Avenues to the Past: Stirling’s Historic Streets

This post is about an exhibition that has already closed.  Sorry about that, but I did not get to see it until its penultimate day.  It had only a three-week life, so I hope you forgive me.

Avenues to the Past was a small exhibition about Stirling’s Historic Streets, not only retail focused ones, but also residential ones.  It was only a few wall boards and some leaflets and information and perhaps was more of a promotion for Stirling City Heritage Trust, but it was interesting nonetheless.

It was also interesting in its location, being held in Made in Stirling.  I have written about that initiative before (in fact almost 10 years ago, and it is still going strong after several moves), but this exhibition took place in their (relatively) new and much larger premises containing sales, gallery, exhibition and workshop space.

The exhibition itself focused on the historic buildings and areas of the City of Stirling.  It was mainly descriptive but collectively showcased the sheer range of important buildings and streetscapes.  Some aspects focused on what we had lost, but most reaffirmed the quality of what we have and why we need to support and protect them.

In addition, a small range of free leaflets were available, some from previous activities and some linked to ongoing work.  These focused on the main shopping/banking street of Stirling, King Street, prior to the development of the Thistles Centre, and on the various architects who ‘built Stirling’ and whose designs and buildings can be seen on various walking tours (self-guided) in the City. These are really interesting and informative and showcase the buildings we have very well. The Stirling City Heritage Trust website has online exhibitions both John Allan and McLuckie and Walker (the men who “built Stirling”)

My overall thought was of how little of this history is known or visible as you walk around.  So much more could be made of these assets and hopefully more will happen due to recent £3m Conservation Areas Regeneration Scheme (CARS) grant and other funding.

Wouldn’t for example it be great if the Arcade (one of the few originals in Scotland) could become a thriving place again and if the Alhambra Theatre in the Arcade could be renovated and brought back into use?  We neglect all of these elements at our peril as they combine to make that sense of interest and place all towns, or indeed cities, need and want.

A screen grab of the Stirling City Heritage Trust website
Stirling City Heritage Trust website

About Leigh Sparks

I am Professor of Retail Studies at the Institute for Retail Studies, University of Stirling, where I research and teach aspects of retailing and retail supply chains, alongside various colleagues. I am Chair of Scotland's Towns Partnership. I am also a Deputy Principal of the University, with responsibility for Education and Students.
This entry was posted in Arcades, Architecture, Buildings, City Centres, Exhibitions, High Streets, Historic Shops, Places, Retailers, Stirling, Streets, Streetscapes, Town Centres, Towns, Urban History and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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