Then & Now

Lower Bridge Street – Then & Now

Lower Bridge Street – Then & Now

This undated image of Bridge Street was provided to KHAS from the collection of the late Reg Palmer. It shows Bridge Street looking north, taken from the hump of the former air-raid shelter on Rosemary Hill.

In the distance we can see the distinctive white, Grade II listed, late 18th Century Kenilworth Hall, former grand residence of William Pears. Regular readers of Kenilworth History’s Myth Busters series will know that William Pears was, in fact, a solicitor and not connected to the Pears Soap family, as is the common misconception. At the rear of the Hall, we can see that the conversion to flats is complete by the time the ‘then’ image was taken, the work for which Harry Sunley dates, in A Kenilworth Chronology (Odibourne Press, 1989), as having commenced in late 1985 following planning approval in 1980.

In the centre of the image, we can see the entrance to School Lane, formerly Pepper Alley, until road widening swept away the millinery shop known as Kenilworth House, which once narrowed the entrance.
In the foreground we can see a residential development sign directing traffic to a development project then known as Tudor Grange. This developer’s project name may either refer to what is now called Rosemary Mews just around the corner on School Lane or possibly what is now called Lawrence Gardens at the far end of School Lane. The book A Portrait of Kenilworth in Street Names (Rookfield Publications, 2015) by Robin D. Leach and Geoff Hilton, dates these developments as 1987 and 1992 respectively so perhaps the former is more likely if the vintage of the cars in the ‘then’ image is anything to go by. The G reg Ford Escort van in the foreground, dating from 1989 – 1990, unfortunately doesn’t conclusively rule either date out for us, as these development signs tend to remain in place for some time after the development has been completed.

The ‘now’ image was taken in the autumn of 2018, at which point the fencing facing onto Rosemary Hill was being replaced, hence the orange netting visible in the foreground.

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