Wednesday, 12 October 2011

DEMOLITION OF SHOPS ON HIGHTOWN 1972


by Dave Roberts

1972 seems to have been a pivotal year for Middlewich. It was the year that demolition began in earnest as the first stage in the 'redevelopment' of the town centre, and in this picture we can see the shops in Hightown which were sacrificed, along with the Town Hall, to create the much criticised 'piazza' in front of St Michael & All Angels church. A crude, rather home made-looking sign asking people to 'please cross over' can be seen next to the shops.
To the right  is that mysterious black oblong which seems to find its way into many pictures taken at the time. It's the canopy over the front of the 'Co-op Superstore' and it disappeared a long time ago.
On the left, almost out of shot, we can just see Middlewich's  war memorial, boarded up with what look like old doors, prior to its removal for protection during the demolition.
The 'No Entry' signs clearly show that the traffic flow at the time was in the 'Northwich', rather than the 'Sandbach' direction. 
For a time, after the traffic flow was reversed, and much to everyone's amusement, the old 'left turn only' sign at the bottom of Queen Street was left in situ when the newer 'right turn only' sign was put in place. Local people, of course, knew the score, but many a hapless visitor to the town ended up rather perplexed.
In front of what was then the National Westminster Bank, out of shot to the right, is the bus stop, now replaced by the 'bus interchange' on a short stub of road which  used to be part of Lower Street.

The scene after demolition can be seen here.

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