Bridge Street Then & Now (1959): more information..


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Question 1, Answer B: Ye Olde Bridge Tavern, formerly known as Hen and Chickens, was demolished in 1963 to provide access to what is now Bridge Street Car Park. The public house contained a wall painting believed to date to Tudor times this is now in the Museum in the Barracks. The rear of the premises contained the Cellars Wine and Spirit stores, Bottling plant and Aerated Water manufactory of John Brough established in the mid 19th century.

Question 2, Answer C: No.41-43 Bridge Street is currently occupied by Atelier, a popular food and drink emporium, but in 1959 it was home to J. Mc Adam & Son, a ‘plumbers and heating engineers’. In 1989 the buildings were purchased by the Berwick-upon-Tweed Preservation Trust and by 1991 they were successfully restored to their original shop fronts.

Question 3, Answer B: No. 2 Love Lane / No. 64 West Street

Previously known as Victoria Building this shop was bought by the Cowe family in the early 20th century but leased until the 1960s when they opened their wholesale business in addition to their shop next door. The shop has currently been empty for over 10 years.

Question 4, Answer A: No.4-6 Bridge End

Hargreaves is the only shop on Bridge Street in this quiz that has stayed the same between 1959 and 2021. This business began its life here in the March 1954 when Norman Hargreaves Electrical Contractor took over the Radel Electric Company at 6 Bridge End.

Question 5, Answer B: No. 44 Bridge Street

No.44 has had many uses over the years and has recently changed hands once again to become Derrants. In the late 1800s it was home to a Fish and Game Dealer, a milliner and a ladies underclothing shop. By the 1920s it housed Gladstone’s painting and decorating business until they sold the premises to Scottish Rural Gas Ltd. They opened their Bridge Street premises in May 1949 to supply consumers in the Berwick area.

‘The gas itself is supplied from the Grangemouth refinery of Scottish Oils Ltd., where it is obtained from the distillation of crude oil brought straight from the oilfields of the Persian Gulf.’ – Berwick Advertiser 26 May 1949

Question 6, Answer C: No. 52 Bridge Street

The Pram Shop proudly claimed to offer the ‘Largest selection of prams and nursery furniture in the Borders’ with ‘over 100 prams to chose from’ (Berwick Advertiser, 23 January 1958), in its Bridge Street premises. In this picture the shop had recently closed and moved further along bridge street to No.14. Previously it had also been in No.28 Bridge Street.

Question 7, Answer A: Nos. 13, 15 and 17 Bridge Street

Over 60 years ago these buildings were home to slightly different shops. No.13 (now Studio Hair Design) was R.H.D. Knox Antique Dealer while No.15 (now Berwick Cycles) was Chappell’s which specialised in cycles and motorcycles despite it having formerly been the Waverly Arms Public House. During this time No.17 (now Mule on Rouge) was The Photo Centre, a family-run press agency and photo studio. A exhibition of their photographs is currently on display at the Granary Gallery, Bridge Street. The most obvious difference between these pictures is the absence of Ye Olde Bridge Tavern which was demolished during the 1960s to make way for Bridge Street Car Park.

Question 8, Answer B: No.61 Bridge Street has been home to The Barrels Ale House for more than 20 years, and the Victorian shopfront seems to have changed very little since 1959. Do you know when it became Barrels or do you remember what it was before?

Question 9, Answer A: In 1959 the building now known as Bridge End House was the Berwick Branch of The National Bank of Scotland Ltd.

Question 10, Answer C: No.64-66 Bridge Street.

This building was possibly once two separate shops, during 1800s R. Weatherhead a grocer is listed and so is Richard Nicholson a watch and clockmaker. Around 1868 premises was bought by William Cowe, described as ‘Tea Dealers, Family Grocers, and Italian Warehousemen’ and makers of the famous Berwick Cockles. Audela restaurant currently occupies the recently restored shop.

About the author 

Siobhan Bankier

Masters student in Public History at Queens University Belfast. Grew up in Northumberland and have always been fascinated by the history of the area.
Berwick Heritage Open Days social media curator.

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