Sad demise of Kirkgate

I wish to reply to the letter from Dennis Nicoll in the Wakefield Express on Friday, February, 6.

He says to call Wood Street a gateway to the city beggars belief. I agree with him, that went out of the window years ago, though I do like the coronation gardens on the Castrop - Rauxel Square, which includes the war memorial, plus benches for people to relax on.

But I still stress that the statue of Queen Victoria should have stayed in the Bull Ring with nice gardens and seats to sit on, with a small fountain around Queen Victoria (she would have liked that).

Dennis Nicoll stated that Kirkgate now is the shoddiest street ion the city and I certainly agree. Years ago, Kirkgate was one of the best streets in Wakefield, very busy with two cinemas - the ABC Regale and the Empire, renamed the Gaumont with its large veranda - Ashworth’s shoe shops at one side and the Empire Boot and Shoe repairers at the other side where I was employed when I left school. Across the road was Wakefield 22 Shirt Co, Webster’s music shop and other shops and Sammy Herbert’s cafe and fish and chips.

Kirkgate had everything going - a large, good, open market where people flocked to do their shopping. The council built Wakefield a new market, this was a disgrace. It cost £3m with very little attraction and now the council is to demolish it and turn it into a cinema. What a load of cobbles.

I used to like Wakefield and was very proud to walk in the street but not anymore. I am very disappointed. No wonder a lot of people go to other places to shop, like Leeds, it has a lot of attractions and more to offer to people. Is Wood Street the gateway to leave the city?

John G Wildie,

Briar Grove, Sandal.