Uxbridge Past and Present
VHS Colour Sound 1992 35:36
Summary: Film taken c1968-1973 of Uxbridge redevelopment and new film of 1991.
Title number: 2369
LSA ID: LSA/3114
Description: The first film 'Uxbridge Panorama' looks at the Borough of Uxbridge, then in the County of Middlesex on the eve of redevelopment. Scenes shots around the town take in the canal, Western Avenue, the clock tower and High Street, and Tudor wood frame buildings. Some wintry scenes show ice and snow floating on the canal. Still images giving artist's impressions of a modern development, and film of a scale model of the plans indicate a possible future for the town. The model is marked with signs indicating 'Stage One' and 'Stage Two'. The cameraman's reflection appears in a window as he films a sign behind it reading 'London Borough of Hillingdon, Uxbridge Central Area Redevelopment, Starting May 1968'. Some more views around the centre of town take in local shops including Burton tailoring (menswear), Dolcis (shoes), Civic, and Hepworth's. The filmmaker goes on to record some of alleys and residential streets facing demolition or change in the new plans, including parts of Vine Street. Demolition work is seen commencing with a man standing precariously on a chimney as he smashes away at its brick structure with a sledgehammer and pickaxe. Elsewhere part demolished buildings are boarded up. A letting agents sign announces new shop and office space to rent, to be completed in early 1970 with an artist's impression of the new buildings. The film moves on to the construction site itself with tall cranes moving materials, men and machines at work and a steel and concrete structure taking shape. This activity is contrasted with quiet residential streets of terrace and semi-dethatched housing. The canal side building of 'F.A. Sedgwick & Co. Brewers of Watford stands next to construction vehicles and equipment. The Wellington Public House and a row of part demolished shops and houses. An elderly woman is filmed standing on the balcony of a brick apartment building. More shots of the construction site are contextualised with a street map showing the areas being developed in the context of New Windsor Street, the High Street, Windsor Street and Vine Street. Shots of the public houses The Railway Arms and the Eight Bells precede more views of partly demolished housing and shops. At the construction site, work has progressed, with windows in the tower block of offices and finishes and fascias in place. At some point later, the new centre has opened and people walk amongst the buildings, while traffic travels on the new relief road. The centralised pedestrian area includes a re-established outdoor market. The filmmaker counterpoints elements of old Uxbridge, the clock tower, an old gas lamp, a church steeple with the cranes raising up the new. These pieces of film are followed by a video sequence entitled 'Uxbridge Panorama 1992'; by J.B. Productions. The video begins at the St. Andrew's Gate of Uxbridge's RAF Station, with views of the gatepost, sentry men and buildings (on screen date indicates it was shot on 13th November 1992). The video then moves through the town centre taking in a branch of Kentucky Fried Chicken, the Regal Cinema, Midland Bank, Randalls department store, Mahjacks Corner, the War memorial, The Metropolitan Public House, The Queens Head Tavern, a public water fountain, The Three Tuns, Uxbridge tube station, The Pavilions shopping mall, the relief road, The Crown and Treaty pub, the Swan & Bottle, the Old Meeting Congregational Church, Christ Church, and the White Horse. The video maker seeks to pick out evidence of the past amongst the modern buildings, which now longer possess the utopian aura surrounding their original design. An onscreen titles proclaims 'The New Uxbridge of the 90's'; and records new glass fronted office blocks of Harman House, the Sainsbury's superstore and car park, the bus garage, the offices of AIB, Wellington House, as well as a new branch of Royal Bank of Scotland, the new library and archives building. Views along and around the High Street take in Lloyd's Bank, the Odeon Cinema, and the offices of BP. Another title announces 'Uxbridge Forward into the Twenty-First Century' before another 'The End'
Credits: Director: J. Bramhill
Further information: Compilation of films shot c.1967-1973 and a new video made in 1992
Keywords: Urban planning; Demolitions; Urban renewal
Locations: United Kingdom; England; London; Hillingdon; Uxbridge
john aldred wrote on June 5, 2022:I grew up in Uxbridge during the 1960s / 70s. At the age fifteen / sixteen my Greenway school friends…I grew up in Uxbridge during the 1960s / 70s. At the age fifteen / sixteen my Greenway school friends and I would head for the high street chippy near the Regal Cinema. As we passed on our way, we were witnessing the demolition of the Eight Bells pub. Even at that young age I sensed that something wrong was happening. Your film has deeply saddened me. It collates, what can only be described as, the criminal tearing out of the heart of a once wonderfully characterful historical town in favour of everlasting architectural boredom. So much for preserving our built heritage for future generations? I saw a young lad a couple of days ago, not much older than I would have been in the early seventies. The large letters on the back of his tea shirt read, " THE FUTURE HAS NO FUTURE". I am old now but would not swap my times for his!
