St John Street Then and Now !

Despite its central position in the town’s conservation area, the street has a considerable mix of ages and types of property.

This project will primarily investigate the buildings previously occupying the many infill and replaced buildings in the street to discover previous uses. It was hoped that reasons for the existing house numbering, which suggests that a number of houses have replaced a larger a single larger building, would be uncovered along with reasons for a reduced number of houses in the street compared with those existing in the 1900s.

The scope of the project has been deliberately restricted to the more recent history of the street and as this has progressed it has become evident that there was little activity in this and other areas in the parish of St John before the end of the 18th century. In fact the ‘new carriage road’ which became St John St was not built until 1792.

The secondary element of the project would be to discover the type of businesses run in the street and how these have changed over the years.

It has been interesting to discover that the street had a Chapel as well as a National School and a linkage with John Dudeney and even a Dudeney’s Passage or Yard. The discovery of the White Horse Inn along with 2 White Horse cottages and the interesting arrangement of cottages which preceded the South Place flats, have made investigations necessary to discover these so worthwhile.

The interpretation of words such as messuage and the type of work carried out by William Woolven whose occupation was described as a clicker have widened the understanding of the lives of people who have lived and worked in the street.

The next stage of the project will be to firm up the ages of the older houses in the street and document who has lived where to make this a true and full history of St John Street.

Project Leader: Susan Weeks

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