Millbay Railway Line & Union Street, 1971

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Featured in the Plymouth Extra on the 4 September 2008.

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PD/1/3/10 - Millbay Railway Line & Union Street, 1971

"It all seems so familiar, but it's all so very different today, especially with regard to the foreground. Perhaps the most obvious clue to the dating here is the bridge carrying the railway into Millbay; this came down towards the end of 1974, along with the many units housed beneath, and either side of it. Our picture here, though, quite clearly showing the Sweet Lemon Cafe on this side of the bridge to the right, is a few years earlier than that even: that is, if the clue provided by the film showing at the Drake Cinema is to be taken at face value. The feature-length TV spin-off film of 'Dad's Army' was originally released in this country in March 1971 and that would seem like a good guesstimate for this glorious colour image.

Back then the car park (note only one care in it!) was still very new and even the Drake Cinema itself was only 13 years old. Westward TV, with its giant coloured, ceramic map of the West Country facade, was about to celebrate its 10th birthday, while just above its offices, the relocated King Street Methodist Church had been opened back in 1957.

Today, of course, the Drake has gone, along with the car park, the Methodist Church and the brdge, while the old TV studios are not long for this world; one wonders too what the long-term future might be for the Pavilions, and the former Sainsbury's Homebase (Toys R Us) building.

Picture courtesy of the South West Image Bank (01752 665445) ref: PD/1/3/10."

(Commentary by Chris Robinson)


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