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Queen Street

This street was previously referred to as Back Street near the church & Dead Street where it joins Bridge Street in the West.

It became an area of dreadful slums in the 19th century, although it seems always to have been a place of deprivation, as the name Dead Street dates from the great plague of 1349. In the 16th century, fifty people from Dead Street died from plague & were buried in a pit nearby. In 1665 plague struck again and no-one survived.

In 1924, work began to clear the slums of Queen Street. In their place was built St Mary's Square - now principally a car park. A notable survivor of the clearances is the British School. This building was completed in 1857. It houses a galleried classroom, perhaps the only one to remain in the country. Accessible from Queen Street and next to the church and river is the modern market with it's permanent stalls. Every Tuesday and Saturday the hustle and bustle of shoppers mixes with the calls of the fresh produce stallholders. Even today the spirit of the old market town is alive and vibrant, attracting traders, shoppers and tourists alike from far and wide.

Nearby is a truly fascinating building known as The Biggin. Once a Gilbertine nunnery, This is one of several almshouses in the town. In the early part of this century The Biggin was home to the Great Grandmother of one of the contributors to this tour. The building we know today dates from the 15th century although parts of it include remnants from earlier timber structures. There is a small courtyard in the centre with a water pump and, interestingly, a colonnade with Tuscan columns. Next to The Biggin is a small, quiet garden known as Seebohm Gardens which provides an ideal spot to take a rest from the busy market next door.

From here, you can go to Hermitage Road, St Mary's Church or Tilehouse Street.

Last Modified: Friday, 3rd December, 2004 By
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