The changing face of Spalding’s Sheep Market over the years

The striking Regent Cinema building in Sheep Market in 1960.

The striking Regent Cinema building in Sheep Market in 1960.

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Spalding and District Civic Society is sharing with readers a series of pictures showing changes in Spalding over the last 50 years.

Once known as the Gore, it was the market place in front of the Priory gates where traders brought their wares. It was later the sheep market, until the move to the new livestock market (now Holland Market) in 1938.

This 1960s view shows the Regent Cinema in its last days. It opened in 1927 and closed in 1959. There was no mains electricity in 1929 so it always had its own generator. The double seats in the back row were most popular! In the 1950s the Saturday afternoon show cost 5d (2p) with every seventh week free if you got your card stamped. The show began with the Three Stooges followed by a cowboy and then the Superman serial.

The Regent, a beautifully proportioned, Art Deco building, has been replaced by a nondescript square block. Towering above is the telephone exchange, built on the site of the Willesby school. Does it now have any purpose?

On the right in the 1960s photo, the old poultry market building is being demolished. It was converted to the British Restaurant during the war and renamed Civic restaurant afterwards, where you could get a subsidised meal for about 1s-4p. Turners finally had it for a temporary fish and chip shop. The present shop adds nothing architecturally. The Swiss Cottage survives.

Through traffic has thankfully now been removed so there is the opportunity for rearrangement and enhancement to make better use of this important space.

To join the Civic Society ring 01775 767923 for details.