Keep­ing up with dizzy­ing speed of change

Kentish Express Ashford & District - - Remember When? -

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_ kmash@hot­

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.

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