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No.4 The High Street - Thornbury.
Written By: Mrs. S. A. Adlem.
I have known this house from the early 1940`s having also lived in it for some years until i married in 1956. My knowledge of the house did continue with regular visits to my sister and her husband who lived there until 2000.
It was not until 1955 that any alterations took place.
As you enter the main passageway which runs from the front to the rear, there is a small alcove on the left, opposite, on the right hand side was a door leading into the right hand front room, this having a plain Victorian fire-place and a bay window to the High Street which had small panes of glass.
On the far side of the alcove of the passageway was a glass door across this passage (this door being moved to a new entrance made into the rear of the right hand front room in 1955).
At the end of the passage was a glass door leading into a conservatory, on the right immediately before this door was a door leading to the cellar under the right hand side of the house, there being an open entrance before this into a passage with a large staircase which had a window half way up. On the left just beyond the staircase was a small room used as a kitchen with a black fire grate with red tile surround. The window of the kitchen looked up the rear garden, a sink being fitted in the left corner by the window. The wall opposite the fire-place (on your left entering the room) had two cupboards sunk into the wall. Opposite the bottom of the stairs, there was a walk-in-larder with a large dresser along the wall adjoining the front room, with a window into the kitchen on the opposite wall.
Towards the left of the main passageway of the house was an entrance to that side of the property, with a short passage leading into a hallway and a narrow staircase facing you with a larder to the right of this and a narrow cupboard to the left of the stairs. The stairs made two left turns (a "U" form) and were steep with narrow treads, especially at the top. On the left side of the passage was a glass door leading into the left front room which had a large cupboard fitted under the stairs which intruded into this room. On the right was a green marble fire- place with ornate tiles and grate. The bay window of this room having large panes of glass. To the left of the window was a door with a wooden bottom and a glass top leading into the High Street (this therefore basically adjoining the door to the main passageway and being on it`s left when facing the house in the High Street). This door was removed and the wall filled in, in 1955.
At the rear of the hallway was a door with a wooden bottom and small glass paned top leading into the middle room which had a door to the kitchen in the far right corner. A door to the cellar of this side of the building was in the wall on your right as you entered this room with another glass door in the outside wall (i.e., at a right angle to the cellar door) leading into the conservatory and garden. There was a fire- place with, i think, green tiles in this room with a corner cupboard to the left on the fire- place, the alcove could have been a window prior to the Chapel being built. The window looking onto the garden had small panes with wooden shutters on each side.
The door to the kitchen was of wood (and had been extended at sometime by it`s construction), there being two windows on the right facing the garden. There was a fire- place with a small stove and, in the right hand corner by the solid wood door to the garden was a copper type wash boiler. The floor of this room was of worn stone flags.
The only toilet for the property was an outside one at the rear of the kitchen, this being approached along a stone flagged path which was part of stone flagged yard at the rear of the right hand side of the building. Railings separated the yard from the garden which had trees, flower beds and vegetables during the war years, there being a stone walls surrounding the garden the end of which looked onto fields with cows grazing up to the walls which had no entrance in it.
The small stairs on the left side of the building had a solid wooden door at the top which lead into a large room running towards the rear of the property which we called "The Long Room" .
Facing the stairs was a door leading into the right hand side of the building and the top of the large stair-case. To the left of this door was a glass door which was never used in our time as the conservatory roof sloped across it. The door to the front bedroom was on the far right having mounted the stairs. Immediately to the left inside the front bedroom was a cupboard which, at one time, had a small hand basin in it, the room having sash windows overlooking the High Street and it`s original fire-place.
In the "Long Room" was sash window looking over the yard, from which you could see the River Severn. At the rear end of the room was an original fire-place still there, with a door on the right and an alcove on the left. On the Chapel side was a window which had been filled in but it still having a sky-light above, there being an alcove with a cupboard high up, next to the stairs.
In the far back bedroom was a small, Victorian, fire-place on the rear wall, now behind the shower. There were no cupboards but the windows opened onto the yard as now. There was a wash basin to the right of the windows. There was no bathroom at this time.
