Cirencester in Photographs

Corinium Museum

Photographs can offer a fascinating into the history and architecture of a town. This selection of photographs from the Corinium's extensive collection focuses on the Market Place from the 1600s onwards.  

Postcard depicting J Beechams painting of 'The attack on Lord Chandos' Coach'. Lord Chandos was attempting to executre "The commission of Array" on behalf of the King. The mob regarding him as a traitor, rose upon him, threatening his person, killing some of his company, tearing his carriage to pieces and burning the Market PLace. Chandos with great difficulty made his escape to the neighbouring hostelry of The King's Head. "This was the first blood shed in the Civil War" - August 1642. Painting located at Bingham Gallery.

The Ram Inn provided food and accommodation for travellers and was a regular stopping point on journeys between London and the West Country. William Hogarth first sketched the scene in 1719 and Beecham has added action and colour as the coach sets down its passengers in the galleried courtyard.

View of the Market Place as it would have looked pre 1830. The Shambles, with the town’s lock-up, dominated the area between the King’s Head on the left, and the entrance to The Waterloo on the right.

Sun Inn, Cirencester which has become part of The Fleece, Market Place. The Sun Inn, was one of the reputed overnight stops for the future Charles II as he fled after the Battle of Worcester in 1651.

Castle Street with the building which now houses LLoyds Bank. then a private house.

Mr Farrell and Staff out side their shop on Castle Street, pre 1895. Sign above the door reads "We defy competition, 10000 articles at 5 1/2 D each".

"June 20th 1897: This photograph taken by Mr F. Mortimore Savory from the roof of Mr Trinder's house shows the large crowd which filled the market place at noon to celebrate Queen Victoria's Diamond jubilee. The proceedings opened with the singing of the national anthem. The united choirs of the town standing in carts and the band of the 4th Gloucestershire Regiment were conducted by Mr Gibbons organist of the Parish Church. Mr Zachary, Chairman of the Urban District Council, spoke, the psalm "Old Hundredth" was sung, the photograph taken and the bells of the parish church rang out. In the afternoon sports were held in Deer Park, catering by Mr Viner and fireworks in the evening."

Sepia photograph showing a crowded Market Place bustling with pedestrians. An early motor bus [1904] is in the foreground along with gas lamp and iron railings.

Proclamaion of George V in the Market Place, Cirencester. 11th May 1910.

Cirencester held an annual hiring fair as early as the 1700s .Prospective workers would gather in the street or market place, often sporting some sort of badge or tool to denote their speciality. Shepherds held a crook or a tuft of wool, cowmen brought wisps of straw, dairymaids carried a milking stool or pail and housemaids held brooms or mops; this is why some hiring fairs were known as mop fairs. Employers would look them over and, if they were thought fit, hire them for the coming year. These fairs attracted all the other trappings of a fair, and they turned into major feasts in their own right.

View of the market place in Cirencester looking up towards Castle Street. C. 1920s

'Lion and the Unicorn' sculpture set up in the Market Place for the Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II, 1953

Credits: Story

Heather Dawson, Corinium Museum

Credits: All media
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