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Then and now pictures from Sittingbourne town centre

We've all said it! Things aren't what they used to be, the town was a lot different back in the day.

Well, this got us thinking here at KentOnline, so we decided to delve into our archives.

The Sittingbourne town sign on London Road near Key Street
The Sittingbourne town sign on London Road near Key Street

We chose to focus on Sittingbourne town centre, sending one of our photographers out to investigate.

His job was simple: take pictures of scenes his predecessors had captured way back when.

With changed road layouts and new street furniture, it wasn't as simple as we'd originally thought.

But here's 10 slider photos showing old and new.

We hope you enjoy this trip down memory lane.

Trotts Hall Gardens

Pictured here are men collecting furniture from bombed-out houses in a street off Avenue of Remembrance near Sainsbury's.

It's February 1941 and the Second World War is raging.

Thankfully the 2020 version shows a much more peaceful scene.

The George pub, High Street

It was just a month after Margaret Thatcher was forced to resign when the original photo was taken in December 1990.

Like lots of pubs, the George has endured ups and downs over the years, especially recently when it was forced to close because of the pandemic.

But fingers crossed, punters are back enjoying a pint at this High Street venue.

The Bull, High Street

In its day, it was arguably the pub of choice for thousands of townspeople.

Pictured here in July 1990, it was certainly one of Sittingbourne's most historic inns.

After a number of years being boarded up, it was converted into Tacos Locos Mexican restaurant in 2018.

The Red Lion, High Street

Pictured here in 1990, the Red Lion is still a thriving pub in the town centre.

Famous for having hosted visits from Henry VIII and Henry V, it has a fascinating history.

However, too few people noticed the actual red lion on top of the building.

The Forum, Sittingbourne High Street

Back in September 1989 when this photo was taken, this mini-shopping centre was a popular place to go.

However, with retail changing dramatically in recent years, it doesn't have as much to offer visitors these days.

Hopefully with the long-awaited cinema and restaurant complex opening next door this autumn, it will see a resurgence.

Memorial Hospital, Bell Road

This photo was snapped in November 1976, the month Jimmy Carter was elected US President and Showaddywaddy were singing Under The Moon Of Love.

The difference is obvious, with a glass-covered entrance being added to the structure in the intervening years.

The complex also houses the Memorial Medical Practice, which has thousands of patients on its books.

High Street

Apart from a different road layout, what's striking about this photo from January 1989 is the old cars.

We think the one at the back is a Rover 3500 and the one in front of it a Vauxhall Cavalier.

The covered entrance to the Forum is something new in the recent picture.

Pembury Court, Pembury Street

Opened as housing for elderly people, Pembury Court is pictured here in April 1972.

There has been some extensions to the building over the years as you can't clearly see nearby Holy Trinity Church any longer.

How many of the old cars do you recognise?

East Street

At the bottom of the High Street, East Street used to be a busy place for traders and shoppers.

These days there are more barbers and fast food jaunts than anything else.

The old picture was taken in November 1976.

Coniston Hotel, London Road

In February 1986, the famous old town hotel was the place for visitors to stay and for parties and receptions.

It made national headlines almost 20 years ago when it was suggested it be turned into a refuge for asylum seekers.

Now part of the Holiday Inn chain, it has new competition after Travelodge opened a hotel next to the new cinema earlier this year.

Read more: All the latest news from Sittingbourne

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