In the middle of a woodlands in Staffordshire, we stumbled across Westwood school, it seems the school was relocated half a mile down the road and this is what was left behind.
On 18th August 1939, the Air Ministry sought approval to acquire the disused Glynrhonwy Isaf slate quarry which had closed in 1930; the quarry, near Llanberis in North Wales, was deemed suitable for the storage of 18,000 tons of bombs. It consisted of a number of deep open pits, linked together by tunnels. Following the apparent success of the design employed at Harpur Hill in Derbyshire, the air ministry decided to use the same technique at Llanberis, converting the eastern pit into an underground depot, but because of the great depth of the quarry the design was adapted to produce a structure with two floors throughout. The lower level and a conventional flat reinforced concrete ceiling which also formed the floor of the upper level which had an arched roof like that at Harpur Hill. Standard and narrow gauge railway lines entered the lower level of the depot through the original quarry access tunnels, while three electric lifts transported bombs to the upper floor. The deep pits to the west of the depot were later used for burning and dumping redundant and dismantled ordnance. Overhead protection was given by forty feet of broken slate. In response to pressure from the treasury efforts were made to cheapen and accelerate the construction of Llanberis, but unfortunately the cost cutting had disastrous consequences only six months after the depot was opened.
Herbert Couchman was chief engineer and architect to Bass, Ratcliff & Gretton of Burton upon Trent from 1891. This energetic and meticulous engineer designed an eighth malthouse at Shobnall for the firm in 1891, and then the reconstructed Plough Maltings, Horninglow Street, Burton, in 1899. Couchman was a versatile designer, becoming personally involved with the construction of everything from locomotives to churches in his time with Bass, Ratcliff & Gretton. His best known work was the development of the Sleaford Maltings complex in 1903-6. The Plough Maltings (Herbert Couchman, 1899-1902), opposite the former Coors Visitor Centre. This substantial red brick structure, currently thought to be threatened by redevelopment, was not a traditional floor maltings but a drum maltings.
The Water Margin, Chinese Restaurant, on A5 between Cannock and Brownhills, which has been closed for several months, is built on the site of a former 16th century Inn, called the Fleur de Lys, which was destroyed by fire in the 1940’s. The Water Margin has also been destroyed by arson in August 2011.