It’s July 1985, and we’re walking along Leicester’s city centre Market Street. It’s a vibrant scene with cars squeezed into every available parking space. For shoppers, this is both a delight and a nightmare – a delight if you manage to find a spot, not so much if you’re like the forlorn Ford Fiesta driver, trying to find a place to stop outside Rackhams.
As it’s the month of Live Aid, you can guarantee that many people here are thinking about what they’re doing for the starving in Africa – with most choosing to watch the event from the comfort of the homes. But that’s hardly a tough sacrifice, given the strength of the musical line-up kicked off with Radio 1 DJ’s opening words, ‘it’s 12 noon in London, seven AM in Philadelphia, and around the world it’s time for Live Aid.’
The Coldstream guards kick off with God Save The Queen, then it’s straight into Status Quo’s Rockin’ All Over the World. This is the biggest live event broadcast to this point and is primarily staged from Wembley in the UK and the John F. Kennedy stadium in Philadelphia. During the 16-hour live concert broadcast to 1.5 billion people around the globe, artists who play include Sting, Phil Collins (who performs in the UK and USA on the same day thanks to a memorable flight on Concorde), Dire Straits, Queen, Paul McCartney, Simple Minds, Madonna and Mick Jagger.
This proves to be an event that is unprecedented in its scale and, for those who watch it from the comfort of their home, or who make it to watch the event live in Wembley on what proves to be a sweltering day, it should be a day that will live with them for the rest of their lives.
So, tell us about the cars
Working from right to left (from the nearest car), we have a Volvo 240, a Chrysler Alpine (looking remarkably rust-free), a Volvo 245DL, a Datsun Cherry (N10) and an MG Metro 1300 with the aforementioned Ford Fiesta hoping to squeeze into the space he’s about to exit.
Other cars we can see – with the aid of a magnifying glass – are the Mercedes-Benz 190E illegally parked on the opposite side of the road, and some of the others include a Talbot Samba a Nissan Sunny, another MG Metro 1300 and we think blurred in the distance are a Vauxhall Cavalier Mk2 (well, the brake lights make it look like one) and a white Austin Maxi. Lovely stuff…
As for Leicester’s Market Street, it’s pedestrianised now and, after some rough years following this picture, it’s looking good, packed full of eateries and locally-owned businesses. If you enjoyed this, let us know in the comments and, if you have any pictures you’d like featuring, drop me a line via any of the links below. Below is how it looks today, according to Google Streetview.
What’s it like today?
Thanks to Nigel Garton for the period photograph.