• Welcome to Newbury Community Forum. Please login or sign up.

Newbury before the Kennet Shopping Centre

Started by Administrator, January 23, 2014, 10:53:10 am

Previous topic - Next topic



Loving the 'then' photo. What's really noticeable is how built up the area is behind the main streets in the Cheap St, Bartholomew St, Market St triangle. I know part of this was Plenty's works, but was the remainder housing or workshops etc belonging to businesses fronting the streets? If housing, I would love to hear memories of people who lived there.


One building that sticks out like a sore thumb in the "then" photo is that huge white building to the left of St Nicholas church.

This is the old Regal cinema. Which was demolished and replaced by the Pearl Tower. The tower part of which was also demolished in the late nineties I believe. The remains of the Pearl building currently house Iceland, a sports shop, Natures Corner and a unit previously occupied by Fabricland.

I remember queuing all Saturday afternoon back in the sixties to see Cliff Richard in Summer Holiday at the Regal. In those days they let you in as soon as somebody left. This meant that you started watching half way through the film and then had to stay in to see the beginning.


A lot of the buildings in Bart St opposite the Regal, through to Cheap St and to the right of the Jack O'Newbury (Catherine Wheel) PH were destroyed or badly damaged by a large fire in the latter 1960's. It started a day or so after the carnival, and it is thought that smoker's (kids?) gained entry into the 1st floor of a disused building in Bart. St. to watch the carnival, dropped lighted cigarette ends on the floor, which set light to old timbers that smouldered for a while before bursting into noticeable flames. I know the launderette next to the Catherine Wheel, and Tom Carr's (which I believe had possibly ceased trading by then), were damaged by the fire. The Bricklayers suffered some damage too. Many of the buildings between the two streets, of which a lot were originally dwellings but by now many were storage or small workshops, very old buildings with lots of dry timbers, were destroyed by this fire. If I remember rightly, there were eight fire engines at the height of the blaze, and damping down to stop it re-igniting after the main fire was put out, took several days, as access to some of the buildings was quite difficult.