Chester in 1952 vs 2019

I returned to Chester last week to attend the BPS occupational psychology conference. As I arrived early, I took the opportunity to re-shoot two of the 1952 photographs of Chester that I’d got wrong last year.

St John's Ruins 1952
St John’s ruins in 1952 …
St John's ruins in January 2019
… and in January 2019
Richard Grosvenor 1952
The statue of Richard Grosvenor in 1952 …
… and in January 2019

It lifted my spirits to see the conference hotel flying the EU flag alongside the Union flag. It’s a shame we collectively did so little of this prior to the 2016 referendum.

The Crowne Plaza Hotel in Chester flying the EU flag alongside the Union flagGiven the redevelopment that’s happening around the hotel at the moment, I can’t see this building being around in 2086 to photograph again.

Chester in 1952 vs 2018

I spent the last weekend in Chester with friends. On Saturday morning we walked around the city and retook a series of six photographs that my father shot in 1952. Five of the locations were straightforward to find. The sixth location remains somewhat of a mystery (at least to me.) I’m hoping to be back in January for the Division of Occupational Psychology conference, so I shall take another look then.

River Dee, 1952River Dee, 2018

The River Dee from the Old Dee Bridge.

Queen's Park Suspension Bridge 1952 Queen's Park Suspension Bridge 2018

Queen’s Park suspension bridge.

Chester Rows 1952Chester Rows 2018

View from Chester Rows – The Grotto Hotel and Barlow’s in 1952. Tessuti designer clothing and a branch of Sta Travel in 2018.

Richard Grosvenor 1952Richard Grosvenor 2018

The statue of Richard Grosvenor, Second Marquess of Westminster, Grosvenor Park. The 1952 photograph is looking towards the park, but the picture I took on Saturday is 180 90 degrees out. (The original 1952 image was reversed – thanks for spotting it Jon!) It does however have a bonus pigeon.

St John the Baptist's Church 1952St John the Baptist's Church 2018

A view of St John the Baptist’s Church through the ruins.

St John's Ruins 1952St Johns Ruins 2018

The mystery photograph. It’s clearly a view taken in the ruins of St John’s, but I’ve either taken mine from the wrong spot or part of the ruins have been demolished since 1952. I can’t find any record of ruins being demolished (and the site is Grade I listed!) so it’s probably the wrong spot. However, the arch and steps on the left hand side of the 2018 photograph do seem to match those of the 1952 image. If you can help with the identification, please leave me a comment!

Update 4th December 2018: Mystery solved – the 1952 image (like that of the statue) was also reversed. If I retake the photograph from the plinth in the bottom right of the 2018 image, I’m pretty sure that this is still the view today.

St John's Ruins 1952

Spondon Garage in 1952

If you’ve been following my blog you’ll know that I’ve been working my way through my father’s photographs and digitising them. I’m currently working through some large format negatives dated 1951 & 1952 – some of the oldest in the collection.

These pictures show Spondon Garage on Nottingham Road in 1952. Established in 1925, the garage was demolished a decade or so ago, along with the corner shop you can see on the right-hand side of the picture and Lloyds Bank (out of shot, to the left). It’s now housing. I remember Spondon Garage as being one of the last in the area that offered attended service. As recently as the 1980s I can remember filling my car up there after I’d first learned to drive, but was still unsure about how to put petrol in it.

Spondon Garage 1952And the attendants: