Water Tower at Leszno Works, April 2011. Photo BTWT.
There is a rather poignant piece about the fate of old water towers in the current edition of New Poland Express. Graham Crawford, NPE’s regional news editor waxes lyrical about the potential of the old structures to be adapted for new roles.
Last week I spotted a story about other crumbling treasures – old water towers in Slask. Flicking through the pictures, you can clearly see an attention to beauty beyond the merely functional that was frequently missing from the heartless utilitarianism of the communist period. Now they’re mostly suffering at the hands of untrammelled capitalism.
To their credit, many of the local authorities have realised how potentially valuable these extraordinary structures are; how much a part of the landscape of their towns they are, and have plans to put museums and restaurants and other things inside them. The problem is finding the investors. Let’s hope PKP gets round to protecting its heritage, and that the economic crisis ends in time for these architectural jewels.
This is all very admirable and we are delighted that the NPE is adding its voice to the clamour that PKP take a more responsible view of that portion of Poland’s industrial heritage which is in its custody.
However, the fundamental problem is that since PKP was ‘commercialised’ and ‘restructured’ prior to privatisation, neither the main holding company, PKP SA, nor any of its myriad subsidiaries’, feels under any legal obligation to pursue any objectives other than maximising short-term revenue.
The consequences of this can be seen in the wanton destruction of much of Poland’s railway heritage all around Poland.