The above photograph was taken in 2008 standing on the corner of Chapel Street where the United Reformed Church is.
On the website we are using the name of Upper Bath Road to refer to that section of the road currently known as Rock Street leading from its junction with Chapel Street to the old railway station.
In early censuses and other records, the roads in this part of the Town were referred to by several different names which causes considerable confusion. The 1841 census avoids using any name for the street, although there are a few entries for houses in this area listed as being in ‘Back Street’. The 1851 census uses the term ‘Back Street’. This is confusing because ‘Back Street’ is usually considered to be the alternative name for St Mary Street.
The 1861 census uses ‘Ragland Road’ for the section between the junction with Chapel Street (then called Rotten Row) and John Smith’s cottage, called ‘Ragland Castle,’ on the edge of the town. ‘Back Street’ is used to describe the street from the junction of Chapel Street to the junction with Horseshoe Lane.
The 1871, 1881 and 1891 censuses use the names ‘Upper Bath Road’ and ‘Lower Bath Road’ to describe the whole street we now know as Rock Street. In 1871 ‘Lower Bath Road’ included what we now know as ‘Bath Road’ as well as a section of Rock Street from Bath Road down to Horseshoe Lane.
The name of ‘Upper Bath Road’ was used for the section of the road between Chapel Street and the railway station even in the 1950’s when house numbering was introduced, but it is now only used to refer to the little cul de sac to the south of the old market site.
We have discovered that many of the houses in this area were built on a close of land called the Paddock. We have written about the history of this plot from the early 1700’s and how it was broken up into smaller sections and used as building plots. Click here to read the early history
South Gloucestershire Council has allowed us access to the files on all the houses acquired and demolished by Thornbury Rural District Council for the major redevelopment scheme in the 1960s. This has given us a detailed picture of almost all the houses in this area and we are very grateful for the help we were given at the Council Offices in Castle Street.
The plan on the left is dated 1880. We have superimposed the house numbers which were adopted in the early 1950’s. All the houses on the west side of this road (which were numbered from 2 – 16 heading from the junction with Chapel Street to the Station) have long been demolished and replaced by the Council flats shown on the right in the above photo. Click here to read about the owners and occupants in the 1840 Tithe Survey
The only houses still surviving are those in the little cul-de-sac now called ‘Upper Bath Road’. The photo of this area shown on the right was taken in 2008. These houses were allocated house numbers, 3 – 9 Upper Bath Road. Number 3 was demolished in 2014 after standing derelict for a long time and numbers 7 and 9 have been combined into one house. We never knew what happened to number 1, although several electoral registers did suggest that this number was linked to the house we have called number 3. Note – the house numbering of this section of the road has changed in recent years. OS Maps and electoral registers of the 50 and 60’s refer to the present number 3 as 1, to 5 as 3, to 7 as 5, and to 9 as 7. Raglan Castle, the house further down the road towards the Station was number 9, but later it became known as number 11.
The Town Market used to be where the new houses are being built on the left. The houses in the distance are part of Streamleaze, the large estate of council houses built in the 1960’s on what was fields, this then being the edge of the town. There used to be a five barred gate at the bottom of the lane to prevent cattle escaping into these fields when being driven from the market to the railway station.
In 1911, the Town Market was transferred from The Plain to the area of orchard opposite numbers 2 – 8 Upper Bath Road. The last livestock market was held there in 1996, and all the buildings removed and replaced by the new community building called Turnberrie’s which was opened in 2006 and the new flats built in 2008 which are shown on the left in the above photo and which are painted in shades of cream and blue at present.
The Station Master’s house was situated off the plan on the other side of the railway lines.