Chapel Ash

Chapel Ash has long been an important thoroughfare as it lies on the main route from town to Shrewsbury, Holyhead and Bridgnorth. In the late 19th century it was an important suburb due to the extensive housing around St Marks Road and Great Brickkiln Street. This led to the development of Chapel Ash as an important shopping area, a role which it has only recently relinquished. As the 19th century housing disappeared, and Chapel Ash became a little isolated with the building of the ring road many of the well known traders closed their doors for the last time. The following photographs were taken at a time when a large variety of goods were still on sale in Chapel Ash, and it was just about possible to do most of the weekly shopping there.
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This February 1975 view was taken about three months before these shops were demolished to make way for the new Banks's Brewery car park. Directly opposite is the premises of John Smith and to its left W.J. Thomas who were ironmongers. 
Also taken in February 1975 is this photograph showing the car park and rear of the shops that are in the top photograph. Note the old brew house which would have been so important when people lived as well as traded here. CHAPELASH2.jpg (22940 bytes)
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The same scene in May 1975 when the demolition work was nearly complete. Like many of the Victorian suburbs it was a complex jigsaw made up of all kinds of adjoining buildings.
There were quite a variety of shops still here in July 1974. Opposite is Sheba travel agents, De-Babel restaurant, Warners Photography, Paynes shoe repairs, The Gooseberry Bush Pram Shop, Warners Audio & Professional, Hubus Cash Registers, Clayton Estate Agents, International Foodstores, Wilsons and the Clarendon Hotel. CHAPELASH12.jpg (35180 bytes)

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Warners Photography was one of the better known photographic shops in the town. They stocked a large variety of equipment, and catered for all interests.

The staff were always extremely helpful and polite. In the 1970's it was often the only place in town where it was possible to purchase a particular camera or accessory. It was sad to see it go.

This 1975 view again shows the tremendous variety of shops that were found here. Paynes shoe repairers and The Gooseberry Bush pram shop would have catered for the local population which dispersed with the demolition of the Victorian housing.

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Warners Audio and Professional was also very special. The audio side of the business catered for both the expanding domestic hi-fi market, professional audio companies and educational establishments. This was reflected in the wide variety of equipment stocked.

Upstairs was the professional photographic section. This was the only photographic business of its type in the town selling the very best in cameras and darkroom equipment. Warners Professional moved to Sutherland House, Sutherland Avenue, Bilston.

In the 1970's Chapel Ash still retained an outward appearance of affluence. CHAPELASH5.jpg (30751 bytes)
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The Clarendon Hotel has always been the figurehead for the local brewery. Its well painted exterior and etched glass windows give a very good impression.

On a day when brewing is in progress Chapel Ash acquires an extremely distinctive and pleasant smell.

The south side of Chapel Ash echoes the north side with a large variety of businesses varying from Barclays Bank opposite, to a furniture shop and a car repairers. CHAPELASH4.jpg (30328 bytes)
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Directly opposite is Jones and Griffiths estate agents who are on the corner of Meadow Street.

On the other corner is Kestrel Kleeners who are dry cleaners. Next door is E. Glass watch repairers and Dewhurst the butchers. Next door to them is Bulleys estate agents and Derwent TV rentals and sales.

A July 1974 view of the bottom of Chapel Ash from Compton Road. The building directly ahead on the corner of Bath Road is occupied by Charles Clark car dealers.

Banks' brewery is very prominent in the background, the chimneys being a local landmark.

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