I think that the contraction of the Tesco Metros combined with the expansion of Aldi in Ramsgate drew my attention back to Northdown Road. If you lived in Thanet back in the day, apart from the local High Street everyone went shopping in Northdown Road and Dumpton Market at Ramsgate Dog Track.
I am starting this post with a batch of photos of Northdown Road I took back in in 2009, ten years ago, Westwood Cross opened in 2005 and by 2009 most of Northdown Road was in a state of collapse.
If you work in a shop or own a shop the impact of the footfall and you sales halfing or quartering while you expenses continue to rise is very difficult the multiple blows of Westwood Cross and the internet, which as far as most ordinary people were concerned internet shopping became a serious factor about the same time.
As a Ramsgate person I am a bit disinclined to try to explain the history of Northdown Road in layman's terms, but I guess I had better have a go and wait to find out how wrong I am.
Most of Northdown road was built out by around 1900 but as private houses. mostly to rent out to the wealthy for the whole of the season. While Margate was seen as rather gaudy and a bit down market, holidaying in Cliftonville which had lots of posh housing and hotels was fine for the gentrified and had the advantage of being able to take your carriage into margate to take in the shows.
The game changer was the trams which arrived in 1901 and causing the road of posh houses to turn in to a log road of shops, before the trams travel between Cliftonville and Margate was a case of "harness the horses and bring my carriage round to the front door my man" - "was it ever "my woman?"
In some cases I think the houses were converted into shops and in other cases built as shops.
Here in Ramsgate
We have been working away and have been busier than I would expect given the high wind.