It is not often that a significant part of public transport history can date back to the 13th Century! Here is sketch of a very early Oxford ...
... with its castle and walls lower right plus a college and a friary with a "field" called Broken Hays.
Gloucester College, Oxford, was a Benedictine institution of the University of Oxford in Oxford, England, from the late 13th century (1283) until the Dissolution of the monasteries in the 16th century. It was never a typical college of the University, in that there was an internal division in the College, by staircase units, into parts where the monasteries sending monks had effective authority.
It later became Gloucester Hall, an annexe of St John's College and was again refounded in 1714 as Worcester College by Sir Thomas Cookes.
But part of Broken Hayes became known as Gloucester Green taking its name from the old college.
Below is a map of the same area with more development and Worcester College replacing Gloucester Hall - with Gloucester Green having some formal building in the centre.
From 1835 onwards, it became the town's Cattle Market, seen here in the 1920s.
Here is an aerial view dated 1928 before the buses arrived.
At the far side of the "square" can be glimpsed he attractive frontage of the City Boys School opened in 1900 and a useful landmark when matching today's views to the older pictures. The school is now a pub!
In 1932 the cattle market was moved, making way for a large bus station which opened in 1935 and a car park. The central building became the cafe which provided an ideal refreshment stop for long distance coaches.
It was busy busy with buses as well; with most "country" and "outer suburban" routes leaving from lines of railings and rudimentary "tin-shed" stands.
Facilities for the developing long distance network were equally spartan!
Note particularly the overarching concern with health and safety as bemused potential passengers went on a search for their holy grail, namely their desired coach service!
This view looks in the opposite direction to the others, towards the "Old Fire Station" ...
... which is now an Arty F*rty Crafty theatrical happening place.
But come the late 80s all was to change. The car park went underground ...
... its surface replaced by an open space which becomes an vibrant and popular market. As a consequence of today's crackpot thinking (?), the former bus station was reduced in size making it too small for the services which use it. To which was added attractive (?) new shops and offices replacing older property and filling some of the space where one were bus stands.
The Old School is at the very top, let of centre, somewhat incongruous as a backdrop to express coaches.
The Old Fire Station at the very bottom ditto. The board game shop (see yesterday's blog) is in the row of shops upper right. The big slab bottom right is the Odious Cinema.
But, without doubt, the "new" Market Square is so much nicer than its predecessor car park!
Next Cannock blog : Monday 20th February
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