St Margaret’s Street, eastern side

St Margaret’s Street runs from the southern end of the Town Bridge. It formerly continued on the line that is now called Frome Road, but nowadays it turns off left behind Hall’s Almshouses and other buildings along what was Besoar Street. It takes its name from a now lost medieval St Margaret’s Hospital, which was founded in 1235.

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> old photographs of St Margaret’s Street

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Click on the thumbnail pictures to see a bigger view.

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St Margaret's StreetEastern side, from Bridge Street

 

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Three HorseshoesThe Three Gables is a row of three low gabled 17th century houses; a straight joint in the rubble masonry and a slightly different gable suggests that the right hand end was built a separate time. The right two were the Queen’s Head Inn until 1914 and the other was a tea shop. Since then they have been a succession of restaurants called the Three Gables, Spindles and Rosario’s. They were empty for years, but have now been restored as a restaurant again.

Liberal Club, St Margaret's StreetNumber 5, Odournet’s premises, is a mansion that was built in the early part of the 18th century and belonged to the clothier families of Bailward and Shrapnel. It was the home and surgery of Joseph Chaning Pearce (1811-1847), who built up a large collection of fossils there. In much of the 20th century it was the Liberal Club.

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6-7 St Margaret's StreetNumbers 6-7 were originally one house and are again now, but it was split during the 19th century. It was built as a two-storey house early in the 17th century; the three gabled dormers were added at the end of the century. For much of the 18th century it belonged to the Shrapnel family.

More detailed history can be found on the website of Neil Mattingly, a former resident who called it Shrapnel House.

Binding's, 8 St Margaret's StreetNumber 8, Binding’s, is ashlar-fronted of two floors and cellar, three bays with a shop window and door  inserted in the right side. It probably dates from a rebuilding in the middle of the 19th century. It is now the shop of G. Binding, who succeeded George Rossiter in his electrical business. Previously it had been occupied by William Howard Gale, tailor who had succeeded Francis Ledbury and then John Gale in 1925.

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Thai Barn, St Margaret's StreetNumbers 9-10, now the Thai Barn restaurant, was originally one house of the early 17th century. It became divided into two, each with a gabled dormer on the attic storey c1700, but one again in the 20th century. The left side was the French Horn public house for a while early in the 19th century, later the office of the Midland Railway’s agent. Together they were Bryant’s hardware shop, but now a restaurant- called the Rialto, La Dolce Vita, then the Thai Barn.

Green Tree, St Margaret's StreetNumber 11 preserves its front as an 18th century house without the insertion of shop windows. The windows, some blocked, of the third floor suggest its use for weaving. It was Margaret Wood’s Green Tree café, but was converted into offices of Dove Insurance, now Green Tree complementary medicine.

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Backhouse betting shop, St Margaret's StreetNumber 12, Backhouse Betting Shop, is a three-bay, three-storey ashlar-fronted 18th century house with shop windows right across the ground floor. From the middle of the 19th to the early 20th century it was a baker’s shop. Backhouse moved here from a small shop in Silver Street in the 1980s.

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13 St Margaret's StreetNumber 13 is a three-bay house of two storeys. The door numbered 14A is a passage leading to a yard behind it and now to an entrance to flats on the upper floors of Saxty’s, next door.

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Saxty's, St Margaret's StreetNumber 14, occupied by Geoffrey Saxty estate agent, is a grand three-bay ashlar-fronted mansion that was built at the end of the 18th century.

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The Old Baptist Chapel, St Margaret's StreetThe Old Baptist Chapel, up the steps through the gateway, was founded in 1689. The present building dates from 1797. There is a burial ground behind, which can be seen from St Margaret’s Hill.

St Margaret’s Street now continues as the left fork, formerly Beasor Street.

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