Then and Now (8)
I owe the entirety of this post to Stephen, who first shared this extraordinary postcard out of his family album – then went out and got its modern equivalent too…
What I love about this particular postcard is that it’s not just a scene of what is now Ashburnham Place (Stephen tells me it was Ashburnham Road, as the postcard says, at least until 1938 – he also has a map with it on) but that someone chose to make a postcard on the very day the road was being resurfaced. At first sight I thought the chap at the left was a chimney sweep – but there’s the roller further down the road and several workers.
I wonder if underneath it’s cobbles and this was recording the first tarmac in the street? Or whether, much like Google Streetview today, that was the day the publisher’s photographer visited the street and that was what they got. After all there were thousands of postcards made – they were the equivalent of email today and they were constantly needing new subjects.
But this postcard is fascinating for so many things – not least the strange pillar in the bottom right hand corner that still exists today
Everything’s so neat – matching fences and gates, matching privet hedges and an empty road (for obvious reasons, though I assume it wouldn’t have been rammed with cars as it is today.) And just get that cute lamp post…
Compare that with the same view, taken yesterday by Stephen:
My first thought is that other than the cars and wheelie bins, this scene hasn’t really changed much. There’s still a lamp post in the same place, though it’s not nearly as pretty. The walls on the left are still there, if cut down a little and the houses are generally still as they were – though their window-surrounds are painted now.
I’d say that the biggest change is actually just the sheer amount of clutter. Cars, bins, street furniture, rubbish in the front gardens (something the folk in the first picture wouldn’t have understood at all…) and greenery. But in general Ashburnham Place has come off pretty well if these two pictures are anything to go by…
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