Category Archives: street scene

The Street with the most names in Abingdon

Queen Street
Queen Street, in Abingdon, is pictured here from level 7 of the Charter Car Park.

Queen Street is a back lane providing the delivery entrances to shops on Bury Street and Stert Street. Hedges the Butcher is the only shop now to have a customer entrance down Queen Street. There used to also be a fitness studio. There are also some offices.
Queen Street
The thoroughfare got the name Queen Street in Victorian times – being the side entrance to the Queens Hotel. It ends in a medieval-looking passageway to the Market Place, where the Queens Hotel once stood.

According to John McGowan’s book ‘The Origins of the Street Names of Abingdon’  it is not really a street but a lane. He says ‘It is one of the ancient thoroughfares of Abingdon and has had more names than any other street in the town: Ottwelleslane… Bryanneslane… Schoelane… Crab Lane… Workhouse Lane… Otwell Lane… and Queen Street’

National Route 5 – 15 years on

Sustrans say “National Route 5 of the National Cycle Network is a long distance route which connects Reading and Holyhead via Oxford, Banbury, Stratford-upon-Avon…” But by all accounts, National Route 5 through Abingdon does not get the repairs or priority that the prestigious name National Route should merit.

It was opened back in the June 2000 when Mr John Disley, Oxfordshire County Council’s transport planner said “The network will dramatically improve cycling facilities and will contribute greatly to the county council’s objective for increasing cycle use.
National Route 5
The sign in the Abbey Meadow area still says”Changes planned in Abingdon town centre as part of Integrated Transport Strategy.” The cycling part of that strategy through the town centre never happened.
National Route 5
Signage is worse than 15 years ago. One of the signs on West St Helen Street is only visible to pedestrians, and faces the wrong way.
National Route 5
And if you do find your way from there to Lombard Street you are soon told to dismount.

Colin Walters, a town councillor between 2007-11 made strenuous efforts to make the route through town joined up with a proposed contra-flow at the top of East st Helen Street. It was turned down, on safety grounds, and no alternative has been put forward.
National Route 5
To make matters worse, a car is parked on the double yellow lines (on National Route 5) where a dropped kerb would allow access to the pavement for the mobility scooter. This is in a town that has 2 hours free parking.

The Eben Lark has Flown from West St Helen Street

West St Helen Street
The Eben Lark has flown, having spent the summer here, and now the shop is To Let.
West St Helen Street
However, some things in West St Helen’s Street never change: St Helen’s Church has been there as a focal point through the centuries.
West St Helen Street
Traffic is often unpredictable. I arrived back near home on Thursday evening and it took 15 minutes to do the last few yards. Traffic queues were merging from St Helen’s Wharf and East St Helen Street, and somebody said it had taken 2 hours to get from Harwell to Abingdon.
West St Helen Street
Shelves are being cleared away from the Abingdon second hand CD and DVD shop.

What was Frend & Co has been repainted ready For Sale; and the big banner saying new flats coming soon, where the solicitors offices used to be, has gone. Building work is almost complete – all part of the changing picture of West St Helen Street this autumn.

P.S. Hester sent me this picture to go wth her comment “Frend’s Jewellers have moved to new premises next to Bella Napoli, near the Charter (where Tick-tock used to be till the owner retired recently).” …
Frend and Co

Bath Street: From Art and Stuff to Loom Bands

Bath Street
Bath Street is the Abingdon town centre street that missed out on recent refurbishments: whether resulting from ABiTS (Abingdon Integrated Transport Strategy), or the refurbishment of the precinct. I remember Steve King campaigning on his Action4Abingdon forum to also get the Bath Street pavements done, but it did not happen.
Bath Street
The ABiTS York Stone paving only went as far as The Square, where you can find Art and Stuff, and the very friendly dog Grommet.
Bath Street
Retreat Hairdressing is down Bath Street and has old pavements.

Retreat Hairdressing are adding to Skye’s Loom to The Moon project which has already received lots of publicity, including: front page of this week’s Abingdon Herald and a large picture feature in the Daily Mail.

Skye, from Abingdon, is a 4 year old undergoing treatment for an aggressive brain tumor. The treatment involves surgery, radiotherapy, and chemotherapy, and is not easy. So Skye’s parent have set up a charity to research into better treatment for future children. They are using Skye’s Brainwave ‘a loom to the moon’ to raise funds. Lots of children have been making Loom Bands (the year’s big craze in schools) by weaving small elastic bands together. The aim is to join them together to reach the distance to the moon.
Bath Street
Retreat Hairdressing are hoping to get enough to go up their stairs, via the hand rail, before adding it to the Moon Loom.