Shopping Centre 1969

These four photographs showing progress on the new town centre shopping precinct were taken on 1st July 1969 by Robert Long.

The plans for the town centre redevelopment were drawn up by The Murrayfield Real Estate Development Company Ltd. and were agreed by the Town Council. The development of the shopping precinct mainly took shape in the second half of the 1960s. Cook Lane, Queen Street, Brunswick Street and College Street were bulldozed but at least preserved within the structure of the shopping centre by becoming Cook Way, Queens Way, College Walk and Brunswick Arcade. Adelaide Street was bulldozed and forgotten.

The work was staggered, with many shops and businesses opening up as soon as the opportunity arose. The first section to be completed was Brunswick Arcade with some of the first shops being Holmes’ Ladies Wear, Adams Coffee Bar, Graham Men’s Wear, Lakewell Ltd., Halford’s Cycles, Wilds, Boots and Currys. The Boots store can just be spotted in the bottom left photograph. Most of the shopping centre was open to the elements until the late 1980s.

Photographer Bob Long (writing on Facebook in April 2021): “I took these photos of the town centre re-development. There should be about 200 photos in all. They were taken for Seymour & Harris architects in London. This was a three year contract I had with them, from foundations to finished shop fronts. I was 19 when I started and just starting my photographic business. A friend of mine, a Mr Bill Cusker, was the site supervisor for Token Construction Company and got me the job of photographing the redevelopment site. I had to climb up scaffolding onto top of the rooves to get the best shot required. The contract was to take photographs once a month to show the progress of the construction for the architects. I did this for about two years until the shops were ready for occupancy.”

Original prints of the photographs are held in the Keighley and District Local History Society physical archive. They are all available to view on the History Society’s Flickr site.

Author: Admin Tim

Tim is a committee member of the Keighley and District Local History Society, with responsibilities for archiving the physical and digital collections, and managing some of the social media channels. He moved to Keighley about ten years ago and joined the Society to learn more about the area.

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