Town festooned with splendid new lights
Following last week’s Remember When, this week we continue the Spirit of Christmas past in the town by looking at one of the first colour pictures taken of the festoon lighting that proudly dressed the heart of the town in December, 1972. In the years prior to that Ashford had not witnessed such extravagance and splendour, so this type of lighting was new to the town centre. Similar displays were used up until the late 1980s until the lights had to be replaced. Today the town of Ashford still makes a conscious effort to light up the town at Christmas, but extravagance isn’t an option with continuing rising costs. One view, not pictured, shows the Lower High Street when the buses still stopped outside the Co-op – and many will remember the Odeon, which closed in 1976 to be converted into a Top Rank Bingo hall. Another of the set shows Bank Street, near the junction with Tufton Street. Many people will recall the shops there in bygone days, such as Burnage, Frank Manning, Kingsman’s the Baker and Timothy Whites. Our featured picture shows the Lower High Street at its best, a view taken from the bottom looking up towards Middle Row. In 1976, the street was partially pedestrianised, but it wasn’t until 1999, that tarmac was replaced by York stone and cobbles, making the town traffic free during daytime business hours. This Saturday for the second weekend running, I will be signing copies of all five of my books at Sussex Stationers in the High Street, after selling out of my current book Remembering Ashford last weekend. The book has been reordered, and will be available from Saturday. Unless you catch me walking around the town, this will be the final chance to get your signed copies, which are ideal Christmas presents. Even if you have purchased copies elsewhere, please do come and meet me, and I will of course sign these too.
Have you got any pictures, negatives or transparencies from the past that you would be willing to share with readers? If so, send them with brief details, to Steve Salter, Kentish Express Remember When, 34-36 North Street, Ashford, Kent, TN24 8JR, or by e-mail to, rememberwhen_ firstname.lastname@example.org Please supply a return address for the return of originals.