Thursday, March 15, 2007

Bury St Edmunds Town Centre

Share 9.6 miles in 1 hr 19 mins 38 seconds

Week to date mileage 124 miles

Month to date mileage 77

Average weekly rate 29.5 miles

Average monthly rate 131

Year to date 314

Lifetime 9907

I dropped my car for its MOT and headed along Fornham Road and into the town centre. Past the old Fire Station with the Cupola House in the background. The observatory window for star gazers is very clear in this photo.

I decided to head for the site of the old College Street Workhouse. It is good to see that one end of the former workhouse which used to be the men's ward, a workshop for shoe-making, tailoring and carpentry, the boys' school, and the mortuary has been substantially restored.

This wasn't the only workhouse in Bury there also being sites in Mill Lane ,Whiting Street, Churchgate Street, Eastgate Street and Schoolhall Street. The College Street site served as a workhouse for around 130 years from 1750 to 1880.

I believe I am right in saying that the house in the photo below would have been the old workhouse oakum store. Oakum is a hemp like fibre with a tar substance and was used in shipping and building applications for packing the joints of timbers. It was a common occupation for workhouse occupants.

I went past the Theatre Royal which I believe is due to reopen in September this year. It is said to be one of the finest Georgian Theatres in England and its closure was for a major overhaul and a restoration to its former glories as a Georgian Playhouse. I imagine demand will be extremely high and it may be difficult to actually get a seat when it does finally reopen.

Around the corner from the Theatre Royal is the wonderful St Mary's Square which was once the home of the horse market in Bury .

It was also once home to a famous son of East Anglia Thomas Clarkson. There is a plaque on one of the houses referring to Clarkson's support of the Emancipation Bill. Clarkson and Wilberforce played a prominent part in the abolition of slavery .Clarkson was married at St Mary's Church to the daughter of a yarn maker Catherine Buck. For 10 years from 1806 Clarkson lived in St Mary's Square before moving to Playford in Suffolk.

I headed out of town and into the water meadows along Cullum Road

Before heading up to Hardwick Heath and home.

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