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Exeter High Street, 1972, Exeter

Photograph of Exeter High Street, 1972, Exeter

This Express & Echo photograph may have been taken from the building that now houses Urban Outfitters and shows the area of High Street stretching from those premises to Sidwell Street. In this view dating to 1972, Exeter High Street looked much as it had done since being rebuilt after the blitz. It still contained a wide range of shops, both large and small, pedestrianisation had not yet began and traffic still flowed through the street. Shops had not yet relocated into shopping centres or out of town venues and the internet was still decades away.

Looks can be deceiving, however, and times were already changing. In 1972 C & A Modes opened in a new building constructed on the corner of Queen Street and High Street, now occupied by Sports Direct and Tesco, and in the same year ground works for the Golden Heart Project were begun, which would culminate in the opening of the Guildhall Shopping Centre in 1976. With the new shopping centre came new businesses such as Littlewoods and Sainsburys, established businesses such as W.H. Smith relocated from the High Street and F. W. Woolworths extended their High Street branch to link through to it. As a result, the main focus of shopping in Exeter moved away from the High Street between Queen Street and Sidwell Street and into the Guildhall Shopping Centre and the section of High Street between Queen Street and North Street. This movement accelerated after 1981, with the relocation of Marks and Spencer from the corner of Castle Street and High Street into a large new building on the corner of Queen Street and High Street, which also connected through to the shopping centre.

Image Details

Date 20th century
Year 1972
Place Exeter
County Devon
Medium Photograph
Format Photograph
Subject Streets
Size 157x209mm
Creator Express & Echo
Publisher Express & Echo
Prints and Drawing Number 02978