Karl Vaughan’s Back in Time: Enjoying a Wimpy at Friars’ Square

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THIS view of Friars Square from 1983 was shot by my uncle, Ron Adams.

It’s hard to believe that the original shopping centre started to disappear 20 years ago to make way for what we have today. Time certainly does fly.

I remember the place so well, having spent most of my childhood shopping there, mainly on Saturdays when I would go with my mum to Tesco, Boots and Woolworth.

When Woolworth opened their store in late 1969 it was one of the largest in the country.

It occupied a large part of the shopping centre and had three floors.

The ground floor was the food hall where there was a huge fish in a frame behind the main counter.

This hall is now occupied by Aylesbury lending library.

At the back of the hall were double doors which led out into the bus station.

Escalators took you up to the first floor which had a good record section – I bought my first seven-inch single there.

On the top floor was the cafe.

DIY and electrical goods were also sold on that floor.

Over the years the store began to shrink in size.

By the late 1980s most of the shopping was done on the first floor.

The Wimpy restaurant started life as the Cadena which had a rotating sign on its roof.

The sunken area below was the open market which moved from Market Square in 1967 when the first phase of the shopping centre opened.

When all the shops were closed at the end of the day, boys would tear about the place on their BMX bikes and skateboards.

They built ramps from crates and boards which were placed in certain strategic places.

Kids today would have loved it – a ready made playground!

> Do you have an old photograph you would like to share with Karl? Phone 01296 619764 or email it to us at editorial@bucksherald.co.uk