Remembering the High Street: An ode to the city then and now

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Posted on: 19 July 2017 by Christopher McKissock

Reminiscing on the things that have and haven't changed across our favorite UK high streets.

When you hear the name of your local city, it’s hard not to think of it as it once was. For many of us, the high street played a big part in our lives – a place to go to work, somewhere to buy food and clothes and a place we could enjoy a pleasant evening out with our closest friends. Nowadays, a trip into town can seem like a daunting task for many of us; so much seems to have changed and only a few shops remain the same as they once were when we were young.

Many things seem to have happened between then and now that have made our cities look and feel different to how they used to be. First off many shops that used to be a big part of our lives have disappeared off the high street, either from going out of business or becoming obsolete to modern technology. Many of us will remember popping into Dewhurst for meat cuts and Fine Fare to pick up our groceries, or spending time in C&A shopping for clothes and Freeman, Hardy and Willis to find a new pair of shoes. On our paydays, we might even have head to Dixons or Comet to buy a brand new television or radio.

With all these shops gone from the high street, lots of space has been left for new businesses to move in. Many of these are not even shops at all, as lots of them have been gradually replaced with service sector businesses such as restaurants, coffee shops and bars. As customers are chosing to do much of their shopping now online, we are seeing more of a trend towards new diners which are making up for the high street's falling retail profits.

However, there are many things that haven’t changed. Sure, the shops may not be the same as they once were, bus and train stations may have changed and many city buildings will have come and gone, but town is still town, and in many ways it is still the same place it has always been. Looking at how various UK streets have changed over the decades, there are many similarities to be drawn with the streets now and the streets of the past. The cars, shops and signs may have changed, yet the people look just the same - still bustling around for the same reasons; to work, to go shopping and to enjoy themselves with the many exciting things town has to offer. The spirit of each city lives on, and the high street remains a great place to soak in the culture that every place has always been known for.

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