Broad Street

Broad Street was originally called Rother Beast Street, and it was the part of the market where cattle were sold. It is very wide and the road surface slopes to low channels some yards from the pavements, which helped prevent the inevitable mess from entering the shops and dwellings along the street.

 The buildings on the east side were mainly houses for business men and merchants and many of them were shops in the Georgian period when the town was an important coaching centre. Most of the houses on this side have small gardens in front with low walls or railings, which would have helped keep animals off on market days. The shop nearest the camera was a grocer's in 1906 when this photograph was taken. It is now a very good secondhand bookshop.

The lime trees were planted in 1865 for the wedding of the Prince of Wales, later King Edward VII, and Queen Alexander. They are still in place and many of them are the original trees. They are pollarded every three or four years.

 

 This view, taken in about 1935, shows the Red Lion entrance in the foreground and the collar factory on the far side of the street. By then there were a few telephones in town, and the wires criss-crossed the street until the Conservation Area was established in 1967, when they were all buried underground.