Shyneford revisited

shyneford1, originally uploaded by fred pipes.

On Saturday I had a wander around Guildford to see how much it had changed in the 19 years since I left. The Odeon has been demolished, so has the Surrey Ad building! The High Street looks much the same, so does the Castle, and there''s still a market on North Street! Many shops have disappeared: Bretts Burgers, Andertons and Dick Middleton Music have all gone, but EastWest is still there, by the youth centre! The Civic Hall, site of many a fine gig, lies deserted and dark. The Bull's Head on the High Street is now a jewellers, and the Two Brewers has an extra one and is now called The Three Tuns! It was hot so I popped into The Kings Head for a pint, but the football table was nowhere to be seen! The Star is still there, as is Phoenix Court, but no Bonapartes Records. Guildford has become the sort of place they give things away: I got given a free peanut KitKat bar and free bottle of fruity water on the way to the station (Bridge House is different too, and where's Len Ferrar's barbers shop, and the Orphanage Hall?) and outa there! Phew! For a nostalgic view of Guildford, see my Shyneford site.


Johnnynorms said...

Interesting seeing your view of Guildford (sorry, Shyneford) in the early 70s - I didn't get to know the town 'til a bit later, but I do remember Bonaparte records. There is still vinyl enthusiasm thriving in Tunsgate - did you happen upon Ben's Collectors Records?

Nick said...

I hadn’t realised that the Guildford Civic Hall was no more. A little internet research reveals that the last gig there was Gary Brooker and friends (including Eric Clapton) on Jan 4, 2004.

It’s a real shame that this venue has closed. When I used to live in Woking, Captain Beefheart, the Kinks, XTC, Buzzcocks, the Smiths and the Undertones (3 times) were just a few of the acts I saw at the venue in the late 1970s and early 80s.

I wonder if the Royal, the Wooden Bridge and Surrey University still put on live entertainment. It’s good to see that the annual Guilfest event in Stoke Park has been a success (even if the line-up this year is pretty lousy), but a town the size of Guildford does need regular venues for live music.

What was the name of that large 2nd hand bookshop at the top of Guildford high street? I noticed that this shop had closed when I returned to Guildford recently.

Johnnynorms said...

Ah Nick, I am forever envious of your Civic Hall Beefheart fixture. Was that a Doc at the Radar Station era gig?

Thorpes was the secondhand book warren of a shop that sadly passed away.

Nick said...

I can’t remember what had replaced Thorpes bookshop when I was there the other week, but it was almost certainly something corporate and rather dull.

The Captain Beefheart Guildford Civic Hall gig was the 1980 Doc at the Radar Station tour. I don’t think Don Van Vliet played in the UK after this tour.

There is a fairly recently released live CD from that period, recorded in one of the other non-Guildford venues on the 1980 UK tour (Peel played a few tracks from it on his radio show), which I’ve been meaning to try and get hold of.

Like many blokes of a certain age, my favourite gig at the Civic Hall was probably October 1977’s Stiff package tour, featuring Larry Wallis, Costello, Lowe, Wreckless Eric & Ian Dury.

There appears to be an uncertain plan to build a new civic hall for Guildford on the Surrey University site (web link below). Considering the old civic hall closed more than two years ago (I wonder why?), this appears to be disorganised and haphazard planning.