BEWDLEY'S Load Street takes centre stage in an exhibition dedicated to its history of shops.

‘The Changing Face of Load Street’ exhibition will be held in the Wyre Forest Gallery at Bewdley Museum until May 7.

Carol Mathieson, secretary of the Friends of Bewdley Museum, said: “There has been a constant stream of interested visitors since the exhibition was opened to the public, it is already proving to be a big draw especially for the local community.”

Kidderminster Shuttle:

(^^ Richard Perrin (Bewdley Civic Society), Penny Griffiths (Friends of Bewdley Museum), Seren the dog, Graham Luxford (Friends of Bewdley Museum), Marion Shepherd (Friends of Bewdley Museum) and Charles Purcell (Bewdley Historical Research Society))

The exhibition features a selection of past and present images of the shops alongside brief history notes and details of the occupancy drawn from census records and trade directories.

Each panel has a list of what shops were there over the last 150 years with some photos dating back to the 1860s.

The exhibition has also been extended to the shop windows with images relevant to the shop and individually designed posters advertising the exhibition.

Graham Luxford, from the Friends of Bewdley Museum, said: “We felt that Load Street would be a very good subject for the exhibition. There are a lot of photos that no one has seen before and they have not been on public display in the past.

"Some of the photos show that some of the buildings were actually homes before they were converted into shops. Some used to set up shops in their front rooms."

Kidderminster Shuttle:

(^^ Penny Griffiths (front), with Graham Luxford, Marion Shepherd, Richard Perrin and Charles Purcell (back))

The project was initiated and inspired by the legacy left by Ken Hobson, the late President and executive member of Bewdley Civic Society.

He had amassed a collection slides, videos and more than 9,000 photographs illustrating the history of Bewdley and its surroundings.

The Historical Research Group, Bewdley Civic Society and the Friends of Bewdley Museum worked together, with the support of the museum staff, to select the photographs and delve into the history of the shops.

The project team are now hoping to add to the Load Street shops study by featuring the remaining shop premises and also filling in gaps of information.