South Walls, Stafford

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Date:1970 - 1975 (c.)

Description:This collection of pictures has been joined together to form a panoramic birds-eye view which was taken looking south from the top of the Wedgwood building, Tipping Street, Stafford.

Top left on the horizon there is an avenue of trees on Riverway, next can be seen the spire of St. Paul’s Church on Lichfield Road. In the centre there is a large steel framework that was intended to be a High Voltage Bay planned by the English Electric Co. on their Lichfield Road site, however, in 1968 there was a merger with GEC (General Electric Company), the building was never completed and it was later dismantled. Centre right shows the GEC Transformer Works which was later part of Alstom (a French Company), in 2015 it became part of GE (General Electric, an American Company) and is still (May 2021) operational, just below there is a white building which is Green Hall. On the right there are town centre buildings on the junction of Bridge Street, Lichfield Road and Newport Road, including the Library and the Odeon cinema which around the time of this photograph is thought to have been showing the film MASH which was released in 1970.

On the left there is a view of the former Fire Station on Lammascote Road which later moved to Hydrant Way and the site became an Asda supermarket. Adjacent to the Fire Station there is the framework of the Riverside Recreation Centre under construction. In later years this sports centre moved to a new site on Lammascote Road to make way for the Riverside Shopping Centre. Just below the Fire Station and in the foreground most of the buildings are part of the former Co-op bakery and milk depot site which stood on South Walls and was later demolished to make way for redevelopment. However, after the site was cleared it was used as a car park for several years, until the Staffordshire County Council built their new offices, Staffordshire Place, on most of the site.

Running from left to right across the centre of the picture are houses on South Walls.

In the centre there is a glimpse of the former Sun Smithfield cattle market which was replaced by a Tesco Supermarket and car park. In later years Tesco moved to a larger site on Newport Road. The site was then redeveloped on both sides of the River Sow with a multi-story car park, shops and restaurants which opened in 2016 as the Riverside Shopping Centre. Also in the picture are two car parks connected by a Bailey bridge. It was reported in the Rugeley Times Newspaper (1 October 1966) that the Royal Engineers of the 125 Engineer Regiment (T.A.) based at Stafford and Cannock, had been given the task under the Leadership of Rugeley Grammar School old boy Lt. Col. G H Owen, of erecting a Bailey bridge over the River Sow to link two car parks near the town centre. The bridge work was due to start at 10.30am on Sunday 2nd October 1966. On the right is a rear view of the former Royal Brine Baths buildings which were later demolished to make way for the construction of the new Stafford Borough Council Offices. In the foreground the car parks and several of the buildings would later be demolished to make way for the Staffordshire County Councils new offices, Staffordshire Place.

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Creators: Mr Graham Jones - Contributor

Donor ref:BM-GWJ-img003aa (192/44985)

Source: Mr Bob Metcalfe

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