When we left Bradley earlier a group of well-to-do busybodies had created the Society for the Restoration and Preservation of Bradley to bring back some of the town's old world charm.
As the ringleader of the Society soon discovered, it's not as easy as snapping your fingers and remodelling and entire town. Well, that's not entirely true. It does help to have friends in high places, or in the case of Alberta Ross, to be married to one.
Mrs Ross - affectionately (or rather, behind her back) known as "The Albatross" - is married to a the Congressman representing the District which includes Bradley. The Albatross got her nickname because crossing paths (or swords) with her could be good luck, a burden, or a curse, depending on which way the wind blows or her whims go.
Mrs Ross was quite a burden, and she persisted until she got what she wanted, and in this case, it was in with the old, and out with the new.
The dedication, fierce commitment and undying passion with which Mrs Ross tackled this task partly had to do with her rather conservative outlook on life, but was more because from where she was living in Prestondale, the lights, noise, and sometimes smells, of Chuck-e-Cheese and Pizza Hut (not to mention the unsavoury characters it came packaged with), offended her sensibilities.
Here is the leafy (and exclusive) suburb of Prestondale, bordered to the west by Bradley High and the northern end of Strand Street, and with Newtown to the east (but more about that later).
Before we get sidetracked, let's have a quick look at the transformation of the historic old town of Bradley, located on Bradley Square on the intersection of Main and Strand Streets.
Approaching from The Bay in the south and passing through the suburb of Bayview, I'm sure you'll agree that the transformation is quite remarkable:
Click for original (1360 x 3991px)
The efforts - and connections - of Mrs Ross clearly paid off, and with the firm backing (and money) of the Bradley Chamber of Commerce, and a little help from above (more precisely, the backing of the Anglican Church), the face of Bradley Square and the Waterfront changed dramatically.
First on the agenda was the return of the Anglican Church of St George on Main, opposite the St George's Post Office. The church, along with surrounding buildings, burned down a few decades ago and was never rebuilt due to the church's lack of funds. The piece of land was subsequently bought by the aforementioned fast food establishments.
But Mrs Ross soon had her way (as is usually the case) and the Church was back in all its glory!
The old St George's Mall running south from the Church and east of Bradley Square was also reestablished. This increased access to Regency Park to the East, which was subsequently also renovated and expanded:
The Albatross delighted in visiting her new old Church in the evenings with her husband and dining in the Square afterwards.
And it's not difficult to see why, Regency Park and the new Old Bradley Square was really something magical at night:
The restoration project could not survive as a charity alone, and it quickly turned into a full scale development project that saw the sleepy hollow turn into a viable and vibrant seaside resort town with high end retail outlets and fine dining.
This was quite apparent during the day, as this aerial view of Bradley Square and Regency Park shows:
The new Old Bradley Square boasted the legendary Christmas Market from Mrs Ross's childhood days, and quaint corner shops and pubs added to the general hustle and bustle of the heart of Bradley.
The Christmas Market was a popular attraction during the festive season and families spent many a day, and many a night, frequenting the stalls, halls and malls of Bradley Square.
Malls? Yes, beyond the inexplicable urge to rhyme, there is in fact a Bradley Square Mall.
If you were wondering what happened to the fast food joints, this will answer that question too. You see, they went underground. Literally.
Many a staircase on and around the Square grant access to the subterranean wonders that lurk below ground, including, but not limited to, the (fast) food court and parking.
The Society thought of everything from corporate buy in to heavenly blessing. Well, everything except parking. One can forgive this minor oversight given that the members of this Society never had to worry about it themselves. That is one of the many conviences that comes with being driven around.
Fortunately, the underground parking proposal also provided an opportunity for the capitalist class to rub even more coins together and the underground mall and fast food court was born.
Here we see one of the two entrances to the parking and the many staircases in the area:
Here we also see that the good will and financial backing of big business came at a cost: they needed modern office space, and Mrs Ross's desire for a blast to the past had to be slightly adjusted to accommodate money a diverse set of clientèle.
There was also a visible impact on the Bradley Beach and Waterfront, beyond simply popularising it as a recreation destination.
Bradley Beach soon became a popular surfing destination and this attracted all the beautiful people.
Bradley Beach and Waterfront is ideally located along Strand Street a stone's throw from Bradley Square and easily accessible via the Bradley Halt Railway Station and Bus Stop.
And for those who preferred the quieter life, there was also the Strand Street Market, a popular Sunday morning destination with locals and visitors alike.
We finally leave Bradley again heading south over Bayview from Bradley Square and Regency Park, back the way we came.
Click for original size (1366 x 2052px)
Next time our journey takes us north and north west of Bradley, we're we'll discover the broader ramifications of The Albatross and her path of destruction. Okay, it's not as dramatic as it sounds, but bear with me!
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Thanks for reading! Until next time!