The History of Thornbury High Street
By jmitchell27 | Wednesday, December 09, 2009, 16:22
After a long hiatus due to illness I was
finally able to attend events in Thornbury again, starting with the Local
History Society’s largest meeting to date, at a presentation on the history of
Thornbury high street.
Anyone who has seen Thornbury Museum’s
latest exhibit ‘To Market, To Market’ will be able to tell you that Thornbury
started out as a market town. However, they may not know that this had been the
case since 1252, with high streets only coming into existence in this country
around the 13th and 14th centuries. Indeed, thanks to the sale of livestock from
Thornbury a number of different trades were established here, so much so that
until the 1950s 50% of the population were traders of some description.
For roughly 700 years Thornbury was a
market town, with the last living vestiges of this history disappearing with
the closure of the market in the late 1990s, leaving us with the service
industry based style of living that we know today. The change over the last 60
years or so has been drastic, but last nights presentation did much to
highlight the cultural affects of such changes as well.
One photo shown was of the Empire Day
celebrations in 1912, an event that I had no previous knowledge of, but the
passing of Empire was swiftly put to one side as we contemplated the
disappearance of telephone boxes (33% of which have been removed since 2002),
reminding us that the changes we witness today can be easily overlooked.
However, with the benefit of presentations such as this we are able to put into
context the great changes that have shaped out lives locally and nationally,
though whether these have been positive or not I leave to you to decide and
The next Local History Society presentation
will be about crime in Bath, and will be presented on the 12th of