A clockmaker, hatter, two book-makers, a hop merchant, baker and flour dealer, a druggist, ironmonger and tea dealer – those trades and more were discovered to be flourishing in Ellesmere’s High Street 200 years ago by six dedicated volunteers from Our Space, Ellesmere’s Community Centre and Library.
The life and times of these wonderful establishments are being portrayed at the latest ‘Down Your Street’ exhibition now being staged at the town hall for one month with free entry.
Sheila Williams, manager at Ellesmere library said: “Now we’ve settled into our upgraded new library space we are keen to start organising events again. We began our history of the town’s streets with Scotland Street in January. Everyone found it fascinating with over 170 people attending that talk and countless visiting the exhibition afterwards.
“So ‘lead volunteer’ Carole and her team have been looking forward to researching again, meeting the shopkeepers and repeating the process for the next street off the town’s Square.
“Many people have come forward and shared their old photographs and memories to enable us to trace back the history of each property. We would be delighted to hear from anyone else who might have new material to add or loan for the exhibition – including memories to share. We are building on a great collection of written memories of what life used to be like in Ellesmere with previous projects, Ellesmere’s Railway Years and Life in Scotland Street.”
The talk to launch the exhibition was by local historian and clock expert Christopher Jobson who gave an illustrated talk on Saturday on ‘The History of the High Street, Clock-making and the old clockmakers shops’.
Sheila added: “Although the High Street appears a fairly short street, the fact that it contains The Old Town Hall and the Ellesmere Hotel has meant there has been a wealth of history to uncover.
“Martin, one of our team of six volunteers, has devoted all his time to researching the history of the Ellesmere Hotel. It was formerly The Bridgewater Arms - the site of many important meetings for the building of the canal and railway plus it was the main coaching innn.”
Children will also get the chance of some fun, as Keith Parry from Ellesmere Am Drams is devising a treasure hunt and local artists Sarah Stokes and Peter Taylor have designed two pictures – one of the old stagecoach ‘The High Flyer’ and one of Grosvenor’s Clockmakers shop for a colouring competition.
If you missed the talk, the exhibition will still be on display in the foyer at the town hall for the whole of November.
For more information contact the library on their new phone number 01743 -258555 or email ellesmere.library@ shropshire.gov.uk