There are plenty of hidden gems in this Cotswold town that are great for all ages - take a trip into the past with these four historical outings around Stroud.
The George Holloway Statue is a very important figure in the history of Stroud. Unveiled in 1894, his statue is a standing tribute to the man who pioneered the manufacture of clothing using steam-powered sewing machines. His first factory was in town too, in Threadneedle Street, on the site redeveloped in the 1990s.
Most notably, he was also a pioneer for employee welfare. He established the Mid-Gloucestershire Working Men’s Benefit Society (later the Original Holloway Friendly Society), founded in 1875, which was the first in the United Kingdom to offer disability insurance. By paying in seven old pence per week, members could ensure a sickness benefit of at least five shillings a week (ten times as much) and a lump sum upon retirement at 65.
On Friday and Saturday, this area houses the original Shambles Market, which offers local produce and a place for local makers to sell their goods too. On Monday is the renowned Vintage Mary market which is a draw for all those looking for vintage homewares and more.
Its history is in Markets too – the covered area once housing old butchers’ stalls (two of the tables remain under the canopy) with the open area as a marketplace. A hotel once used to exist there too. To the end, you will see St. Laurence’s Church, with the hall to the left. To the right, you will see the Old Town Hall. One of the oldest buildings in town, it was originally built as a market house in 1594 with stalls under its arches. Since then it has been the Town Hall, Courts and part of it is a School. Past scholars include John Canton (internationally known physicist) Alexander John Ball (later Governor of Malta and friend of Nelson).
John Wesley preached from a butcher’s block in The Shambles in 1742.
The Museum in the Park The Museum in the Park (as the name suggests!) is set in the heart of a beautiful award-winning park. Stratford Park is located just outside Stroud town and includes some 56 acres and plenty to explore, it is a great destination for everyone! Located near the museum is the Stratford Park Leisure Centre which has lots to offer for those looking for casual exercise and those wanting more! The wider parkland has large grassy lawns, two children’s play areas, a lake, a miniature railway, woodland and an arboretum (information available from within the museum
Stratford Park is home to a fantastic arboretum, which is free to explore. Its origins go back to the mid 1800C when Stratford House, now the Museum in the Park, was owned by the Watts family – Joseph Watts, a Stroud brewer from 1819 until 1855 and his grandson Joseph Watts Hallewell from 1855 until 1891.
Stratford Park is also home to a miniature railway, run and maintained by the Stroud Society of Model Engineers.
The Subscription Rooms were built in 1833 by public subscription hence the name. The venue continues to play an important part in community events now as it did when the doors opened in 1834. Subscribers bought shares at £50 to fund the £3,200 of its costs. The balcony has been used for many announcements (such as election results) and vehicles once used to be able to pass underneath it. The Stroud Urban District Council bought the Subscription Rooms in 1962 and ownership passed to Stroud Town Council in 2019. Today it is run by a dedicated set of Trustees with newly-subscribing supporters.
The forecourt once used to be fenced enclosing gardens and at one point housed an air raid shelter.
Find out more about supported living in this area and see if Home Instead Stroud and South Cotswolds 01453 368036 could be right for your loved ones.