Cataclysmic destruction

CIVIC VANDALISM: Colnes Church Street demolition, 1956. (S)
CIVIC VANDALISM: Colnes Church Street demolition, 1956. (S)

Between the years 1952 to 1959 Colne’s south side of Church Street was hit by a cataclysmic ongoing sequence of civic vandalism that changed the town of yesteryear forever.

Important and historic buildings bulldozed to the ground in the name of “a period of progress”.

Sadly the decisions of those ill-advised poltroons destroyed a corner of the town that had taken centuries to evolve.

Gone forever, our majestic and aesthetic Cloth Hall of 1775, our very last bow-fronted shop which had stood unchanged for over 200 years and a palatial Georgian mansion house with a copper and granite wall sundial dated 1714, all these and so much more wiped out in the name of modernity, from time-honoured to neoteric within a few years.

Our column picture from 1956 is taken looking through Alan Wharton’s demolished sports shop at 9 Church Street to the shops across the road.

From left to right we see William Green, the master-butcher’s shop, Kenneth Riley, high-class confectioners, then the ancient Gosling Yard with Hanslips, the drug-store and fancy goods on the far right.

I’m proud to report that the 1875 Gosling Yard cast-iron sign has survived the yard’s demolition, being presented to me for my collection by the late affable businessman Doug Guest.