My colleague Sam Cooper, who obtained these pictures, has been covering the story about the future for Leah’s Yard in Cambridge Street.
The council, which bought the site in 2015, is currently looking at how to redevelop and preserve Leah’s Yard.
Sam spoke to Philip Drury, who took over family firm F Drury Silvermiths Ltd in 1981.
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Mr Drury started as an apprentice in his father Jack’s silversmith business in 1959 and worked at the site until it was sold to property developers in 2000.
At its height more than 100 people worked there.
The mid-Victorian workshop complex was home to various silversmith and cutlery firms in earlier years.
Mr Drury remembered: “We had eight silversmiths and it was a hive of industry.
“We had to work 18 months in front because of the amount of orders for cutlery and silver – it was manic.
“The space wasn’t that big and with the compressors going it was very rowdy.
“We had belt-driven lathes and orders from all over the place.
“We had most of the building, three silversmithing shops including one that just did repairs, and other parts of the building were let out.”
Mr Drury, aged 73, added: “It’s very sad to see the state it’s in and how it’s deteriorated over the last 20 years.
“The work should have been done 20 years ago, it could have been superb.”
Engineers and developers who joined a tour of the site said any plans or work on the site would be subject to intense scrutiny from experts such as Historic England due to its Grade-II* status.