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Ghost towns: how Britain’s fading high streets kill local communities

As shops shutter, it is not only local economies but the sense of place and community that is imperilled. In an era of online retail, how can the high street fight back?

Greengrocer's shop, Deal, Kent England. Image shot 1912. Exact date unknown.

Every autumn, Lewes in East Sussex assumes the aura of a ghost town. Take a dusk stroll through its hilly streets, and thanks to a “lightbox project” drawn from the archives of Edward Reeves—a local photography studio with claims to being the world’s oldest—window-shopping becomes an exercise in peering back in time. In dozens of storefronts, black and white images going back over 150 years are illuminated, and…

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