By CleanSteve

The Co-Operative Building at The Cross

Today's Shambles market was much more lively and quite fun at times. I met several interesting visitors to Stroud, attracted by both the Farmer's Market as well as the town's position in this area of the Cotswolds. My local scenes do interest them, whilst local people seem to want to send them to  friends and family in other countries. Who would have thought it?

I repeated my journey to the carpark on my way home after the market, and again recording the evening light though looking in the other direction up the hill, where the road forks. This building was made in 1931 when there was a period of reconstruction of the junction at The Cross, between Parliament Street on the left climbing steeply uphill towards Bisley, and Nelson Street to the right leading away in the direction of Chalford. Nelson Street was in fact the old route towards Cirencester and the old coach road to London, which required being on an elevated area of the hillsides above the wet and muddy valley bottoms. 

I have seen photos of previous incarnations of these two premises. One of them was a general store, which had many of its general wares on show, hanging on the outside of the building. 

The site was always called The Cross and was a regular hive of communal activity with the town well, a water pump and the stocks. Street traders formed a market there using hand drawn wooden barrows and stalls with striped awnings.

In 1866, the pump was converted into a drinking fountain with four sculptured dolphins. The fountain was demolished by an Army vehicle in the 1940s, but one of the carved dolphins is in Stroud Museum. In the 1960s, many of the small alleys and yards around the Cross were demolished and a decade later much of the area was cleared to make way for a planned bypass road. After considerable protest by Stroud residents, only Cornhill was built. This mini-roundabout is all that remains of that bypass and only a small public area and some historical buildings remain at the top of the High Street.

A wall divides the area of The Cross from the High Street, locally nicknamed The Berlin Wall, when the High Street was pedestrianised. In 1987, a sculpture of a ram by local artist Jamie Vans was placed there, alluding to the historical importance of sheep and the wool industry to the economic development of Stroud and its Five Valleys.

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