In the right hand side of the house was a small single bedroom with sash window onto the High Street with a larger bedroom to it`s left with a cupboard to the right of the fire-place and a sash window on to the High Street. On the landing, there were stairs leading to the attic with a cupboard under them and a door to the attic which had been used as a bedroom in the 1920`s and which had a window looking up the High Street. There was a back-bedroom (over the kitchen) which has now been turned into a bathroom, it having a door with a hinged panel at the top, this believed to have been used for watching the children when building was used as a school, the room having two steps down into it and a window facing up the garden. I do not remember any fire-place or cupboards in this room.
These are my memories of the property, as children, we used to read Enid Blyton books and tapped every wall for secret passages etc so i think that is why my memories are so good.
With regards to the earlier history of the house, the following details are what we believe to be (some facts and other by word of mouth).
In 1849, a D.Harding and Thorn may have lived or visited the house, signature of both having been found.
The 1881 Census indicates it`s use as a school, i`m sure, although no number is given, that this is 4, High Street. The owners later moving to "Porch House" in Castle Stree. We know that it was a china shop owned by a Mr.Pitcher (Daniel?). In old photographs of the High Street, the left hand bay window (large panes) can been seen, also the shop door between this window and main front door. We also know that members of the Pitcher family lived there in the middle of the 1920`s as we knew someone who worked for them at the house.
Mrs.Rosie Hutchins, who ran a hairdressing salon, was there from the 1930`s with her daughter, Nancy - later Mrs Stone. The hairdressing salon was in the right hand front room, hair washing being in the small kitchen at the rear, the entrance to this being through the main front door. The business closed after Mrs Hutchins died and her daughter remained living in the house until approx: 1944.
When Mr. and Mrs Reece were bombed out of their home in Filton in 1940, they were able to have rooms above the hairdressing business, when the business closed, they were able to take over that side of the house. When Mrs Stone moved, Mr. and Mrs. Reece then moved to the large (left hand) side of the house, sharing this with a soldier`s wife and children, the right hand side of the house being occupied by a lady with two children who had moved from Bristol because of the bombing. This being wartime, all available space was fully utilised where possible. At the end of the war, Mr. and Mrs. Reece, her father and sister continued to live in the left hand side of the house, Mrs.Reece finally leaving the property in November,2000. The tenants on the right hand side of the house moving out in 1954, alterations were then made by the owners to make two separate premises. Another tenant was in for a short while, they being followed by Mr. and Mrs. D. Ward, who left shortly after Mrs.Reece, the property then being sold.
Mrs. S. A. Adlem, September,2001
Written by: Mr. R. F. Adlem
Please stand with your back to "Post Office" and look at the roofs of 4, High Street which you will see are in four levels or angles from this view (there being another part you can`t see from here).
Why is the front part two different heights for the two parts of the building?.
It is possible that the left hand side of the property is the original, this being a rectangle of 18" thick stone walls, of two storied, the rearmost wall of which has a door in it leading to the cellar under the building. The building seems to have been extended rearwards on two separate occasions, again 18" thick stone walls. There is a doorway on the right rear of the upper storey, this could have been onto an outside stairway before the right hand part of the building was constructed. If this is so, the stairway would have had to have been removed because it would have obstructed the passageway through the building, this then meaning that the awkward "U" shaped, narrow staircase was built to give access to this part of the property. The roof of the left of the building would then have run the length of the building.
The first extension had a door opening to the right of the building (behind where the passageway now ends) as did the second extension.
When the right hand part was built, it`s longest run was parallel to the High Street and it`s roof ran along that length which then mean`t that the original roof of the left side was at right angle so part of that roof was removed and replaced with a piece (which is lower) along the line of the High Street. The roof on the rearmost, extension being built to the line of the original and second roofs but slightly lower.
The last extension would seem to be to the rear of the right hand part of the building and thus has an angled roof, joined to the roof there.
Why these extensions were made is not known, my only supposition being that the original building could have been for storage and the later right hand part, with a wider, straight, staircase for living quarters.
I have known this property since 1955, staying there on many occasions.
Mr. R. F, Adlem - september,2001
Establishment for Young Ladies
Conducted by: Mrs. W. Ellis
Terms per Annum
Board and Instruction ......................... £16. 16. 0
Weekly Board........................................... £13. 13. 0
Daily Pupils............................................. £3. 3. 0
Daily Pupils under 7.years...................... £2. 2. 0
Music and French (each) ....................... £4. 4. 0
Drawing,Singing,Dancing (each............ £3. 3. 0
I`m certain that the school was at No.4 High Street at about 1881
E. R. Dodd
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