Chester Rows, Chester, Cheshire


The Cross, Chester
1910s
Publisher: Hugo Lang & Co

Google Street View.

Chester Rows are a set of structures in each of the four main streets of Chester, in the United Kingdom, consisting of a series of covered walkways on the first floor behind which are entrances to shops and other premises. At street level is another set of shops and other premises, many of which are entered by going down a few steps. Dating from the medieval era, the Rows may have been built on top of rubble remaining from the ruins of Roman buildings, but their origin is still subject to speculation.
. . .
There are shops on the street level with wide steps leading to the first floor where there on more shops on the Rows. Above this are 2+ storeys in black-and-white architecture. At street level the shops and other premises are similar to those found in other towns and cities, although many of the premises are entered by going down a few steps. On the first floor level are more shops and other premises, set back from the street, in front of which is a continuous walkway. The storey above this overlaps the walkway, which makes it a covered walkway, and this constitutes what is known as the “Row”. On the street side of the walkways are railings and an area which was used as shelves or stalls for the display of goods. The floors above the level of the Rows are used for commercial or domestic purposes, or for storage.

Wikipedia.

The layout of the Rows goes back to the 13th century. There were shops or warehouses at street level, with a long gallery above, reached by steps from the street level. Living quarters are on the gallery level. In the Middle Ages, this would have been a hall, open to the roof and heated by a central hearth. The private rooms, or solar, were above the gallery. In the Tudor and Jacobean period the upper floors were built out over the gallery, supported on long poles down to the street level. Shops at ground level used the space between the posts to display their goods to passers-by.
Britain Express

To trace the original cause of these rows, with any degree of certainty, is no easy task, concerning which a variety of conjectures have been formed. Some have attributed their origin to the period when Chester was liable to the frequent assaults of the Welsh, which induced the inhabitants to build their houses in this form, so that when the enemy should at any time have forced an entrance, they might avoid the danger of the horsemen, and annoy their assailants as they passed through the streets. This opinion seems to be adopted by Webb, and followed by most other writers on the subject. He says, “And because their conflicts with enemies continued long time, it was needful for them to leave a space before the doors of those their upper buildings, upon which they might stand in safety from the violence of their enemies’ horses, and withall defend their houses from spoyl, and stand with advantage to encounter their enemies, when they made incursions”. I am aware that this has long been, and still is the popular sentiment; but I think there is very good reason to question its correctness.
Chester: a Virtual Stroll Around the Walls

Argyle Street, Glasgow


Argyle Street, Glasgow.
c.1920
Publisher: W. Ritchie & Sons (“Reliable series”), 1902-28

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Argyle Street

Glasgow Trams through the Years

Originally known as Westergait, Argyle Street led west from Trongate to the city’s West Port, the western gate out of the city’s walls. It was renamed in honour of the Duke of Argyll, some time after the removal of the West Port in 1751, as a result of the expansion of the city westward. The old West Port Well stood at the beginning of the street. On both sides of the street stood courts where businesses operated: Sysdney Court, Morrison’s Court, Moodies’s Court, Wellington Court, Wilson’s Court, Buchanan Court, Turner’s Court and Pratt’s Court.

Major reconstruction of the area at the turn of the 1970s which saw the construction of the Glasgow Inner Ring Road, the demolition of Anderston Cross and its replacement with the Anderston Centre complex changed the line of Argyle Street, the eastern half now terminating underneath the Kingston Bridge approach viaduct whilst the main vehicle route over the motorway runs along St. Vincent Street, leaving a 250-metre stretch of the western half of road in Anderston isolated as a cul de sac.
Wikipedia.

Princes Street, Edinburgh


Princes Street East End, Edinburgh
c.1920

Balmoral Hotel & Waverley Market on right

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Princes Street is one of the major thoroughfares in central Edinburgh, Scotland and the main shopping street in the capital. It is the southernmost street of Edinburgh’s New Town, stretching around 1.2 km (three quarters of a mile) from Lothian Road in the west, to Leith Street in the east. The street has few buildings on the south side and looks over Princes Street Gardens allowing panoramic views of the Old Town, Edinburgh Castle, as well as the valley between. Most of the street is limited to trams, buses and taxis with only the east end open to all traffic.
Wikipedia.


Princes St. looking West, Edinburgh
Postmarked 1918
Publisher: Raphael Tuck & Sons
On back:
PRINCES STREET is the finest street in Edinburgh. Practically a mile long, on one side it is lined with splendid shops and magnificent hotels, clubs and public offices, while on the other is a series of beautifully laid-out gardens decorated with statues and monuments, including the graceful Scott Monument (200 feet high) erected after designs by Kemp in 1840-44

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Milsom Street, Bath, England


Milsom Street, Bath

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Milsom Street in Bath, Somerset, England was built in 1762 by Thomas Lightholder. The buildings were originally grand town houses, but most are now used as shops, offices and banks. Most have three storeys with mansard roofs and Corinthian columns.
Wikipedia.

