Payers Park was formerly an orchard, owned by the Payer family hence its name.  The watercolour gives us an idea of how it must have looked and the chimney shown can still be seen above the brightly painted buildings on Mill Bay.

Radford, Wheelwright, black and white photograph.  Collection Alan F. Taylor

Radford, Wheelwright, black and white photograph. Collection Alan F. Taylor

The orchard was traversed by Park Lane, which ran from 12 Dover Road to 29 High Street.  By 1924 there were 16 businesses trading in Park Lane including Mr E.R. Radford, a wheelwright from 1903 to 1947.   It is possible that he was engaged in making carts for the shipment of coal up to the Old Gas Works site.

There was also an abattoir belonging to Mr William Worsell, a butcher based at 3 High Street.  The photograph was taken by Herbert W. Gill, the Chief Sanitary Inspector in 1940.  It is interesting to imagine these very different businesses operating so close to the Tontine Street, which was the major shopping arcade of the period.

Abattoir, black and white photograph.  Collection Alan F. Taylor

Abattoir, black and white photograph. Collection Alan F. Taylor

The Council acquired the Payers Park site under the Town and Country Planning Act in 1965 to make a much-need car park and extended it in 1967 with the acquisition of land adjoining Rendezvous Street in order to improve access.   The upper and lower levels of Payers Park are now unified and under the direction of muf Architecture/Art and have been transformed into a new social space.

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