How Buttermarket changed in 100 years
Canterbury’s well known Buttermarket is featured here in pictures taken about a hundred years apart. Three of the city’s ancient thoroughfares converge here, namely Burgate Street, Mercery Lane and Sun Street. It is also an area entirely untouched by the Blitz, thanks to the efforts of the National Fire Service in halting the spread of the incendiary fire at nearby Butchery Lane.
The older picture, from about 1900, shows the famous Marlowe Memorial in its original location. It was erected here in 1891, not long after an ovalshaped covered market building had been demolished.
Soaring up behind is the battered and weathered façade of the Christchurch Gate, which is now the main entrance to Canterbury Cathedral, although in the times of the priory, it was mainly used as access to the lay cemetery.
In 1921, the Marlowe Memorial was moved to the Dane John, to make way for the city’s memorial to the Great War. This can be seen in the second photo, which dates from 1997.
Restoration and repair of the old early 16th century gateway began in the early 1930s and was completed in two stages. The final stage of work was the reinstatement of the two top turrets, which was completed in the months leading up to the Second World War. By the early 1950s, the Buttermarket was in use as a casual car park. Later on still, the Marlowe Memorial went on the move yet again.
This time it was placed in front of the new Marlowe Theatre in The Friars, where it remains to this day.
The Buttermarket in about 1900
The same view about a century later