Saturday, 17 November 2012

The Thoroughfare

A few reference and history notes on the pedestrianised street The Thoroughfare in Halesworth.

I found this logo on a few documents but nowhere on line. Where can you get a eps or jpeg of it? What is the point of spending money on logo design and branding if no one is able to use them and they're not used consistently.

The town was unsuccessful at getting £100,000 of the Portas Towns Project money in June 2012 but a smaller grant of £10,000 was awarded in the second round though accounts of what it was or will be spent on are not known. A video for the bid was produced.

Zombies took over the Throughfare on Saturday October 27th 2012 to raise funds for the Rifle Hall

Plaque above Focus Organics George Lansbury was born on Feb. 21 1859 in a toll keepers cottage on the Bramfield Road at the Mells crossing to George Lansbury and Mary Ann Ferris. His father was the timekeeper of a gang of navvies building the East Suffolk Railway. The railway workers moved camp as the line progressed. The toll keeper Robert Clarke took pity on Mrs Lansbury's condition and provided his cottage for her confinement.

George was baptised in Halesworth church on March 13 and his parents registered their abode as 'The Thoroughfare'. Their purported temporary lodgings are marked by a plaque. Shortly after his birth his family moved onto his father's next contract at Sydenham, near Penge. After many years of this nomadic life, the family settled in East London when George was nine.

Saddler's shop circa 1945 between what is now the stationers and Edwards Restaurant 

Halesworth's fire engine - date unknown

date unknown 

Now occupied by the Bay Tree Bistro, number 6 is known as 'Ancient House' and was a gentleman’s outfitters and school uniform emporium in the 1950-60's. It was thought to once be the home of Margaret De Argentein. The shield would have had their coat of arms. The unusual carving at first floor level is called bressumer. It rests on the joists of the first floor. The left hand figures are almost certainly Ganymede, holding a cup or glass, being seized by Jupiter, in the form of an eagle, to be cup bearer to the Gods. This neatly parallels the role of cup bearer at Royal coronations held by the Argenteins until 1424 and by the Allingtons until 1706. The figures on the right are less obvious but probably depict a scene from the Reynard the Fox stories which were popular in the Middle Ages.

Thoroughfare looking south to Bridge Street.

The Thoroughfare was pedestrianised in  1989. Until that time all traffic used to pass through this street and often lorries would get stuck under overhangs.

Thoroughfare looking north about 1905

Looking south during Scout parade - around 1916-1920


Another scion of Halesworth was Benjamin William Botham who was born in 1824. He came from a family of local tailors and drapers and by the early 1850s he was living in Bridge Street, a married man with children and employed as linen and woollen draper.

Around 1856, Benjamin Botham decided to give up the drapery trade to become a travelling photographer. By 1857, he and his wife and children had reached Derbyshire and established a photographic business.

By the end of 1859, Benjamin Botham had returned to Halesworth where another child was born. The family then moved to the Sussex coast where he hoped to continue his photographic career. He was successful and by 1868 he had sold his photography business to become the proprietor of The New Oxford Theatre of Varieties in New Road, Brighton.

A detailed biography of him is on the Sussex Photo History website.

In The Economic & Social History of Halesworth 720 AD - 1902 AD by Michael Fordham there is a section on Halesworth in the Report of the Commission into the Working of the Factory and Workshop Acts (1876):

There are textile factories winding and weaving silk, and manufacturing drabbett cloth from cotton and linen; there are several clothing factories, a number of iron foundries, and factories building coaches or making agricultural implements. Dressmaking and millinery form a large proportion of the workshops. (A workshop is a manufacturing establishment that employs less than 50 hands.) Inspectors have the power to enforce regulations in dwelling houses where the occupier carries on a business and employs protected persons - children under 13, young persons 13-18 and women, in a handicraft.

In the principal occupations of the Halesworth area the hours of work are less than 60 a week, and not more than 10 hours a day. Since the passing of the Workshops Regulation Act of 1867, a prosperous time has elapsed.

Many servants have become masters, competition is at its keenest, while machinery supplements hand labour; machines are improved on every year. In clothing and boots and shoes workshops the hours are 8 am to 6 pm, or 8am to 7 pm, with Saturday to 1 or 2 pm. In the workshops of dressmakers, milliners and tailors some have asked for permission to work overtime. If children are employed they cannot work for more than 6 ½ hours a day. No children under 8 are to be employed.

There are generally to be found in towns three classes of trades men in each business. (1) The first class enjoys the favours of first class families, opens later and closes earlier than the others. The first class shops are more spacious and better ventilated. (2) Seeks for ready money customers among the class who can afford to purchase a good article. He keeps open to give customers the opportunity of shopping after 6. (3) Catches the multitude who from habit will not shop till late in the evening.

The hours of labour in shops engaged in drapery, millinery, haberdashery, fancy goods, ready made clothing and grocery are 7.30 am to 8 pm; 8 am to 8 pm and 8 am to 7 pm with a short day once a week. On Saturdays the shops keep open till 9, 10 or 11pm and on market days the same. Breakfast time is generally 30 minutes, dinner 20 minutes and tea the same. On market days during the season there is no time for dinner. In agricultural town the farm labourers and cottagers come in about 2 or 3 pm; they wander up and down for hours visiting houses for refreshment and drink, and begin shopping about 8 or 9 pm. More money is taken in the third class businesses on a market day or Saturday from 8 pm to 11 pm than during the day.
Drapers employ 3 women for every man. Great improvement has been effected in the employment and treatment of females in shops. Children are generally employed as errand boys, they begin first and leave off last and are put to all sorts of work and receive little education.

According to Halesworth - An Ecological Society by Denis Bellamy & Ruth Downing 2006:

In the 70s and 80s many market towns suffered a process of ‘rape-by-bypass’ to achieve a smooth flow of traffic through narrow streets. Halesworth was transformed during this period, first by the construction of Saxons Way, and then by the Angel Link 
to join it to the southern end of The Thoroughfare. Saxon Way was driven through a network of old closes and gardens over a new river crossing. The Angel Link involved laying a wide carriageway along a lane that ran from Angel Corner to George’s Old Maltings. In 2006, the consultant to Waveney District Council reported on the adverse impact of the Angel Link development on the town’s built heritage as follows: 
The Angel Link follows the line of the former Angel Yard and Angel Lane. It required the demolition of the Corn Hall (originally a maltings and finally a dairy) and the loss of a bowling green to the carriageway and car parks. Its construction has had a substantial impact on the historic urban grain of the area, opening up the rear yards and gardens at the southern end of The Thoroughfare with views of the sides of buildings and leaving others isolated. In particular this massive development involved the demolition of cottages and commercial premises on Angel Corner thrusting a massive plain gable end into the view of people walking up The Thoroughfare to the Market Place. 

The major justification for the The Angel Link was to take traffic from the west smoothly through the town. In this respect, it can be argued that this objective has now been met more effectively by Roman Way, the ‘Chediston St bypass’ constructed at the start of the millennium.

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