Frank Watson wrote on April 2, 2020:I agree with Bruce on all he says. I too grew up in Uxbridge from the mid 50s onwards…I agree with Bruce on all he says. I too grew up in Uxbridge from the mid 50s onwards Come the 70s the council decimated the place and it still hasn’t stopped today.
The film brought back some very happy memories of a time and place that sadly no longer exists.
Uxbridge may just be a part of London, it’s old heart and quaintness ripped out long ago. So very very sad.
G.Seston wrote on February 17, 2019:Someone in the planning department should be taken to task and be held accountable for the destruction of a lovely…Someone in the planning department should be taken to task and be held accountable for the destruction of a lovely town and neighbourhood. A lot history disappeared when doing so called improvements it’s not the same anymore. Lifeless lumps of concrete and eyesores on the skyline.
Clare wrote on January 7, 2019:So sad to see the wonderful old buildings of Uxbridge before it was blighted with new buildings. I remember the…So sad to see the wonderful old buildings of Uxbridge before it was blighted with new buildings. I remember the old Uxbridge library being demolished needlessly. The civic centre has to be the most hideous building in existence. RAF Uxbridge is now a green space being over taken by ugly towers and lego look, tiny houses. What happened to all the trees?
Bruce Hanson wrote on October 11, 2018:Being part of an old Uxbridge family there is something rather sad in watching this film as it reminds me…Being part of an old Uxbridge family there is something rather sad in watching this film as it reminds me of the Uxbridge before the developers got hold of it and knocked all the character out of the town ( they did more damage than the Luftwaffe during the second world war ). There were medieval buildings destroyed such as those in Cross Street, beautiful old pubs like The Eight Bells demolished, such a shame. All in the name of "Progress" and now replaced with monolithic characterless glass,steel and concrete edifices which would not look out of place in New York or Chicago. The Uxbridge I grew up in during the 50's and 60's with the old cobbled yards with their gas lights, Fassnidge gardens running down to the River Frays, small local shops such as Constables the Bakers, Nicholls the butchers and Peddle ironmongers and everybody knowing everybody else , gone forever. As I reflect on all this I wonder if that development took place today then there would have been preservation orders placed on many of the buildings so ruthlessly , and shamefully sacrificed on the altar of change.
Phil Bullock wrote on August 1, 2018:I was brought up in Uxbridge in the 50's and have fond memories of it. It is now an eyesore…I was brought up in Uxbridge in the 50's and have fond memories of it. It is now an eyesore and if I never go back there I won't be sorry.
Jeff Smith wrote on April 11, 2018:Uxbridge was a lovely little town before the developers got hold of it. I worked at King & Hutchings in…Uxbridge was a lovely little town before the developers got hold of it. I worked at King & Hutchings in Cricketfield Road (behind Randalls) in 1969 and would stroll around the cricket field at lunch time. I would use the Eight Bells pub and remember the landlord. Sad to see the destruction to create a monstrosity of a civic centre.
Sandy wrote on January 16, 2018:Incredible video. I was born in 1993, Uxbridge born and raised. My memory is hazy of the time before the…Incredible video. I was born in 1993, Uxbridge born and raised.
My memory is hazy of the time before the Chimes came in. It's nice to see how my hometown looked like before i had memories of it. So much of it looks identical today. I have some great memories from this place.
Does anyone here have any further insight that grew up during the 70s, 80s or 90s in Uxbridge? What has changed upon returning? Favourite thing about this place? I personally loved the town centre late on a Sunday night (1am), so peaceful and quiet where you can just breathe in the history.
