Then & Now

Abbey End 1980s – Then & Now

This 1980s image of Abbey End was provided to KHAS from the collection of the late Reg Palmer. It shows the section of Abbey End which was redeveloped post-war, to replace the row of residential and commercial properties destroyed in the Blitz.

The site of the Bluebell Cafe (extreme left) is now occupied by Pizza Bella, which moved from part of the plot now occupied by The Almanack when it was redeveloped, plans for which were approved in 2002. Next door (behind the lamp post) is hidden from view by the ever present hanging baskets, is presently occupied by a tea rooms.

The Kenilworth Handyman Centre (left) was locally owned and run by the Higgins family for 32 years, before closing in 2013, citing the dual pressures of competition from the likes of Wilko’s and Robert Dyas and rising costs.

Mercia Carpets (left of centre) and Oxfam (centre) are still trading today in the same premises. Next we came to Mercia Sports (right of centre) which occupied two units, stocking a wide range of sports clothing and equipment, presently occupied by Kenilworth Pet & Garden Supplies and Subway sandwich shop. The name Mercia, of course, refers to the Anglo Saxon kingdom centred on Tamworth, of which Kenilworth was a part.

The services offered by the VHS video, DVD and video game rental firm Blockbuster (right) were superseded by the coming of the likes of online streaming giant Netflix and it closed in 2013. In 2014 the site of the Blockbuster store and that of the former Jade Chinese restaurant next door (far right), was rumoured to be earmarked for a new branch of budget pub J.D Weatherspoons but, in the event, they became occupied by Lil Greens bar and restaurant.

In the foreground we see a blue five door Austin Metro, which helps us date the photo to some time after 1984, when that model was launched by British Leyland.

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