Frome in old picture postcards volume 3

Frome in old picture postcards volume 3

Auteur
:   Michael McGarvie
Gemeente
:  
Provincie
:   Somerset
Land
:   United Kingdom
ISBN13
:   978-90-288-3191-9
Pagina's
:   80
Prijs
:   EUR 16.95 Incl BTW *

Levertijd: 2-3 weken (onder voorbehoud). Het getoonde omslag kan afwijken.

   


Fragmenten uit het boek 'Frome in old picture postcards volume 3'

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INTRODUCTION

Compilers of books of illustrations for the ' ... in old picture postcards' series are encouraged to begin in 1880. This is a difficuit date, quite close in terms of time, especialiy considering that Frome is celebrating its 1,300th anniversary this year, yet just outside the range of human memory. This selection of photographs shows us the physical appearance of the town and its surroundings, but for a glimpse of the life and labour which went on within these streets we need some supplementary help from the written word.

A strongly delineated pen portrait of Frome in its Victorian heyday appears in Kelly's Directory of Somerset for 1883 and I quote here the salient points: 'Frome (or Froome Selwood) is a parliamentary borough, large and populous market town, and poiling - place for the eastern division of the county, near Wiltshire ... having a station on the Wilts and Somerset line, distance by Great Western Railway 115Y2 miles from the metropolis, in the rural deanery of Frome, archdeaconry of Wells, and diocese of Bath and Wells. Frome borough returns one member: it is the seat of the union, situated in the hundred of its own name and was formerly a royal demesne. The town, although irregularly built, and consisting of many narrow streets, is, from the river Frome flowing through its lower part, and the streets being on a declivity, very clean and healthy. It is governed by alocal board of 15 members who established a water works here in January 1880: the pumping station is situated at Eggford ... the reservoir is at Cottle's Oak and the water is obtained from natural springs at Eggford.'

'The parish church of St. John is 160 feet long (including chancei), and 56 feet wide, and consists of large chancel, nave, and aisles, four chapels, a vestry room, and two porches, with a quadrangular embattled tower, supporting a handsome octagonal spire .. .'

Kelly's goes on to describe in loving detail the four other Anglican churches, St. Katherine's in East Woodlands, Christ Church, Holy Trinity and St. Mary the Virgin, the RomanCatholic chapel of St. Catherine, and the chapels of the numerous nonconformist sects which were so strong in Frome, befere easing the reader gently into more mundane matters: "I'here is a college of boys, who form the choir of the parish church. These boys, about 16 in number, are entirely maintained and educated, the funds for which are supplied by the offertory and voluntary subscriptions .. .'

"The manufacture of woollen cloth is extensively carried on here, forming the staple tra de, and broad cloth, kerseymeres, and cashmerettes are to some extent produced, and there are a few cardmakers, silk mill, and dye works, also iron foundries, and several breweries.'

'A cornpany was established here on June 8th, 1874, calied the 'Frorne Market Cornpany', for the purpose of carrying on the markets and fairs, by whom the tolls have been purchased from the lord of the manor, and a new and spacious market house erected, with an entrance from Bridge Street; there is a market place for cattie adjoining. A market is held every Wednesday for cattle, corn and general commodities, and every Saturday for the latter only. A cheese market is held on the last Wednesday in each month. There are two fairs held in the course of the year, viz., on the last Wednesday in February and the last Wednesday in November.'

'A Cottage hospital was established here in 1875; the building is situated in Long Row, and contains 13 beds, The St. John's dispensary, Christ Church street, was established in 1854.' 'The public charities of Frome are of considerabie importanee and the principal of which are - an hospital for aged men, an asylurn for girls, and a school for boys: the almshouse is portion of the same building, in which about 30 aged

women have furnished rooms and a weekly allowance ... '

"I'he Mechanica' Institute, a modern building situated on Church slope, erected at a cast of ,(1500, is well adapted for lectures and meetings, and has reading rooms, and a library of more than 1400 volumes .. .'

'The Literary and Scientific Institute is a lofty and commodious sta ne structure of classic architecture, erected by the late John Sinkins, esq., and occupies a prominent position at the south-west end of the North parade: in the upper part is an extensive museum and a spaclaus reading and newsroom ... in the lower portion of the building is a School of Art, founded in 1865, and having over 130 members.'

"I'he Wilts and Dorset Bank is a substantial stone building, erected in 1874 in the Market place.'

Kelty's account continues with a nod to the history of Frome; its foundation by St. Aldhelm, praise for the tewn's support of Monmouth in 1685, mention of Vallis House, the ancient seat of the Leversedge family 'now converted into tenements' and concludes with the obligatory reference to Vallis Vale 'noted for its picturesque and romantic scenery'. There is a final display of facts and statistics: 'The Marquess of Bath and the Earl of Cork and Orrery are lords of the several manors. The area is 7,092 acres; the rateable value is ,(41,717; the population of the parish in 1881 was 11,180; the population of the Parliamentary borough in 1881 was 9,376.'

