LOOKING BACK: The bustle of Peterborough's Bridge Street

Bridge Street has always been one of the city's key shopping areas '“although in recent years it has struggled to maintain its place at the top of the city's retail offering.
Looking back with Nigel. EMN-170118-164034009Looking back with Nigel. EMN-170118-164034009
Looking back with Nigel. EMN-170118-164034009

The picture (top right) was taken in 1965 (well before pedestrianisation) and shows a bustling Bridge Street. One of its biggest attractions was Brierley’s store which can be seen on the left of the photograph.

Frank Brierley is credited with putting Peterborough on the map as a shopping centre and among his innovations was opening on Good Friday in 1966. The move sparked a furore but he was proved right with 41,000 customers in his store that day and queues snaking back along Bridge Street.

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Two of the street’s mainstays until recently were Woolworths and Marks & Spencer. Former PT librarian Alan Cleaver’s picture (right middle) shows Woolies and M&S, which is in the process of being built, side by side. This picture was taken in 1963.

Looking back with Nigel. EMN-170118-163847009Looking back with Nigel. EMN-170118-163847009
Looking back with Nigel. EMN-170118-163847009

The picture top left, from 1970, shows work going on to expand the Woolworths store.

The space in the foreground was used as a car park before in the 70s it became the site of the Magistrates’ Court in Lower Bridge Street.

The picture (right bottom) also shows the M&S under construction in 1962 sandwiched between Woolies and Halfords.

The picture above shows Marks & Spencer in the 70s.

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Looking back with Nigel. EMN-170118-164011009Looking back with Nigel. EMN-170118-164011009
Looking back with Nigel. EMN-170118-164011009

Sadly, Woolies are no more and last year M&S departed Bridge Street, although it still has a significant presence in the city centre in Queensgate.

If you have any old pictures of Bridge Street which you would like to share please get in touch.

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