Horseshoe Lane 1971

Horseshoe Lane in 1971

The houses covered by this section of the website were in Horseshoe Lane which was between St Mary Street and Pullins Green.

The photograph above was taken in 1971 showing Horseshoe Lane from St Mary Street.  The building on the left was Eyles and King’s cycle shop and behind that is the entrance to Hawkins builder’s yard.  The house in the far distance is number 25 Pullins Green, which used to be Wall’s shop.

The photograph on the right below was taken in 2008.  The supermarket in the distance was the old Safeway supermarket which became Morrisons and then Somerfield.  The photograph shows it in the process of being re-furbished for use by Aldi.

HSL 2008

Horseshoe Lane in 2008

In researching the history of the area we have also faced the usual problem of house numbering.  The house numbering system was not introduced until about 1953 and we do not have a plan showing the numbers of all the houses. Over the years this area of Thornbury has changed more than any other.  We have three maps to show this.

The 1840 Tithe Map is the most complete, although it does not have house numbers.  It includes all the houses except Jubilee House on Gillingstool Hill and The Cottage on the corner of Horseshoe Lane and Gillingstool.  Click here to see an extract of the map together with the details of owners and occupants of each plot

1881 map HSL

1881 OS Map

The extract of the 1881 O.S. Map shown on the left below shows that development has taken place on Gillingstool Hill.  The first part of the school had been built, but there were two cottages standing in the place where the second part of the school would be built.  Gillingstool Cottage is shown but Jubilee House had not yet been built opposite the Baptist Church.  Click on the thumbnail to see a larger image.

In the 1960s Thornbury Rural District set about re-developing the area of the town around Rock Street, Horseshoe Lane and St Mary Street.  The plans involved the pedestrianisation of part of St Mary Street, building the supermarket and shopping complex centred on Horseshoe Lane and the creation of a large surface car park in the area of Rock Street.  Tragically this meant demolishing a number of fine old houses that were in the way!  All the houses on Gillingstool Hill and Horseshoe Lane were demolished.  The plan below was drawn up in 1968 and shows house numbers, but this map doesn’t include the four houses in Horseshoe Lane (numbers 13 – 19) which were already demolished.  Click on the thumbnail on the right to see a larger image.

1968 demolition plan

1968 Demolition Plan


We feel that the most likely origin of the name of Horseshoe Lane is that it must derive from a blacksmith’s workshop.  The earliest reference we have seen to a Horseshoe Inn in Thornbury was in the Quarter Sessions list of licensed premises in 1755.  Further references to this inn were made in the Overseers of Thornbury returns which show Robert Pountey at the Horseshoe in 1770 and Rich Williams in 1774.  These references do not mention the exact location of the Horseshoe Inn.  It seems likely that the inn would be in Horseshoe Lane, possibly at a different location from the Horseshoe Inn which traded on the corner of St Mary Street and Horseshoe Lane from about 1861.  It is noted that Thomas Smith the elder, who lived at the property which became 5 Horseshoe Lane in the early 1700s, was a farrier.

Click on each link in the sidebar on the left to access the history of individual houses in each street.  Please contact us if you have any knowledge about the houses or the people who lived in them.