Friday 11 March 2011

Westgate, then and now

I had something entirely different in mind for today's post but it so happened that I spent a considerable time standing near this place today, waiting to be taken home.  In that time I read every detail about this gate, one of the main entry points into Canterbury in the south of England.  It was built on an earlier gate, that dated from the late 3rd century AD, part of the Roman defences of Canterbury.

The current gate is one of the best examples of a medieval gateway in Britain.  Once part of the city walls, it was built as both a defence and a status symbol for the city.  It took about 10 years to build, started in 1370 and finishing in about 1380.  About a century later it became the city gaol.

This card was published in the mid 1970s.
The Westgate, Canterbury
Dating from about 1380 the Westgate stands in a dominating position on a crossing of the River Stour.  on the right is the Holy Cross Church.
It looks a little different these days.

I can't decide if the picture I took is from a very different position or whether the house on the left is a new addition.  I do know that the church was converted into the city's Guildhall in 1978.  And that the traffic now looks like this:

Quite a tight squeeze but at least it is still being used.  The oncoming traffic skirts around the Westgate, to the right as you see it.

So my wait turned into an impromptu history lesson.  There's a silver lining to every cloud.

This is a post for Postcard Friday, which is hosted by Beth Niquette at The Best Hearts are Crunchy.


  1. i'm glad you had a wait. i learned something new today and very much enjoyed seeing the before postcard and your shots of today. well done! happy pff!

  2. Great post. Cool to compare the now and then photos.

  3. One of your best girl, thanks.

  4. Your time was well spent. The picture I took while there of the river (with rowing boat) managed to get ye olde Pizza Express sign along with the old buildings. Yours is much more impressive.

  5. The position doesn't look that different. The house doesn't look new. Must be though. It seems so pastoral until you take it from the traffic angle. :)

  6. Wow I had a postcard of this very place last week. I couldn't beleive seeing it again on your post.

  7. I would love to have a house that would look on that much history.

  8. I think you're almost in the same position! I love before and after shots like this. I wonder how often vehicles get stuck?

  9. If ever I'm waiting there again, I'll try the view from the other side of that house, because I'm sure it isn't so new. I can't believe even in the 1970s they would have let anyone build right on the edge of the river.

    As for the traffic getting stuck, I noticed a good few gouge marks in the stonework.


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