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Then and now pictures from Canterbury

From the Cathedral where Thomas Becket was murdered, to the ruins of the abbey founded by St Augustine, Canterbury is steeped in history.

So much so that in 1988 it was named a world heritage site by UNESCO.

Thanks to historic landmarks like its Cathedral, Canterbury is a world heritage site
Thanks to historic landmarks like its Cathedral, Canterbury is a world heritage site

Of course, the city has changed dramatically over the centuries - particularly with the construction of its ring-road and the Whitefriars shopping centre.

But, as the archives pictures below show, if you make your way from St George's Tower through the high street to the Westgate Towers, you can enjoy a true stroll down memory lane.

Slide the white dot across the pictures to see how Canterbury has changed over the years.

St George's Tower

Hop off the bus at the city's station, take a left at Fenwick, walk past Wilko and you'll reach St George's Tower.

The picture above shows how the landmark looked in 1957.

The present tower is thought to date back to the 15th century and was once part of St George's Church where Canterbury's most famous son, Christopher Marlowe, was baptised in 1564.

Like so much of Canterbury, the church was devastated by German bombing raids in 1942.

The tower and its clock are all that remain of this part of the medieval city.

Royal Fountain Hotel and St Margaret's Street

If you take a left off the high street and onto St Margaret's Street, you'll reach the site of what was the city's oldest pub .

What is today the entrance to the Marlowe Arcade, next to HMV, was once The Royal Fountain Hotel.

The four knights who murdered Thomas Becket in the Cathedral in 1170 are said to have first stopped off for a sharpener in this historic inn.

Some even claim it was the oldest pub in England.

But it too met its doom during the Luftwaffe's Baedeker Raids in 1942.

The original Nasons

Carry on walking and you'll reach the corner of Castle Street and St Mary's Street, where the original Nasons store once stood, as the picture below from 1934 shows.

Nasons later became a department store in the high street, before closing in 2018.

There are now plans for the high street site to be turned into a retail arcade, offices and flats .

Meanwhile the old store in Castle Street has been changed into residential use.

High Street hotel

Head back onto the high street and keep walking up and you'll see the empty Poundworld store on your left, along with the Abode Hotel.

Back in 1968, these buildings were home to Baldwin & Son's clothes shop and the County Hotel.

And while you'll rarely see a car along the street these days, in the 60s it was rammed with motorists.

Westgate Towers

At the end of the high street you'll finally reach the Westgate Towers.

In 1941, troops were pictured taking part in an exercise in the shadow of the landmark.

The towers were built in the 1380s during the One Hundred Years’ War to defend Canterbury from foreign incursion.

The 60ft stronghold was later converted into the city gaol.

Now home to a museum, it is also available to hire for special events.

St Peter's Street

Turn back towards the shops at the Westgate Towers and you'll head down St Peter's Street.

The picture above from 1953 shows the latest appliances on offer at the Electricity Showrooms, which were demolished in 1961.

Today, the site is home to the popular Ocakbasi of Kent kebab house.

Changing face of high street

Finally, as you head back down the high street you'll see Pret and Cath Kidston on your left.

In 1975, these buildings were home to Hilton's shoe shop and Boots.

But with the current occupants both facing an uncertain future due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the city's high street may soon be changing once again.

Read more: All the latest news from Canterbury

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