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A bleak playground, 1977

How these boys managed to get on the roof above the entrance to British Home Stores is nobody’s business. For me, this picture (taken on 3 September 1977) epitomises the bleak and unfriendly character of Churchill Square as it used to be, with the tower of offices sitting uncomfortably over the shops and windswept, rainy spaces.

Churchill Square, 3 September 1977
Photo by David Fisher

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  • They got up there very easily, they are sitting on the wall of the car park that was above BHS.  It was easily accessible via the west side of Churchill Square where there was a car ramp up to the car park. I believe that BT had offices above Churchill Square and the car park was used by their staff, and perhaps other Churchill Square staff.  In my opinion a great photo of the terrible architecture of the 1960s that never did justice to Winston!

    By Peter Groves (06/10/2006)
  • Very easy access. My friends and I used to spend many evenings running the rooftops of Churchill Square in the mid 70s. BT (or the GPO as it was then) did have offices there. Later, in the early 80s, the office car parks were opened for public parking on Saturdays – how I remember sitting in a queue that spiralled up to the car park.

    By Anonymous (13/12/2006)
  • This is a real trip down memory lane!  I remember that BHS. My older brother worked on a Saturday in BHS and lent a friend of mine the money to buy a Bad Manners album (on vinyl). I also remember the exotic sounding (well, it was to me as a kid) Solarium Cafe.  I also remember getting stuck at the top of the down escalator that led to the dingy toilets. In my defence I was 5 years old and the sight of my mum disappearing down the escalator was a big shock!  I am over it now. I can still remember the smell of industrial strength Dettol, steaming up those stairs.  One more memory – getting stood up by a girl outside Bejams. Her loss, not mine.  No, sorry, one more: who remembers the wishing well?

    By Paul Piper (23/05/2008)
  • I so remember the wishing well – childhood meeting place. I now work at the exact spot that I was once pictured at – by the totem pole

    By Lyssa Ross (26/12/2011)
  • The offices were called Russell House and (I think) Grenville House. By the late 1980s one was a training centre for the South Downs District of BT.

    By Simon (08/01/2017)
  • 1977. This was when the skateboarding craze hit its peak, and my friends and I used to skate around Churchill Square and used it as our usual playground. No doubt that we annoyed the adults with our tearaway antics. And yes, a few of my peers also managed to climb up on the car park above.

    By Waiman Lee (23/04/2020)

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