We haven’t seen the deeds of this property so the information here is based on trade directories, the memories of Sally Grace recorded by Thornbury’s Oral History group and some documents found in Gloucester Record Office. Our information is therefore patchy and we would be grateful to hear from anyone who could fill in the gaps!
James Bevan – in 1895 when Edmund Cullimore bought land for his saw mill, the plan showed the area on which 23 St John Street was built is clearly marked as the garden of James Bevan’s property. This plot was not acquired by Edmund Cullimore at the time of this sale. Click here to read more
Edmund Cullimore – it would seem that Edmund acquired the garden and the associated house (which was later known as 1 Sawmill Lane) at some time after 1910 as part of his saw mill development. The house was used to provide accommodation for his employees. We know that he did not immediately build on the garden as it appears in a plan of 1923. Click here to read more about Edmund Cullimore
As Edmund became successful he acquired an interest in the Thornbury Gas Company. His son-in-law, Francis Henry Grace, became Secretary for the Thornbury Gas Light and Coke Company and when the demand for gas expanded and a new showroom was required, Edmund provided a suitable site. William Pitcher & Sons submitted plans for the building of a showroom on this site in 1932.
Francis was responsible for running the Gas Company. He was also an electrical engineer and accredited by Sally Gordon’s account with the introduction of electricity to Thornbury around 1906. This probably refers to his efforts to generate electricity at the Saw Mills using the waste from the Mills. This was initially used to provide power to run the timber cutting equipment and was gradually extended to supply some houses in the area. It would seem that electricity was not provided to the rest of Thornbury until much later. Francis became Secretary of the Thornbury Electricity Company.
John and Ruth Rowe – Edmund Cullimore died in 1941, but his estate was not sold off until 1958. The premises at 23 St John Street were included in the auction of property. Following the auction, the property became owned by John and Ruth Rowe.
John Fred Wallace Rowe, a veterinary surgeon, had married Ruth Eileen Grace, the daughter of Francis Grace and his wife Helen (who was Edmund Cullimore’s daughter) on 15th December 1947. We are not sure if they were the highest bidders at the auction or if the property failed to create any interest so it was retained by the family. The Rowes also owned number 3 Pullins Green and this was used by John Rowe for his veterinary practice and has been used for that purpose ever since. Click here to read more
Ruth helped her mother, Helen Grace, with the running of The Picture House, Thornbury’s own cinema. This cinema was built by Edmund Cullimore for his daughter in 1919 and it was managed initially by Francis and Helen, and eventually taken over by Ruth. It closed in 1959.