Friday, July 15, 2011


Into Plymouth to see Mrs Rickard in her new nursing home and Lorraine, Ray & Philip - the latter fresh back from 10 weeks in southeast Asia and Australia and with 700 photos to prove it.

What a strange place Plymouth is. Like many heavily bombed city centres in WW2, it was rebuilt along modernist lines with well-intentioned pedestrian avenues, 'gleaming' new office blocks and myriad roundabouts. It might have looked new and refreshing in the 50s but for most it quickly became an austere, soulless, windswept place. Drake's Circus (right, above) was typical of shopping centres up and down the country with its monochromed shopfronts and stained concrete.

Liz's mum spoke of similar plans to her home town of Bristol , echoed in David Kynaston's book: "A poll organized in early 1947 by the local Retail Traders Federation found that only 400 people wanted the proposed new Broadmead shopping centre, as against 13,000 wishing to see the old shopping centre reinstated. The planners simply ignored the unfortunate result". 

Meanwhile in Plymouth, it's slowly becoming more human: Drake's has been demolished and in its place there's the ubiquitous indoor mall (right, below). We could moan about all the usual 21st century brands, but I know which I'd prefer. There's even a Waterstones.

No comments:

Post a Comment