Milsom Street was the fashionable shopping street in Bath: “Do you know I saw the prettiest hat you can imagine in a shop window in Milsom Street just now,” enthuses a friend of Catherine Morland, Jane Austen’s heroine in ‘Northanger Abbey’. It was also a fortuitous street for chance meetings: “in walking up Milsom Street, she had the good fortune to meet with the Admiral. He was standing by himself at a printshop window, with his hands behind him, in earnest contemplation of some print…”
British Library Online Gallery

Stonegate, York


Stonegate, York
1900s
Publisher: Shurey’s Publications

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The road has always been central to the City’s layout. Six feet below its pavement lies the Roman Via Praetoria, which connected the Basilica at the centre of the fortress to the bridge over the River Ouse and the civilian settlement on the other side. The Roman road may have given the street its name, although Francis Drake records in 1736: “It had this name given as is said from the vast quantity of stone lead through this street for the building of the cathedral.” Limestone for the construction of the Minster was indeed brought in from Tadcaster by river. Drake also records that, at the bottom of the street, was a spot called ‘cuckolds’ corner’ although he doesn’t explain why.
History of York

Stonegate has always been one of the major streets of York. It runs south-west from the junction with High and Low Petergate or via principalis, towards the River Ouse and the old Roman bridge, along the line of the via praetoria of the Roman fortress. The via praetoria linked the main fortress gate – under St Helen’s Square – to the headquarters building – under the Minster.
York Civic Trust

Ludgate Hill, London


Ludgate Hill, London
c.1910
Publisher: Photographic Printing & Publishing Company, Croyden

Google Street View (approximately)

Ludgate Hill is a hill in the City of London, near the old Ludgate, a gate to the City that was taken down, with its attached gaol, in 1760. It is the site of St. Paul’s Cathedral, traditionally said to have been the site of a Roman temple of the goddess Diana. It is one of the three ancient hills of London, the others being Tower Hill and Cornhill. The highest point is just north of St. Paul’s, at 17.6 metres (58 ft) above sea level. Ludgate Hill is also the name of a street which runs between St. Paul’s Churchyard and Ludgate Circus (built in 1864), from where it becomes Fleet Street. It was formerly a much narrower street called Ludgate Street.

Many small alleys on Ludgate Hill were swept away in the late 1860s to build Ludgate Hill railway station between Water Lane and New Bridge Street, a station of the London, Chatham and Dover Railway. It was closed in 1923 and the railway bridge and viaduct between Holborn Viaduct and Blackfriars stations was demolished in 1990 to enable the construction of the City Thameslink railway station in a tunnel. This also involved the regrading of the slope of Ludgate Hill at the junction.
Wikipedia.

Of all the eyesores of modern London, surely the most hideous is the Ludgate Hill Viaduct— that enormous flat iron that lies across the chest of Ludgate Hill like a bar of metal on the breast of a wretch in a torture-chamber. Let us hope that a time will come when all designs for City improvements will be compelled to endure the scrutiny and win the approval of a committee of taste. The useful and the beautiful must not for ever be divorced. The railway bridge lies flat across the street, only eighteen feet above the roadway, and is a miracle of clumsy and stubborn ugliness, entirely spoiling the approach to one of the finest buildings in London. The five girders of wrought iron cross the street, here only forty-two feet wide, and the span is sixty feet, in order to allow of future enlargement of the street. Absurd lattice-work, decorative brackets, bronze armorial medallions, and gas lanterns and standards, form a combination that only the unsettled and imitative art of the ruthless nineteenth century could have put together.

Think of what the Egyptians in the times of the Pharaohs did with granite! and observe what we Englishmen of the present day do with iron. Observe this vulgar daubing of brown paint and barbaric gilding, and think of what the Moors did with colour in the courts of the Alhambra! A viaduct was necessary, we allow, but such a viaduct even the architect of the National Gallery would have shuddered at. The difficulties, we however allow, were great. The London, Chatham, and Dover, eager for dividends, was bent on wedding the Metropolitan Railway near Smithfield; but how could the hands of the affianced couple be joined? If there was no viaduct, there must be a tunnel. Now, the bank of the river being a very short distance from Smithfield, a very steep and dangerous gradient would have been required to effect the junction. Moreover, had the line been carried under Ludgate Hill, there must have been a slight detour to ease the ascent, the cost of which detour would have been enormous. The tunnel proposed would have involved the destruction of a few trifles —such, for instance, as Apothecaries’ Hall, the churchyard adjoining, the Times printing office— besides doing injury to the foundations of St. Martin’s Church, the Old Bailey Sessions House, and Newgate. Moreover, no station would have been possible between the Thames and Smithfield. The puzzled inhabitants, therefore, ended in despair by giving evidence in favour of the viaduct. The stolid hammermen went to work, and the iron nightmare was set up in all its Babylonian hideousness.
Old and New London: Volume 1. (1878)

