This view down Chepstow High Street was taken in about 1909, 40 years later than last week’s photograph.

It’s a well known and attractive picture of a busy shopping scene. It also shows the other end of the block of buildings that were demolished one hundred years ago in 1919, the first casualty to the increase of motor traffic in the town centre.

From this view it’s clear to see how the two buildings made a square of Bank Square, as well as having the same impact on Beaufort Square from the other side. The main business casualty was Robert W. Edgar who had established his Bristol Outfitting Stores here at 22 High Street in 1898.

With the demolition of the buildings went the granite drinking fountain, a memorial to Revd Thomas Jennings, a former curate of Chepstow which had been paid for by his daughter in 1878. The fountain can still be seen today – at the top of the Castle Dell. It was agreed to move it there at the end of 1919 using £30 left over from funds raised 33 years earlier, at the opening of the Castle Dell celebrations in 1886.

On the right of the photograph the nearest shop window at no 14 High Street, belonged to Clark’s Stationers and Printers of the local newspaper The Chepstow Weekly Advertiser. Next door down was the draper’s shop, the London House, run by Alfred Lewis, brother of Herbert Lewis, and below at no 16 the sign for Howard Skyrme’s cafe and restaurant, bakery and boarding house.

Text by the curator of Chepstow Museum.