Bruce Hanson wrote on September 16, 2017:1960's architects and developers did more damage to our towns than the German Luftwaffe did during the war and Uxbridge…1960's architects and developers did more damage to our towns than the German Luftwaffe did during the war and Uxbridge is a case in point. What a lovely town it was prior to the redevelopment which knocked the stuffing and all character out of it in the name of "progress" some of those buildings were of Tudor origin and it was a crime that old buildings such as those in Cross Street were obliterated. I was a schoolboy attending The Greenway School at the time and even then was appalled at the destruction of so many fine streets,pubs and buildings ( The Eight Bells at St Andrews). It led on to Uxbridge becoming just another soulless town , a bland concrete jungle. As Cher would sing "if I could turn back time".
Charlie Dorman wrote on August 22, 2017:I am trying to find photographs of the Pavilions Shopping Centre or the Peacock Pub which used to be where…I am trying to find photographs of the Pavilions Shopping Centre or the Peacock Pub which used to be where the shopping centre now is... any leads much appreciated.
graham alexander wrote on May 25, 2017:I am trying to find out more about two mensware shops on Uxbridge High Street. One called Selwyns…I am trying to find out more about two mensware shops on
Uxbridge High Street. One called Selwyns the other called
Maxwells - they may even have been the same premises.
Does anyone know?
Margaret Brayne nee Ward wrote on May 2, 2017:I loved the film but I am heart broken. Our shop (Wards') in Cross Street gone my old church…I loved the film but I am heart broken. Our shop (Wards') in Cross Street gone my old church Provident gone. Crown Wallpapers where I worked, Burtons' where I spent many happy Saturdays. It is very sad that more of the Heritage was not saved.
Jill Hayward wrote on March 17, 2017:Loved this film, brought back so many memories. I lived in Uxbridge as a child, learnt to walk in Fassnidge…Loved this film, brought back so many memories. I lived in Uxbridge as a child, learnt to walk in Fassnidge Park. Worked at King and Hutchings where I met my husband, and then moved back to live there in 1967 when I got married. I remember being in Burtons at a dance when we received the news of President Kennedys assassination.
Geoff Parish wrote on February 13, 2017:I worked at the Stage 1 Uxbridge Central Area Redevelopment from 1968 to 1969 when the contractor Tersons went bust…I worked at the Stage 1 Uxbridge Central Area Redevelopment from 1968 to 1969 when the contractor Tersons went bust and was taken over by Robert McAlpine. The project manager was Adrian Langley. We
had touble fitting the project into the space available - at one stage it jutted out into the High Street. It was eventually sorted out but a corner was close to the Catholic church at the back and we ended up cutting off the existing road access around the church. We removed a road running from the high street back to the church and put a 4 ft 6 inch piling auger through the telephone connections running under the road. GPO engineers spent weeks putting the telphone wires together which ran through the 'Golden Manhole', it had that name. It apparently was part of the connection between Whitehall and High Wycombe where the government would go if nuclear war broke out between the US and the USSR - Happy Days
Tobias Summers wrote on November 2, 2016:Interesting to see what it was like before the pavilions came along and ruined the character of the area. I…Interesting to see what it was like before the pavilions came along and ruined the character of the area. I can imagine it gained quite a lot of controversy at the time due to the unsightly and to some extent ugly brutalist architecture of the pavilions
Alan Peacock wrote on March 3, 2016:I lived twice at raf uxbridge and was amazed at the history of the unit. I was living on the…I lived twice at raf uxbridge and was amazed at the history of the unit. I was living on the camp when the IRA bomb exploded in a barrack block. I also remember that repairs to that barrack block were carried out because it was a listed construction. Does either that barrack block or the wo's and sgt's mess still stand or do armed service listed buildings importance fluctuate when commercial interests means lots of money to whom makes these decisions. I am attempting to find out what happened to raf uxbridge's wos and sgts mess that was the oldest mess in the RAF and surely a listed building?
Terry wrote on October 22, 2015:This film took me back Was nice to see old days before the Pavilions