It's increasingly true that the same shops appear in every town and city across the land. And some occur in every city throughout the world. But that's because our eyes are firmly fixed on the glittering shopfronts and displays. Let your eyes drift up a bit and you'll find some varied and interesting architecture.
The Central Cinema in Cambridge's Hobson Street closed down as long ago as 1972 but was then re-opened as a bingo hall. Now it's boarded up and nothing seems to be happening, though it still gives a bit of shelter for those waiting for the bus on rainy days. Which is all rather a shame as its white-tiled frontage is a wonderful mix of Art Deco and Egyptian styles, so redolent of the golden age of cinema and the 1930s when it was built.
Cambridge has over 1,500 Listed Buildings which, according to Historic England, can be described thus: Listing marks and celebrates a building's special architectural and historic interest, and also brings it under the consideration of the planning system, so that it can be protected for future generations. However the Jack Wills clothing outlet is not one of them. It just shows what a wealth of interesting buildings there is.
I've often browsed through the books in Waterstones but I can't say I'd ever looked up at the fancy wrought iron balconies before. That's not a listed building either.
The entrance to the pedestrianised Sussex Street is marked by two fine buildings, Sidney House and Montagu House, the lower floor of the latter presently occupied by Costa Coffee. This whole development was built in 1928-29 by Sidney Sussex College with the upper floors being designed as student accommodation. James Montagu was the first Master of the college, being appointed in 1596 and the Montagu coat of arms is displayed high above the Costa trade mark.
Up above STA Travel's premises is this early nineteenth century structure in classical style but built in Cambridge brick which is a nice gentle shade of yellow when clean but quickly becomes dirty grey in urban situations.
This traditional half-timbered building stands in Cambridge's Bridge Street, as it has done since the sixteenth century. It's been altered a bit over the centuries but much of the original structure remains.
I've long admired the very ornate pediments, cornices, medallions and pilasters above the Hong Kong Fusion restaurant. It was built in the mid-nineteenth century but I haven't been able to find out why it was constructed in such ornate style. It is a listed building but the listing text pays scant regard to the decorative elements.
Number 10, Trinity Street gives you a good idea of how attractive Cambridge brick can be when it's been cleaned. It dates from the nineteenth century and is in what's called Venetian Gothic style and looks more like a University building than a fashion retailer which it is today.
There are several attractive half-timbered buildings on Kings Parade, opposite Kings College. Some of them date from the sixteenth century and may have been built as the finishing touches were being applied to the magnificent Chapel. If these shops were situated elsewhere they would probably attract more interest from sightseers (and photographers).