Posters have been springing up around the town centre as businesses celebrate shopping in bygone times thanks to Swanage Museum.
The large A3 signs in windows of shops around Station Road, Institute Road and the High Street show how they used to look. It’s part of a project following on from a major exhibition at Swanage Museum.
Bob Field with his posters outside the Swanage Museum
Look out for the posters in the shop windows. This is in the window of 4Matt Framers in the High Street
“What they looked like in the past”
Co-ordinator Bob Field, who is an art researcher with the museum, said:
“We thought it would be a good idea to get all the shops to have a poster with what they looked like in the past.
“We are hoping that people will come up with other old photos and come along to see the summer exhibition at the museum too.”
Many of the photos on the posters were taken by Basil Buckland back in the 1980s. Others have come from individual shop owners, local families and the museum’s own extensive photo library.
There are even photographs from the famous floods of the 1930s which show shop premises as they were then.
4Matt Framers in some of its many guises over the years
4Matt Framers in 2022
“You do tend to forget”
“It’s taken quite a while to get round all the shops because people have been so delighted they all wanted to chat about it!”
Lisa Leahy, of Purbeck Valet, said:
“I think it’s lovely. It’s a really good idea especially if you’re a local. You do tend to forget what was here, but I think overall the town hasn’t really changed a lot.”
Her own premises were at one time a bakery.
Basil Buckland went round photographing the town in the 1980s including Purbeck Valet
Purbeck Valet in the High Street in 2022
“Nice to discover”
“I knew at one point it had been a Co-op but I didn’t know it had been a bakery so that was nice to discover.”
Opposite, Matt Davis of 4Matt Framers, said:
“This place was all sorts of things that I didn’t know about. It started out as Millward, a department store, then it was Almost Antique and Caroline’s shoes. And then it was Ideal Tool Hire. I remember them being here and I remember it being a bike shop before that.
“It’s fascinating to be able to see how things used to look. I recognise some of the names from when I was a kid.”
A dairy and then a children’s clothes shop
Now it’s the Quarr Gallery in lower High Street
Keith Roker of Quarr Gallery, said:
“I have seen pictures of the building in the 1890s. It was a dairy and restaurant, selling hot Bovril, tea and coffee. Later on, it was a ladies clothes shop and for a while it was Swanage Motors. Then it was a children’s clothing store Bobbies, and another called Stitches.”
“This particular little terrace was built in the 1830s and was called Victoria Terrace at a time when Queen Victoria came to the throne. It’s one of the first examples of ‘polite architecture’ in Swanage – before that the town would have looked like Langton Maravers. After the railways came there was a big building boom.”
The posters are distributed by Swanage Museum which has a special exhibition of old photos right through the summer.
Spot the posters in shops around Swanage and catch the exhibition at the museum