Memories of Wednesbury High Street
|Memories of Wednesbury High Street is a collaboration between artists, Iain Armstrong and Jo Löki, involving participation from a variety of Wednesbury residents. Commissioned to document the heritage of Wednesbury, through oral history recordings and photography, Armstrong and Löki focused on the areas in, and around, Wednesbury Conservation Zone. This covers Market Place, Upper and Lower High Street and some adjoining streets such as Union Street, Walsall Street and Russell Street.
Historically a centre for the manufacturing industry, through the 19th and early 20th centuries, Wednesbury had a thriving town centre that supported hundreds of businesses and market traders. However, like many British high streets, Wednesbury is in a state of decline. Armstrong and Löki were interested in documenting the history of some of the buildings and businesses, through the personal stories and memories of the people who lived and worked there.
The people who have contributed to this project have a meaningful connection to Wednesbury High Street. Some are from families with long-established businesses, others were employees. All have lived, or worked, in Wednesbury for a significant part of their lives. Their oral stories, combined with photographs from personal collections and photo-albums, give us an insight into what it means to own a family business, not only to these people and their families but to us, the surrounding community.
Memories of Wednesbury High Street was produced under challenging conditions during the national lockdown of 2021, and relationships were developed remotely and the artists employed a diversity of digital means of communication. Armstrong and Löki fondly thank the people of Wednesbury for their generosity, good spirit and willingness to embrace the technology and methods as the situation necessitated.