda living, Next, JJB and Clinton Cards. There is a pizza hut in the middle of the car park which is quite nice to eat in too. Opposite the Wharf shopping complex there is a nice bar called the wharf and it is nice for drinks and food and is one of the only places I would recommend going for a night out in Walsall.

        The litter, graffiti and gangs just make Walsall dire and even a walk through the arboretum which boasts some lovely scenery is ruined because I just can’t stop thinking about the litter and every now and again you get some little twit throwing stones at the ducks. Yeah in Walsall that kind of behaviour is deemed funny.

        The main town however I would avoid like the plague. Yeah the shops are ok and the art gallery and leather museum is worth a look but the depressing attitude and atmosphere I get from Walsall is enough to put me off going. The streets are graphitised and littered and wherever you go you will hear swearing. I can honestly say that if you are planning to come around this area make I make a suggestion. Both Sutton and Lichfield are nicer places to go and if you are just shopping then the Merry Hill centre is a much better bet.

        I think that Walsall needs is a great big revamp and it might actually become ok. I know that Walsall Council is doing its best to do this but it is just taking time. I am just glad I do not have to work there anymore so I just pretend I do not live near it.

        I will be back soon with a more positive review.

        If you do want more information on Walsall as my review hasn’t totally put you off, then here are a few websites to visit.

        Walsall in general - http://www.thisiswalsall.co.uk/

        Walsall Leather Museum - http://www.walsall.gov.uk/leathermuseum/

        Walsall Illuminations - http://www.walsall-lights.com/index_Flash.htm

        Walsall Art Gallery - http://www.artatwalsall.org.uk/


        Thanks for reading.

        xxx

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          27.09.2003 14:24
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          I must begin this opinion by syaing that we finally left Walsall last year and are now very happy living in Llandudno - we wouldn't go back for anything! What can I say about Walsall? The place where the local council is so daft it regularly appears on the National news. For all of you who have ever thought 'I wonder what Walsall is really like', here's the low-down. I was born in Lichfield, which is a few miles away from Walsall, but have lived in Walsall (the Rushall and Bloxwich areas) for the majority of my life. I had worked for Walsall MBC for almost 30 years until I became ill due to stress and depression partly brought on by the bad management at work. I was eventually dismissed from my job, as no one was interested in helping me to sort out the problems that were causing the stress. Still, I do feel so much better now I have escaped! Anyway back to Walsall ??. Walsall is situated in the West Midlands just north of Birmingham and east of Wolverhampton. Parts of the borough date back many centuries. For example Rushall Hall is actually mentioned in The Doomsday Book. The borough suffers from mad council disease! This refers back to the idea a few years ago of setting up lots of little town halls all over the borough and closing the Civic Centre. Certain of the councillors got a lot of national publicity about this one and some even got expelled from the Labour party so they formed their own Labour party! If anyone asked me where I came from or where I worked I was guaranteed to get a laugh when I said Walsall, as we really were the laughing stock of the country. Walsall is still the centre of the leather industry and saddles are made here for the Royal Family. It has a thriving Leather Museum where you can see the history of leather making and actually try your hand at some real leatherwork too. They have a shop where you can buy goods that have been made at the museum and they also host re
          gular craft fairs during the year. You may have heard in the media that Walsall has a new art gallery, paid for with National Lottery funding and opened by The Queen in the year 2000. (www.artatwalsall.org.uk) The building itself has won accolades from all round the world for it's architecture. I can't for the life of me think why! It is dreadful! It is just a plain square building with flat windows and looks very dated and boring to me, but what do I know? I haven't yet been inside but those who have say that it is very interesting if a little sparse. It houses the Garman Ryan exhibition, together with paintings by both famous and local artists. On the subject of art, if I can call it that, Walsall alos aquired a statue allegedly of Diana Princess of Wales. A local sculptor made the statue from marble and presented it to the town. The skin of the person represented by the statue is made from black marble and she has silver marble for her hair and dress. It does not bear much resemblance to Diana anyway, but it's the wrong colour for heaven sake! The Leader of the Council originally said that he thought that it was demonic, and then changed his mind to say it was wonderful - make of that what you will. Some people are saying that those of us who think that the colour is wrong must, therefore, be racially prejudiced! No, sorry, I can't see that one at all! I would be just as horrified to see a statue of Diana Ross made from white marble wearing a black dress. If you would like to see the statue and judge for yourself there is a tongue in cheek website, which has not impressed the Walsall councillors, at www.walsallwonderland.ic24.net. It even gives you the chance to destroy the statue on line! One of Walsall's big successes is the Arboretum Illuminations, an annual event run by the Leisure Services department of the Council. (www.walsall-lights.com) There has been an arboretum on this site here in Walsall si
          nce the fifteenth century and it still boasts a huge variety of different trees. There is a large lake where boats can be hired and which forms the backdrop for some of the spectacular lighting displays at illumination time. There is also a smaller lake and both of these were formed after the abandonment of limestone workings in the area. When I was a child I remember that the story was that the lake was bottomless. I believed this in my naïve way until my dad asked me how the water stayed in if there was no bottom! There are some lovely walks around the park and up to the extension which houses the children?s play area and lido and a 9 hole and an 18 hole golf course. The illuminations are on from the middle of September until the end of October each year and visitors come from all over the country to see them. We even have coach parties from Blackpool! There are tree lights, tableaux, fountains, and lasers and a host of entertainment and souvenir and food stalls too. The prices are £5.00 on the gate for adults and £4.00 for children, OAP?s disabled people and their carers. Walsall Town centre is currently undergoing a major transformation. A lot of the old buildings have been refurbished and many new wine bars have opened. This makes Walsall a more popular night-spot, although it isn't a place I would go at night, as there used to be a reputation for trouble although, to be fair, I don't know if this is still the case. The very centre of the town, to be known as the civic square has been repaved and landscaped but the floor is none too even and it is already covered with discarded chewing gum. It has become a haven for skateboarders who are terrifying older people as they whiz past. (The skateboarders are whizzing not the old people!) The shops in Walsall lack variation these days. Every shop seems to be a card shop, a shoe shop or a mobile phone outlet! There used to be a wonderful hardware shop run by two old ladi
          es and it was a known fact throughout the area that, whatever you wanted you could be fairly sure they'd have one. Nowadays all we have are chain stores where the assistants look at you as though you?'e mad if you ask for something out of ordinary! On the subject of shopping there is a good market in Walsall with a lot of stalls selling a wide variety of goods from net curtains to garden plants and from fruit and vegetables to greetings cards. The market is open every Monday, Tuesday, Friday and Saturday and on Wednesday as a craft market. There is a good web site for Walsall at www.walsall.gov.uk from which you can follow links to the other web sites that I have mentioned as well as finding out more information about the town and it?s inhabitants and history. I wrote this opinion to show that there is a balance to be struck here in Walsall. They do have some exceptional things here such as the Illuminations, Leather Museum, market, etc but they also have litter, bad behaviour and a Council who don?t seem to be able to organise the proverbial in a brewery.

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