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Sun Street - Lancaster's hidden gem

PUBLISHED: 16:53 23 November 2012 | UPDATED: 22:16 10 January 2016

Jessica waits for her date to arrive at The Music Room dressed in an elegant outfit from the 1930s

Jessica waits for her date to arrive at The Music Room dressed in an elegant outfit from the 1930s

Traders have stepped from the shadows to bask in the glory of one of Lancashire's loveliest streets. Roger Borrell reports. Photographs by Gary Hill

You could argue that this is Lancashire’s loveliest street – quaint, cobbled and flanked by tall Georgian properties that range from the graceful to the downright flamboyant.


Sun Street stands where there were once gardens, a playground for the landed gentry of Lancaster. The centre-piece was an elaborate summer house built in the 1730s. Today, it is known as the Music Room and the first floor plasterwork, depicting early Roman emperors and the nine muses, has held students of architecture spellbound.


Puzzling then, that many who earn a living in Sun Street feel it has been left to languish in the shadows. ‘It really is a hidden gem – many people don’t know it exists,’ says Collette Corcoran, who fulfilled a long-held ambition when she opened clothes shop, Vintage Boudoir, in April.


Television’s Mary Portas, in her campaign to revive our High Streets, called for trades people to work together to ‘sell themselves.’ And that’s just what they did in Sun Street. ‘Rather than sitting around moaning about the economy, we decided to make a fuss. We knocked on all the doors in the road and we came up with a different way of spreading the word about this gorgeous street,’ says Collette.

They teamed up with award-winning Preston cameraman Gary Hill, of GHD Photography, to stage a fashion shoot using Sun Street and its shops as a unique, living backdrop.


Model Jessica Askham was set in various locations to showcase eight decades of fashion collected from the rails in Collette’s shop. Sets included the Music Room, The famous Sun Hotel, The Sun Café, Bistro 26 and Gary even sat Jessica in curlers under a 1960s hairdryer hood at Kathy’s Salon. Other shots had her pouring tea at the Sunbury Coffee House in an elegant 1940s frock and reclining on the Vintage Boudoir’s chaise in a satin petticoat. The shoot was such a success that there are now plans to stage an exhibition of Gary’s work.

‘It was a great collaboration and suddenly people have started talking about Sun Street again,’ says Collette, a former teacher who lives in Heysham.

‘I’m so glad because it’s a wonderful place – you feel nostalgic just coming to work every day.’

Find the Sun

Sun Street, once home to Suffragette Selina Martin, features in the city council’s Square Routes Project, a plan to highlight and enhance the historic core.


It includes plans to create a vibrant garden in Sun Square with ornate planting, water and lighting to provide green oasis hosting small performances and events.


To find this magical road turn off Market Street near the museum down a ginnel named Music Room Passage which opens out into Sun Square and leads onto Sun Street.

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