The ‘then’ photo below shows Talisman Square, largely as had been initially conceived in the post war planning of the late 1950s. The ‘now’ counterpart photo was taken in December 2015. Talisman Square replaced the Tannery and Warwick Road almshouses, which were demolished in 1965 and 1963 respectively.
Talisman Square was so named following a competition in which the name of the Talisman Theatre group, which originally occupied part of the old tannery site, was adopted for the square that replaced it. The theatre group had adopted the name after the novel The Talisman by Sir Walter Scott in the same Waverley series of novels as his famous work Kenilworth. The square was originally designed as a wide open space surrounded by a covered cloister-like walkway.
In 2003 the square was bought out by Cobalt Estates, who announced plans to modernise the tired looking post-war shopping precinct.
Phase 1 of the square’s modernisation, originally due to be completed by 2008, began by extending the shop units on the right forwards and adding a glass canopy to the front of the structure to provide some cover from the elements for shoppers.
Phase 2 of the scheme will result in narrowing of the square by developing new shop units on the left, up to the line of the wooden fence pictured. At the time of writing in December 2015, this has been delayed and is due to recommence shortly.
In 2010 it was decided to create a temporary carpark, marked out by the wooden fence shown in the ‘now’ image, as a stop-gap whilst finances to build the remaining shops could be sought.