This 1971 photograph by Charles Wardell shows the new shops that were built in Union Street on the north side, a later addition to what was first planned.

Pollyanna 2 was a better-class clothes shop, linked with next door Jacqueline, selling shoes.

The original Pollyanna was part of the line of shops in Weyhill Road, just beyond Burbidge’s but this closed after the opening of the new outlet in Union Street – run incidentally by the mother-in-law of ITV sports presenter Dickie Davies who died recently.

Farther up, the estate agent Young and White looks as if it is about to open, with the company logo in preparation on the upper fascia, while The Toy Shop still has its windows whitewashed.

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Beyond but out of sight is the line of 10 smaller unit shops on the right, while opposite them was an office block and two slightly larger shops, all of which had the luxury of new paving slabs and a weather-proof roof to the central walkway that lay between them.

That initial phase opened in September 1968 and most of these shops had been removed from their original sites in the older shopping streets.

Simmonds – both the camera shop and the book shop – had come from London Street, as had Woodham’s motor accessories and Sidney Fitchew the newsagent, all perhaps in response to doubt over the development future of their properties.

Other arrivals in the new Union Street of 1968 had certainly been forced to move: Leighton’s the opticians and the music dealers Sainsbury Fisher were in the ‘line of fire’, having shops behind the Guildhall or just around the corner.

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Shoe repairers Cox’s had two High Street shops, both of which were under threat, while F J Cook the hairdresser, Bollom’s the dry cleaners, and sports dealers Hammond Bros all moved to Union Street because their premises at the end of Bridge Street were needed for Western Avenue.

However, perhaps it is wrong to imagine all these shopkeepers being forced ‘kicking and screaming’ out of their old and lucrative premises; no doubt they all had high hopes of success and many of these new shops were more centrally-placed than before.

The one new incomer to Union Street was the double shop of launderette Jack o’ Newbury - not too dissimilar from the business still operating there today as Ben’s Quality Dry Cleaners.

Charles Wardell’s photograph, showing the north side of Union Street much nearer to the High Street entrance than the arcade, is of a second phase of building, not contemplated in 1968 when plans were first drawn up.

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On the site had earlier stood Wyndgate House, which had lately been home to the Royal British Legion and re-named Dalton House, after its branch president.

Because a large residence in Western Road between the Central Hotel and the Conservative Club became available, the Legion moved out, leaving Dalton House as an obvious candidate for site clearance and an opportunity for more shops.

Looking at the history of Union Street, of all the narrow thoroughfares leading off the High Street to join either East Street to the east or West Street to the west, Union Street was the only one accorded the name ‘Street’, rather than ‘Yard’.

The name Union almost certainly comes from the Act of Union between England and Scotland in 1707 and there is no evidence that it was ever a yard for an inn, as were many of these back alleys.

Going back before 1841 is difficult, but it was certainly more a street than a yard, with two terraces of houses facing each other on the same footprint as the present-day shops, as well as Wyndgate House that housed the first Andover police station between 1846 and 1859.

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Later in the 19th century, the Greyhound pub and a brewery were built near the top of the street, an enterprise initiated by grocer William Clark whose shop was at 54 High Street.

The Greyhound survived into relatively modern times, closing in 1937 and lying derelict for many years.

Before town development, Union Street was longer than it is now, terminating in East Street, rather than the modern Eastern Avenue and so both the pub and brewery would have been on the site of the modern road.

There was also an old chapel, near the High Street end, which was termed ‘Primitive’ in the tithe survey of 1848.

In the early 20th century, according to Bill Prosser, it was occupied by the Plymouth Brethren, although directories refer to it only as the Union Street Hall.   

The new shops were the first steps towards the long-promised improved shopping facilities that were to come with town development. Was Union Street successful?

Critics might point to the steep slope from the High Street and the out-of-the-way location but it was sandwiched between the two major new car parks which, on paper, must have seemed a great advantage.

Like all shopping streets, some outlets changed hands very quickly, while others remained for many years.

The units still tend to stay occupied, even in today’s difficult trading conditions, a reflection perhaps that small shops can often work better than huge stores that incur huge costs.