Chelmsford now and then

by DannyUK

Last week I was stumbling around Twitter when I found a great YouTube video about Chelmsford.

I’ve always been fascinated by the history of places that I know, and growing up in Welling I would often be found looking through the A-Z studying the roads in the town, where they led and what was around me.


It was something that fascinated me, and as I’ve grown I’ve kept the same addiction with me.

Every now and then I’ll pop back to Welling which has changed vastly in the 12 years since I left it, and it makes me wonder how much Chelmsford has changed in the same time without me realising it.

When I moved to Chelmsford in 2000 it had the two main shopping centres, High Chelmer (which was built in the 1970s) and The Meadows (which I think were built in the 1990s, though I am happy to be corrected. Edit: Obviously my last post about Wikipedia shows this to be true!) and the High Street was pedestrianised. Just a decade or so before then, it would have been a very different place, with cars going down the High Street.

This video on YouTube, which was uploaded by Barry Holland, is an 8mm film shot in 1963 and shows various parts of the then-town.

From my own very little knowledge of the area, and what I can see in the film it looks like the old Regent building is now Chicagos, SN Stapleton is now Bar 7 and doesn’t look to have changed much.

The Bodys shop is, I believe, now a travel agents (Thomas Cook, perhaps?), and further down the High Street Next has replaced Boots on the corner of Springfield Road (though older photos show that before Boots it was Formerly Ipswich boot and shoe warehouse, and a few doors down is Bonds which morphed into Debenhams.

The busy road shown 2 minutes 33 seconds is is the High Street, though it’s almost unrecognisable with so much traffic compared to the pedestrianised street we know today. It looks as though it was one way too, which I never realised until seeing this film.

The shot of the railway bridge in Duke Street shows that it looks strikingly similar today, with the Railway Tavern pub on the left and the bus stop at the right, but as it pans across it’s revealed that the whole front of the station has changed.

The train platforms haven’t, unsurprisingly, changed at all.

Also, a rather cute footnote to this, by “snipercheata” on YouTube - A school project started 26 years ago and completed almost a quarter of a century later. Pictures of Chelmsford in 1986 compared to pictures of Chelmsford in 2011.


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