All change in Church Street, Dunstable, since Compton forgot bat!

Posters outside a newsagent’s shop are usually an invaluable aid in dating old photos.

Thursday, 17th July 2014, 9:27 am

But, in what must have been a dull news week, the billboards on display here in Church Street, Dunstable, merely publicise Denis Compton’s weekly cricket column and a £1,000 fashion contest.

However, there’s no doubt that this picture, showing part of a Mayoral procession turning right into the Priory Church entrance, was taken in July 1955.

That was the year in which England Test hero Compton famously forgot to bring his bat to a match in South Africa, borrowed one from a cricket museum and went on to score a century! The photo is interesting today because it shows Church Street before most of its buildings were demolished, either to make the road wider or to provide new shops.

The narrow entrance to the crossroads is in the background and the buildings on the right have been replaced by the Priory Heights tower block and the Winston Churchill pub, soon to be an Indian restaurant.

The group in the picture, at the rear of the procession, seem to be members of the Girls Brigade if we are identifying the uniforms correctly.

The Mayor (not visible in this picture) would have been Alderman Walter Robinson, who owned a high street hardware shop.

> Yesteryear is compiled by John Buckledee, chairman of Dunstable and District Local History Society.