Page 1 May 2004 to 2nd June 2005
Page 2 10th June 2005 to 17th November 2005
Page 3 13th December 2005 to 12th July 2006
Page 4 30th July 2006 to 15th March 2007
Page 5 29th March 2007 to Latest Update
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The controversial redevelopment of Princesshay in Exeter started in 2004 with the refurbishment of Catherine Street adjacent to the ruins of St Catherines Chapel and Almshouses, and the corner of the High Street through to 16-12 Bedford Street, the old TSB/Lloyds Bank and Norwich Union House.
In February 2005, the contractors, Sir Robert McAlpine started boarding up Princesshay, prior to demolition. Although only 50 years old, Princesshay occupies a much older site that was destroyed during bombing of May 1942 - it was Thomas Sharp, the town planner who laid out the 1950s Princesshay.
This photo essay shows the progress of the scheme replacing Sharp's vision with one for a new Millennium.
Post Office, Bedford Street -14th October 2004
Princesshay in 1978
Closing Princesshay down - the shops that have gone......
Preparations for the grand demolition......
The Bristol based Wring Group won the contract to demolish Princesshay. They have assembled a workforce of 40 along with specialist machinery for the task. The two Hitachi demolition machines (a Zaxis ZX350LCK and Zaxis 650 LCH) have been purchased especially for the contract. One will have an arm that can extend for 35 metres and there are special attachments to bite away at the buildings, grab hold of girders, dig and hammer solid concrete. They don't have tea making equipment for the driver, even though they do have computer control!
First signs of rebuilding amidst the demolition
6th May 2005 - The last of Princesshay at the Bedford Street end is being demolished. I have included the Bluecoat Lane photo as it will soon be gone. There is an interesting article about the machinery used in the demolition in June's issue of Earthmovers. I was also informed, when chatting to some of the workers that the remains of German bombs and incendiaries were found under the Bedford Street section of the demolition.
temporary service road of the Princesshay Redevelopment has now been
laid - a few weeks ago this area was shops. The photo of the 5th April
shows a digger and a dust cloud in the same location.
Princesshay site from the main entrance - the mountains of rubble have
been reduced and only a short range of buildings at the top left
remain. The view is open to Eastgate House. The pad of the
commemorative feature has now gone.
27th May 2005 - there are more signs of rebuilding even though there is still Eastgate House, the Paris Street shops and the post office to demolish. The large, vertical machines that will hammer the pilings in for the foundations in Bedford Street are in place with behind, the brick facade on the old Norwich Union building almost in place - these are to be apartments with a walkway through to Catherine Square beneath the building. Work on demolishing Eastgate House has been slightly delayed because the underground passages are not strong enough to take the weight of the Hitachi demolition machines - apparently they are to bring in a temporary bridge structure to take the weight of the diggers.
smaller digger dragging one of the large containers ready for work on
the back of the Paris Street shops. A so called 'soft' demolition has
already been carried out, removing carpets, electrics, asbestos and
30th May 2005 - the demolition of the Paris Street shops has started
2nd June 2005 - it was all going on today with diggers knocking down walls and moving rubble. Lorries were delivering infill for bringing the cellars up to street level. The Princesshay Information Centre has moved into a space in the High Street so that you can see what is going on through an observation window. There was also an Exeter Archeologist taking photos of the exposed cellars and old foundations.
A good crowd of
people are enjoying the action from the new observation window. The old
arcade in the High Street has been converted into the Princesshay
Information Centre with a model of the new development and this viewing
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