Wednesday, 31 March 2010

Plymouth in the 1950s and 1960s

These few photos show Plymouth city centre during the late 1950s and early 1960s.
The first picture shows a very busy town centre. Many people will remember the streets crowded like this, before the area was pedestrianised. On the left can be seen the Dolcis shoe shop at 37 New George Street which adjoined Dingles. Further down can be seen the old Western Morning News building which today houses Waterstones. The fashions have certainly changed over the years. A lone sailor can be seen in the foreground in the days when wearing their uniform was compulsary. The now old fashioned cars parked on the left, all look very much the same model and there certainly wasn't the choice there is nowadays. Most came in either black, grey or green. This was to become a far more busy scene in the 1970s and 1980s when every parking meter had a car beside it and in-town parking was almost impossible at busy times.
The second photo, from the same period, shows British Home Stores in Cornwall Street. The buildings haven't changed that much in the 50 or so years since but the cars and fashions have changed greatly. The streets all look much more narrow with the many vehicles parked there.
The third photo shows Frankfort Gate and, at first glance, it looks like not much has changed over the years.
Many of the shops have changed ownership many times but the market can still be seen clearly in the background. Earlier shops in the area included the popular stamp shop (probably a dying hobby now), Bonus Books, the Camera Exchange and, further around on the main road, Jack Cohen's Joke Shop. The red phone box has long gone and a huge green pedestrian walkway has been built in the centre of this scene. It all looks very tidy when this photo was originally taken and quite empty. However, anyone visiting these three areas nowadays would probably notice quite a bit of difference.

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