I’m certainly not the first person to write about the deteriorating condition of the Angel Croft hotel, and I suspect that I won’t be the last – it doesn’t look like it will be relinquishing its place on the English Heritage at Risk register any time soon.
Personally, I have no connection with the building, I’ve never even been inside. As awful as it sounds, I can barely remember the days when it actually was a hotel. It seems to have taken on a new identity as a case study in decaying grandeur, about which regrets are expressed and rumours abound, but about which no one seems to know quite what to do.
Of course other people will have memories of the Angel Croft – a wedding reception, a work do, a meeting, a reunion dinner, or even a weekend stay. Walking through The Close recently, I saw this plaque on a bench, and it reminded me of an intriguing story I’d seen on the subject of the Angel Croft and memories a while back.
It features on a blog about a man’s research into his great uncle Jack Purcell’ s time in the Royal Australian Air Force. Jack Purcell was posted to RAF Fradley and in the collection of his documents handed down to his great nephew Adam Purcell was a postcard of a view across Minster Pool marked with a small ‘x’. Adam believes the cross could be marking the Angel Croft Hotel… you can read the whole post in full here.
It’s a fascinating story, but also a good reminder that it’s not only buildings that are vulnerable to the ravages of time, but memories too. Of course, it’s important to preserve architecture of note, but I have to ask, what are we doing to preserve the memories and stories that make buildings so much more than an entry on a list or register?
Note – I hope Adam Purcell doesn’t mind me featuring the story of his Great Uncle’s time in Lichfield. I shall contact him.