August 17, 2022

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Sublime Arts Bar None

The Plaza hall and arcade in the Market Place before it became Dreweatts

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A delve into the Newbury Weekly Information archives has thrown up some images of a popular venue in the centre of Newbury that was demolished to make way for an place of work developing.

The Plaza held centre phase in the Market place Location, Newbury and was household to numerous nearby group groups.

It was built in 1925 by eccentric Newbury businessman Jimmy Tufnail, originally as a theatre with an arcade of shops.

The Plaza Newbury
The Plaza Newbury
The Plaza Newbury
The Plaza Newbury
The Plaza Newbury
The Plaza Newbury

Newbury Borough Council purchased the Plaza a couple of yrs later on and the corridor was made use of for general public activities and local community groups until finally the late 70s.

In 1947 the NWN described that the Plaza had been cleaned and redecorated. The report famous that ‘the reducing of the phase, the set up of fashionable lighting and effectively geared up kitchens and servery’ would supply the town with a considerably-necessary hall for performs, entertainments, dances and ‘other gatherings of the kind’.

The report went on to say that the estates committee experienced been not able to uncover plenty of tip-up seats, but the newspaper was hopeful this would be obtained for ‘comfortable seats are an absolute critical if a person wishes to contend with the image houses’.

In 1977 a group of company adult men proposed purchasing it from the council and knocking it down to construct a nightclub to be named Carabella.

Neighborhood societies reacted strongly to the news that the Plaza was to be demolished.

The Plaza Newbury
The Plaza Newbury
The Plaza Newbury
The Plaza Newbury
The Plaza Newbury
The Plaza Newbury

It was booked on typical 3 days a 7 days all 12 months round at the time and was the house of the New Period Players, now at Clean Widespread, Newbury Spectacular Culture, the Townswomen’s Guild and the Caged Fowl Culture, amongst many others.

A sequence of regrettable situations intended the nightclub challenge never bought off the ground and as a substitute in 1984 the Plaza was marketed to a regional small business for £333,000.

The developing was demolished to make way for a new office environment for what was then termed Dreweatt, Watson and Barton. The original programs set forward by the Newbury estate agents had been originally turned down as the model was thought of much too ‘modern’ for the mostly Georgian-style Marketplace Position, so a a lot more traditional style was submitted.

The closure of the Plaza fulfilled with solid criticism as some councillors felt that what was a single of the few areas accessible for amusement in the town was now to be dropped. Some accused Berkshire County Council of letting the setting up go downhill intentionally in order to capitalise on the site’s worth.

The Plaza Newbury
The Plaza Newbury
An ad for a performance at The Plaza in October 1927
An advertisement for a general performance at The Plaza in October 1927

James Tufnail was an eccentric character who arrived in Newbury from Studying in 1887 with ‘2s in his pocket’.

His to start with business enterprise enterprise was to lease the billiard’s home of The White Hart and his ’empire’ shortly expanded, with various other enterprises in the Arcade, the tactic to the station and in Low cost Avenue, as nicely as the new arcade top to the Plaza.

He pioneered roller skating in the town, laying down a maple floor in the Plaza to give skaters a smoother journey. Sad to say, because of to a dispute above leasing several hours, this undertaking ended in a regulation accommodate.

Undaunted Mr Tufnail opened a cinema and held rate with the times by introducing ‘talkies’ in 1930 – the year of his death.

He was elected onto the city council in 1920, but his character did not go well with politics and ‘Tuffy’ only served one a few-12 months expression.

The previous remaining legacy of Mr Tufnail was the newsagents and tobacconists at 149 Bartholomew Road, which bore his identify. The proprietor in 1980 was Joe Buckingham and he shut the store for superior due to elevated rents which meant it was no longer viable to trade.



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