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Friars trivia and odds and ends

 

Farewell to the Civic Centre 1975-2010

 

Before the Civic was built stood Aylesbury Town Hall and Arts Lab - the pictures below show it being demolished to make way for the Civic and inspecting it before building is Peter Prentice, the first manager of the Civic. (Thanks to Alison Trimming for these old photos)

In this lab was where the first Friars posters were produced by a guy called Ben Bennett. Kris Needs takes up the story:

The Arts Workshop [as it wqas called] had its entrance down some steps around the corner to the left - [rather like if you're sitting at La Tasca looking at the building and the steps that go down there]. Down the steps you first saw the unholy toilet on the right then Aylesbury Camera Club on the left [who did not like us!]. We occupied two spaces down the end of the corridor: an office on the left then a larger exhibition room/gig space where Lol Coxhill liked to blow as the acoustics were good.

There was a door at the end of that corridor which one night we got open and found ourselves in a huge underground chamber surrounded by catacombs which took you right underneath the Market Square clock. That's probably still there. I think someone said it was a rifle range once, air raid shelter in the war, maybe an extension of the Civil War tunnel network too.

I've got some great memories of the arts workshop. it was the hangout/get stoned etc spot before hitting Friars. In my case, I wasn't allowed to go to Friars but my parents let me go to the Workshop, which was just the same den of hippies and freaks [without supervision!].
Ben was the overlord who lived there for a while.
Somewhere I've got my Plexiglas membership card and maybe the posters I started doing.

Aylesbury Civic Centre in 2010

All external pictures: Mike O'Connor. Internal pictures as credited and 2010 www.aylesburyfriars.co.uk except where noted

Picture: Aylesbury Civic Centre/Matthias and Cissie

 

At the back of the Civic

In the background is the Maxwell Pool, also coming down in June 2010

This relatively small area is where the trucks loaded in and out

The view from Long Lionel - the Civic car park and the side of the Aston Hall

Those of you who remember the Genesis and Police ticket queues in the cattle market....well the cattle market has gone in the name of progress.

The walkway from the Civic to Exchange Street down the side of what was the cattle market. In the background is the Waterside Theatre, the Civic's replacement.

 

June 4th 2010 - there's nothing left to advertise at the Civic Centre, so Friars is all over it as the last paying event at this venerable venue.

Picture: Joe Stopps

The carpet inside the Civic Centre featuring within its pattern, the immortal Aylesbury Duck.

Picture: Joss O'Kelly

Picture: Mike O'Connor

The main hall where Friars gigs took place opened as the Vale Hall but was renamed in 1977 to the Maxwell Hall in memory and honour of Reg Maxwell as below.

Picture: Mike O'Connor

In the bar area outside the Maxwell Hall were a number of montages featuring a variety of events at the Civic Centre from Basil Brush to Norman Wisdom to Friars.

Picture: Stuart Robb

Picture: Stuart Robb

Picture: Stuart Robb

Picture: Stuart Robb

In front of one montage is one John Otway (4th June 2010) against himself at Friars 30 years ago.

Picture: Stuart Robb

The Walton Lounge upstairs actually hosted a Friars gig once.......Howard Jones in December 1982.

Picture: Stuart Robb

Down in the basement area - this housed two smaller meeting rooms (Claydon and Turville), one set of toilets and the cloakrooms.

Picture: Stuart Robb

Part of the basement design at the end featured some of mural work by art students at Cottesloe School in Wing. This will form part of an installation in Friars Square this summer.

Picture: Stuart Robb

Picture: Mike O'Connor

Coming back upstairs from the basement to hall level was another mural depicting a wide variety of Civic events - there are Friars posters in this too.

Picture: Stuart Robb

The main bar, the bane of many Friars patrons over the last 35 years!

Picture: Stuart Robb

Aylesbury Civic Centre during destruction 2011....RIP

Picture: Karl Vaughan

Picture: Karl Vaughan

Picture: Karl Vaughan

Picture: Karl Vaughan

Picture: Karl Vaughan

Picture: Aylesbury Civic Centre/Matthias and Cissie

 

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