I spent years climbing on walls like this. I think it did lead to a preference for fingery slabs and walls and a bit of a phobia for anything too steep for quite a while, but it certainly gave you strong fingers.
There will be at least two UKC regulars who will remember the Birmingham Northfield YMCA wall (although that had quite friendly softish bricks that had fairly good friction and the sharp edges smoothed off slightly) and the Redditch (YHA?) wall that had some fiercesome brick edging.
The Fen Ditton railway bridge in Cambridge and the Iffley Road sports centre in Oxford have also done significant damage to my joints and tendions over the years, too...
"One risk must not be overlooked. Artificial climbing (in this new sense) might become so popular as to draw climbers away from the real crags, with their handicaps of distance, wet and cold, and occasional loose rock. It may seem improbable. But has not skating on artificial ice quite overshadowed the skating on natural ice that was so much enjoyed by, for instance, Wordsworth and Mr Pickwick?"
My local leisure centre has a wall, or should I say corridor, made in the same spirit as this. They've bolted rocks to the ceiling too. Better than most modern walls in a way as you can practice placing protection.