Saturday, 12 January 2013

Frome Town Trail in Bright Sunshine

We returned to Frome on Friday morning, to follow the town trail, and listen to the history of this lovely little town in Somerset, just over the border from Wiltshire.  Thirteen of us took the bus, firstly the No. 49 doubledecker to Trowbridge, where most walkers went upstairs, although two of us stayed downstairs.  Riding on the top deck of a doubledecker makes me feel very quiesy!  At Trowbridge we changed for the Frome bus, and arrived in a town bathed in sunshine.   

We enjoyed a guided tour, with much walking up and down steps, narrow streets and damp little alleyways.  The town has a rich variety of buildings of historical interest,  and connections with the wool trade, weaving and the foundery industry.  At one time the town was larger than Bath, and vied with the city as being a very desirable place in which to live and work.

This Valentine's Day lamp post is a special street light for lovers, that is lit on Valentine's Day each year.  The red postbox has GR embossed upon it, and dates from the 19th century.  It must be cosy to sit here on a winter's evening, well wrapped up in hat and gloves, holding the hand of your true love!  

This old cobbold street contains many interesting little shops, all full of unusual goodies.  Several of us have decided to return again soon with plenty of money,  for a day's shopping trip.  The street is traffic free, and with the many little cafes for tea, coffee and cake, it will make a lovely day out.  Spring must arrive first, with the sun shining in a blue sky.   We don't do rain!

When the wool trade declined, Frome began to embrace new engineering industries.  From 1685 Cockeys cast church bells, and later  began the production of cast iron components for the gas industry, and in 1832 Frome was lit with gas lights.   The old old steam hammer above is a monument to "John Webb Singer and Sons'"  whose castings factory stood in Eagle Lane.  In 1848 John Singer, then 30 years old, was a clockmaker, and established the factory, which later started casting munitions and statues.  The Statue of Justice above the Old Bailey was cast in Frome, as was the statue of Boadicea on London's Embankment, and the statue of King Arthur in Winchester town centre.   A  housing estate now stands on the former site.

We enjoyed lunch in the "Old Bath Arms" a Georgian building  with fine beaded windows.  We drank beer, pear cider in my case, tea and coffee, and enjoyed the atmosphere of this fine room with its open fire.   The landlord is South African, and cooks a tasty variety of homemade burgers.  I savoured the chicken and salad version, and excellent it was too.   We tumbled out, and caught  the bus at 1.40pm  and were back in Devizes at 3pm.  What an interesting  day in bright sunshine.

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