When Douglas Gilbert entered the family business Gilbert and Son, estate agents and auctioneers, one of his tasks was to collect rent from the properties in the care of the firm, including many of the ancient buildings in the centre of town. Born in 1910, as a young man in the 1930s and an enthusiastic member of the Walsall Photographic Society, he was in a position to know that most of the houses and shops at the heart of the town which he visited every week were due for demolition and he undertook to record them for posterity. Gilbert qualified for the Estate profession in 1933, when he joined his fatherrquote s business. One of his early responsibilities was to collect rents from the slum properties on Church Hill. The squalor of the ancient buildings was indescribable. In Gilbertrquote s words, lquote the stench of a Moroccan souk (market) was as nothing compared to that of the houses of Upper Rushall Streetrquote . Gilbert retired from business in 1975. Gilbert is one of Walsallrquote s major photograph benefactors.