Winchester, steeped in history and the final resting place of Alfred the Great. Being one of the oldest cities in England, and the last stronghold of the Alfred's Wessex, it seemed a fitting place to start my historic journey.

The oldest house in Winchester c1450. It is currently reffered to simply as The Chesil (function rooms) but in 1896 was The Old Chesil Rectory and has seen many changes in between, including, apropriately, an antique shop and in 1965 it was a cafe. There are a number of images of Winchester in the Francis Frith Collection showing these changes. The oldest of these was in 1896 but the closest to the image here is one taken in 1928 showing the road to the right and advertising billboards on the walls of the building. You can see from these early pictures that a substantial amount of renovation has been carried out to achieve what you now see.

The Buttercross: One of the oldest monuments in Winchester, older than the statue of Alfred the Great, more on that later. Pretty much the epicentre of the town, around midway along the High Street and surrounded by historic buildings, most of which are apparent in the 1893 image that this copies. The red brick building in the centre seems to have been mostly rebuilt, rather than preserved, but keeping the original appearance as near as is possible to the original. In the 1893 picture it was Coppins Supply Stores, becoming City Cross Refreshments by 1899 and in 1909 it had changed to Allens Sweets and remained that way until at least 1955.


Looking down the High Street from the Westgate end, still very little has changed in the buildings, even the clock is fundamentally the same, although on close inspection it has been renovated. Having said, after 130 years plus of service it's hardly surprising. I was supposed to take this from the other side of the street but there was a busker in the way there so I settled for this. I wonder if they had buskers in 1896, I guess there may have been the odd strolling player.

Further on up the road and beyond the Westgate looking back we finally see a change. The fortified building on the left has gone, and given way to the road, which now runs around the Westgate Arch instead of through it. Interestingly the buildings on the right are referred to as new in the picture of 1896. The monument in the centre of what is now a roundabout has gone, along with the lamp alongside it, oh! and the organic material has been cleaned up. Interestingly there is a tiny sapling tree in the original picture and now it looks like a slightly larger sappling tree, it doesn't seem to have grown much in 130 years.


The Broadway: Back to that statue of Alfred the Great, which is clearly evident here but not in the picture of 1899. That is because the statue was erected and unveiled in 1899, on the 1000th anniversary of Alfred's death, but it must have been just after the picture was taken. Someone from Friths went back in 1901 just to take a picture of the statue. Note that the building beyond the statue is still there but with a new roof, apart from that this is another example of the lack of change, except the traffic.

The last in my series of pictures from Winchester and probably the oldest. This small group of houses known as The Pict lie behind the cathedral by the Kings Gate entrance into the city and are probably as old as the Kings Gate itself, which is medieval. It is also one of the oldest pictures of Winchester in the Frith collection, taken in 1890. The angle here is slightly different to the original due to there now being a large overhanging tree to my right which wasn't apparent in the original.


Website hosted by obscura135                                                                 ©35mil Plus all rights reserved