Upper Bath Road in 2008

Upper Bath Road in 2008

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.

UBR 1881 Map with numbers


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