Explore Bradford: Frome Road

Frome Road does lead in the direction of Frome, but was not called that until about the beginning of the 20th century. Until then it was part of St Margaret’s Street, of which it is the direct continuation.

Click on the thumbnail pictures for a bigger view.

Hall's AlmshousesAt the point where St Margaret’s Street and Frome Road diverge stand Hall’s Almshouses, which were founded in 1700 by John Hall to house four deserving poor men. The men were also given a cloak and later a silver badge, two of which are displayed in the Museum. The almshouses still serve their original function.

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The Three Horseshoes, Frome RoadOpposite the men’s almshouses is the Three Horse Shoes public house. It claims to have been founded in 1685. There was formerly a large garden at the back, but much of it was taken over by the railway in around 1850 for the yard in front of the station. Another pub nearby, the Cross Keys, was demolished to make way for the railway in the 1840s.

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Prospect House, Frome Road

Next to the almshouses is Prospect House, a large house of the mid-19th century. It was a doctor’s surgery until the about 1970 when the medical team there moved to a new Health Centre in the old railway goods yard. Since then it has housed a veterinary surgery and the rest is divided into flats.

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Barton Close, Frome RoadNew buildings called Keates Court in Barton Close  are on the site recently occupied by two motor-transport companies. Keates’ Garage had moved here from St Margaret’s Street and coach builders Colour Developments was next door. When they both closed in 2006 a small brick building at the back, next to the railway, remained from an earlier timber yard. The site may occupy that of the former Poorhouse, which itself may have succeeded a medieval leper hospital. The new buildings were designed by Bradford architects Curtis Cryer.

The Gasworks, Frome RoadBradford’s gas and coke works opened in 1834, at first as a civic facility to supply gas for street lighting. It was sited near the canal wharf, where coal was unloaded from barges coming from the Somerset coalfield. The works became redundant after the natural gas grid came and the buildings have been converted into offices and the manager’s house is an Indian restaurant.

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New houses on the gasworks site, Frome RoadAfter the steel gas holder was removed in the 1980s, part of the gasworks site remained vacant for some years. This block of houses was eventually built and is controversial because of its design, scale and materials.

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St Catherine's AlmshousesOpposite the gasworks are St Catherine’s Almshouses. They were originally a medieval foundation, set up by Shaftesbury Abbey to house twelve poor people. Until at least 1693 the inmates were both men and women, but after Hall’s almshouses for men opened in 1700, women only. The present 1860s building houses four old women. Three houses were built with money left by printer John Bubb (died 1860) and the fourth by the Trustees and bears the arms of Hobhouse, lord of the manor and date 1878.

The Canal Tavern, Frome RoadNext to the almshouses is the Canal Tavern public house. It was not marked on a plan of 1838, but was certainly in business by 1858. Across the access road to the canal wharf and next to the canal bridge, the Lock Inn Cottage dates from before 1838.

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Poulton Quarry, Frome Road.Just before the canal a gated track led down to the portal of the former Poulton Quarry, an underground building stone quarry that was used for growing mushrooms after the workable stone ran out. It also served as an air-raid shelter for children of the nearby primary school in the second World War. It is now hidden behind a small housing development called Kennet Gardens

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Canal Bridge HouseAcross the canal, Canal Bridge House was for a time the home of Elizabeth Ann Tackle (1808-1877), the artist some of whose pictures can be seen in Bradford on Avon Museum.

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> The Canal Wharves.

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Bethel Quarry, Frome RoadBeyond the Barge Inn, on the right side of the road, is the entrance to the former Bethel Quarry where an extensive underground mushroom farm operated throughout the 20th century after stone quarrying ceased. The quarry achieved some notoriety in 2018 when a cannabis farm was discovered there. The farm’s yard and buildings were on the opposite side of the road, now developed for housing originally called Chanterelle Court, but later incorporated into the Spencer’s Orchard development, named after George Spencer who held Barton Farm in the mid-19th century.

 

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