The shape of things to come in Dunstable

THE Priory Church is the landmark building in this aerial view of Dunstable town centre, taken in 1931.

So we can easily trace the route alongside the church, down Church Street and Luton Road, and see that neatly hedged fields were covering what later became Kingsway, Boscombe Road and the Hadrian Estate.

Vauxhall Motors, Commer Cars and even Dunelm, McDonald’s, Sainsbury’s and the White Lion retail park were still the Shape of Things to Come.

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In the distance, at the top of the photo, can be seen a line of new houses for what appears to be the start of Ridgeway Avenue.

The built-up area around the crossroads has changed dramatically too.

The cluster of homes and streets in what the planners later called “the north-east quadrant” were swept away to create the shopping centre logically named The Quadrant.

And in the foreground, which became known to developers and estate agents as “the south-west quadrant”, another swathe of old Dunstable was eventually demolished to create new shops and car parks around Ashton Street and what is now Wilkinson’s.

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The spire of the Methodist Church is another focal point which will help younger Yesteryear readers to get their bearings and view a vanished scene which was once redolent with historical associations.

> Yesteryear is compiled by John Buckledee, chairman of Dunstable and District Local History Society

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