Christchurch: Bargates, High Street, and Castle Street
This page follows Miscellaneous photos, the 1960s. Together with subsequent pages, it constitutes a virtual tour of Christchurch on the Dorset coast of England.
I took most of these photos in 2020 and 2021. The photos I took in May 2020 used a Fujifilm FinePix HS50 EXR zoom camera. I took the remaining photos with a newer Fujifilm X100F fixed lens compact. Both are electronic cameras despite the film part of the name Fujifilm.
I have also included a couple of photos from 1996 taken with a film camera.
The sequence starts from the railway bridge where Fairmile Road becomes Bargates, proceeds down to the High street, and left onto Castle Street. Photos of subsequent parts of the route are on following pages.
For a closer look at the hill, see On the hill part 1: South and central.
Turning around 180 degrees and taking a few steps toward Bargates…
Castle’s was there when I first came to the area in 1964. Here in Britain we call a hardware store an iron monger. (Or we used to.)
I took this photo in the morning. By afternoon, the Coffee Pot is on the shadowed side of the street.
Emerging from the pedestrian tunnel under the bypass* in August 2020 you enocunter a new café on the corner of the High Street…
* Semi literate people, who constitute a large proportion of the local population, have no problem associating the word bypass with a road that leads straight to the town center.
Incidentally, the only café in Christchurch (Dorset) I do not recommend is Caffè Nero on the corner of the High street/Saxon Square.
Re-crossing the street (in a virtual sense) and proceeding to Saxon Square past the red phone box and past the steps of the underpass…
Picture this – a day in December
Picture this – feezing cold weather
You got clouds on your lids and you’d be on the skids
If it weren’t for your job at the garage.
— From the lyrics of Picture This by Blondie/Deborah Harry/Chris Stein/Jimmy Destri 1978
New in August 2020 was the Picture This art gallery featuring the work of Kate Marr (that’s her in the white jacket). The gallery was closed by November, being replaced by a candy store (sweet shop) but the Picture This gallery is open in Bournemouth. See under External link later on this page.
The Oasis café is long gone, but I remember sitting outside it with my old mum in the last year of her life reading a magazine about World War 2 airplanes that I had just bought in WH Smith, a few metres away. At the time of writing (summer 2020) these premises are occupied by one of a succession of small businesses that, while possibly viable in London, are doomed to fail in provincial Britain, their parting message sometimes appearing as a printed sheet complaining that they were forced to close because of insufficient government subsidy. The free market, eh?
These three are skilled guitarists and harmonious vocalists (or what we used to call singers). They perform mainly Beatles songs and they seem to call themselves The Henrys (if I recall right). They have a web site, but I did not make a note of it, figuring that a well-phrased search would find it. Well phrased or otherwise, I found no trace of them online.
Out of Saxon Square and on to the High Street, this saxophonist is in front of the town hall.
Looking north along the High Street on a Monday…
The spire of this church is prominent in a photo I took from a nearby hill looking towards the priory and the coast. See On the hill part 1: South and central.
This was during the 2020 coronavirus pandemic, during which many shops were closed and pedestrians kept a two-metre distance apart, unless they were members of the same household.
The doors at the end of the arcade used to be an entrance to the main post office. Now (in 2020) it is a vintage ladies’ dress shop. Inside the glass at right is a café bar, but for many years it was a carpet store. And the Pizza Express on the left was in the early- and mid-1990s a shop of mixed content, which included plastic model kits and even aviation postcards. The spaces farther down have changed use similarly over the years.
The Post Office arcade is just out of view to the left. The Oxfam premises are now (in 2020) occupied by a mobile phone store. Courts carpet store is now a large cafe-bar. Bookends book store, next along from Courts, had in 1996 just moved from its much smaller premises in Church Street; behind us in this view. Bookends is still (in 2020) in its new location.
Proceeding from the mini roundabout at the end of the High street onto Castle Street, from which the red car is emerging in the preceding photo…
This topic continues in Christchurch: Convent Walk, priory and grounds.
Picture This Art Gallery with Artist Kate Marr