Keeping up with dizzying speed of change
Ashford is one of those towns that can alter overnight – or so it seems
There are parts of our town that many of us visit frequently or on a day-today basis, but there are other areas that alter dramatically, leaving us shocked when visiting them after a long period of not venturing there at all.
It can be said that in recent times, the town has changed at a great pace, leaving some confused and lost. Expansion at Ashford continues fourfold, and while the authorities may be ecstatic over these changes, long-term residents hanker after the old market town where they grew up.
As a historian, I am indebted to those who had the foresight to photograph the town in days gone by.
Even pictures of the town’s obscurities exist.
Pictures are always enlightening and often settle queries and arguments, particularly when the building or place in question is no longer there.
With many towns, pictures of obscurities can be thin on the ground, but my personal archive of more than 200,000 images contains most areas of Ashford over the decades.
I have been collecting pictures and photographing the town since 1984, so always get particularly excited when I acquire pictures I haven’t seen before.
You can often guarantee identification, even with pictures of areas where the buildings or subjects have altered dramatically or disappeared completely.
This week, Remember When looks at a mixed bag of pictures, showing some of the sights of the town that have changed before our very eyes.
Do you have any photographs or slides that you would be willing to loan me, to enable them to be scanned for possible feature in the Kentish Express?
Please don’t delay, get in touch!
Write to me: Steve Salter, Kentish Express Remember When, 34-36 North Street, Ashford, Kent TN24 8JR.
E-mail me: rememberwhen_ firstname.lastname@example.org
Follow me on Twitter @ SteveKMAshford
Alternatively, you can also leave a telephone message for me by calling (01233) 623232 and providing brief contact details.
Bad Munstereifel Road, 1984. Here we can see the beginnings of the Ashford Business Park – a continuing source of concerns over road safety – between Willesborough and Sevington. The picture shows Barrey Road, Church Road and Foster Road, with the classic line to the coast running from left to right. Almost 30 years after its creation, the dangerous junction has yet again become subject of a petition to make it safer. It was bad enough all those years ago, when the road was completed. Now, with even more cars on the road and shops to choose from, the junction is a death trap waiting to happen.
Wallis Road, 1978. The long-forgotten offices and works of Mid Kent Water can be seen in this rare view of the area situated behind the lower section of Hythe Road. The former works site is now home to new housing that also includes neighbouring Gordon Close.
Beaver Road, 1978. A splendid aerial view showing a largely altered area of the town, many years before Ashford International Station was built. Newtown Road still exists in this view, as does the old cinema at the corner of Newtown and Beaver Roads, the sorting office in the former Drill Hall, Kwik Fit Euro, the old Beaver Road School and the one-time Victoria Hotel, Butchers Hotel and row of shops and dwellings.