A disproportionate amount of space is devoted to a Iyrical description of the interior fittings of St. John's Church then enjoying great renown after its restoration by Vicar Bennett, but by and large the account is balanced, earnest and exact. A hundred years on and the framework remains but there have been sorne changes within. All the industries mentioned in 1883 have disappeared and been replaced by others; the

choir school and the Po or Law Union have both gone, the workhouse being converted into the Selwood Hospital. The Cottage Hospital in Long Row (now Castle Street) has reverted to its original status as a private house (The Keep), while the Mechanics' Institute has been demolished. The February fair is no longer held and the Hundred with its lord, the Earl of Cork and Orrery, has passed into history .

In some cases, however, the wheel has turned full circle. Frorne, although na langer a Parliamentary borough, is again giving its name to a constituency as part of 'Somerton and Frorne', The museum is once more housed under the roof of the Literary and Scientific Institute. The Wilts and Dorset Bank has been taken over but appears anew as Lloyds. Sornething usually remains in a town to link century to century and ensure continuity of fundamental appearance and essential character. Despite deplorable destruction and some unhappy development, Frome is still an attractive town in which people want to live.

Inevitably a hundred years hence some landmarks familiar to us will have been lost, but now, with our minds concentrated on an ancient heritage, is the time to ensure by wise planning that Frome stays a pleasant, good-looking town for those who will be about in 2085.

Michael McGarvie

I should like to thank the following friends and helpers most warmly for lending me postcards to include in this book:

Mrs. Cornish, Mrs. M. Doncaster, Mrs. J. Hignell, N.F. Maggs, A. Mullins, Mrs. Peakall, Miss R.M. Polehampton, G. Quartley, Miss B. Starr, Mrs. Stoate, J. Titford, M.J. Tozer, H. Vranch, MI. Withey and Mrs. Wood.

1. A rather somnolent view of Frame Market Place from an early card postmarked 'Beckington 13th. August 1904' and bought by the sender on a drive into Frame. On the left is the Public Benefit Boot Company whose sign is prominent in most early views of this area. On the right isthe Bull Hotel, now the Post Office, and next to it the shop of Charles Home, hatter, hosier and outfitter. Livery stables are advertised on the Crown Inn while a drinking trough and row of posts for tying up harses still rernain.

2. This card, by Stengel & Co, of London, is dated 1907. There has been little change in the three years since the previous photograph was taken. The drinking trough remains but the row of posts have been taken away. Note the lamp post in the middle of the Market Place to the right of the cross. In the centre to the right of the high building of the Capita! and Counties Bank (now the Frome Selwood Building Society) is Waterloo House, then occupied by John Gradidge, a draper.

.- Market Place. Frame

3. "This is a very ancient town dropped into a well,' says the writer of this postcard in 1909. There has been a change of street furniture, the modest 1amps shown in the previous postcards having been replaced by much grander structures both outside The Crown and in the centre of the Market Place. One of the Bath Electric Tramways ornnibuses can be seen outside the present Post Office, then the Bull HoteL

Market Place, frome,

4. One of the most atmospheric views of Frome Market P1ace is contained in this postcard by R. Wilkinson, of Trowbridge. It is postmarked 1914, but the picture was probably taken a year or two earlier. It shows the Boyle fountain not only full of water but also with the taps running. A smart brougham waits outside Mrs. Carpenter's dra pers' shop (now replaced by the Midland Bank) but The Crown has a1ready abandoned its livery stables in favour of a garage.

5. A Bath E1ectric Tramways omnibus outside the Assembly Room (now the National Westminster Bank) in Frome Market P1ace about 1906. The vehicle seems in danger of collapse with all the passengers on top for the benefit of the camera. The omnibus is marked 'special' sa presumab1y had been hired for an outing. In the background, to the left, is a glimpse of Hall House, demolished between the two world wars and whose site is now occupied by the Westway Cinema.

6. A nicely composed picture of the Market Place taken before 1914 without the bustie of market day scenes yet animated and lively. The old ways are represented by the horse-drawn post office van and the hay cart trundling towards North Parade, but the smart motor car parked outside the George Hotel (left) presages change. The house and shop in the background where Halfords now stands, was taken down about 1938.

7. A rernarkable photograph by A.S. Ashby of the aftermath of a storm in 1933. After a cloudburst, the rainwater swept down the steep declivity of Stony Street. When it reached the iron posts outside Fear Hill's Stores an irresistab1e force met an immovable object and this cascade was the resuIt. Ashby had premises on the opposite side of the Market Place sa was well placed to record the event. Fear Hill's (now Barclay's Bank) was demolished in 1954.

8. Another Ashby view of Frame after the 1933 storm. He seems to have lost na time in turning his photographs into postcards which were soon being sent all over the country. The writer of this one says: 'I thought you would like to see what the flood was like last Saturday!' On the left the old International Stores (Halfords); on the right Sutton & Sans, replaced by Woolworths the following year.

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