Ludgate Hill— The appearance of this, the western approach to St. Paul’s, has been completely marred by the railway bridge of the London, Chatham, and Dover Railway, which crosses it at its lower end, and destroys the view from Farringdon-circus at its foot. Ludgate-hill is steep, and in slippery weather horses with heavy waggons have serious difficulty in getting up it, though the difficulty and danger have been much lessened by the laying down of the new wood pavement. Some houses recently built near the foot of the hill, on the south side have been thrown back some feet: and it is hoped that eventually the improvement will be carried out throughout the whole length of the street. From Ludgate-hill only can a good view be obtained of the grand western façade of St. Paul’s cathedral, a view that has been greatly improved by the clearing away of the iron railings, so leaving the west front open to Ludgate-hill. Few improvements in a small way have been as valuable and effective as this.
Victorian London (Charles Dickens (Jr.), Dickens’s Dictionary of London, 1879)

Westgate, Canterbury, England


Canterbury, West Gate
c.1910
Publisher: E. Crow, Canterbury

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The Westgate is a medieval gatehouse in Canterbury, Kent, England. This 60-foot (18 m) high western gate of the city wall is the largest surviving city gate in England. Built of Kentish ragstone around 1379, it is the last survivor of Canterbury’s seven medieval gates, still well-preserved and one of the city’s most distinctive landmarks.
Wikipedia.

The largest and arguably the finest of the country’s surviving medieval gateways was built during the 100 Years’ War to defend Canterbury from foreign incursion, and to demonstrate the city’s wealth and importance. The 60-foot (18m) stronghold did not stand alone, as it does now, but was approached over a drawbridge and flanked by impressive walls. Time passed, the military threat lessened, and Westgate was converted into the city gaol. This function, too, came to an end; after a brief period as an archive, it became a museum at the start of the 20th century. Brought back into active service in both World Wars, it played a crucial role in the city’s air defences.
One Pound Lane

Mercery Lane, Canterbury, England


Canterbury. Mercery Lane.
c.1915
Publisher: E. Crow & Son, Canterbury

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To return again to the High street on the northern side of which opposite to St Margaret s street is a narrow lane called Mercery lane anciently Le Mercerie no doubt from that trade having been principally carried forward in it Before the time of the great rebellion there was a colonade on each side of it like that formerly on London Bridge The houses in it are the most ancient of any in the city each story projecting upwards so as almost to meet at the top There has however been a considerable improvement in this lane like the rest of the city many houses have been new fronted The south west corner of it is the site of one of those ancient inns which Chaucer mentions as being frequented by the pilgrims in his time and the inner part of the adjoining premises where every information can be obtained for the stranger and traveller gives some idea still of the manner in which these sort of receptacles for travellers were built This lane leads to the entrance into the precincts of the Cathedral the principal gate of which is opposite to it
“Canterbury Guide”, Henry Ward, 1843, p 24

One of the most famous of all hostelries used to be the “Chequers of the Hope” at the angle of Mercery Lane with the main street, the exact corner where the crowd of pilgrims that had entered by the West Gate turned aside to gain Prior Goldstone’s entrance to the cathedral precincts. But, alas! though the name remains, the building was almost entirely destroyed by fire in 1865. . . . Mercery Lane the name (like that of Butchery Lane, the next narrow turning to the cathedral) reminding us of the days when all of one trade congregated together has a peculiar charm from its very narrowness and lack of straight lines, as well as from the projecting character of most of the houses, several of which are certainly of fourteenth-century building, though altered much in Tudor, Elizabethan, or Stuart times.
“Canterbury, a historical and topographical account of the city”, J. Charles Cox, 1905, pp 280-1

Canterbury Historical & Archaeological Society: Cheker (or Chequer) of Hope

Westgate, Winchester


The Westgate, Winchester
c.1910

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Westgate Museum

The Westgate is one of two surviving fortified gateways in Winchester, England (the other is Kingsgate). The earliest surviving fabric is of Anglo-Saxon character. The gate was rebuilt in the 12th century and modified in the 13th and late 14th centuries, the latter including a portcullis in the western façade and two inverted-keyhole gunports (for use with hand-held cannon), the earliest in the country. The gate was in use until 1959 when the High Street was routed around it.
Wikipedia.