Welcome to the web site for Stonehouse History Group
- promoting interest in the History of Stonehouse & the locality.
Fire at Stonehouse Court 1908
There was a serious fire at the former Manor House on 30 th May 1908. It is believed that the fire started from a smouldering kitchen fireplace beam and was fed by the gas system which was piped to every room. In a photograph from Jack Anderson’s book, Stonehouse - A Pot-Pourri of the Past in Pictures, you can see the smouldering building.
The Court had undergone alterations in 1906 by Sir Edwin Lutyens, the architect who designed the Cenotaph in Whitehall, much of Imperial New Delhi and especially his masterpiece, Viceroy’s House
The “Shadow Factories” came here in 1938, as part of the preparation for the Second World War, Sperry’s Gyroscope Company moved to Bond’s Mill from their factory in Brentford to avoid air attacks. The Bond’s Mill factory was engaged in the manufacture of gyrocompasses, altimeters and other instruments for aircraft, and searchlight systems.
A new factory was built for Hoffmann’s Bearings behind Avenue Terrace. Hoffmann’s moved here from Chelmsford. They produced large numbers of roller and ball bearings for military purposes.
In her book The Stroudwater Navigation, Joan Tucker mentions that, although Stonehouse was not bombed, a German aerial photograph was found which showed the two factories and the canal.
The War Memorial Cross is a memorial to Stonehouse men who fell in the Great War and was unveiled on the green by Miss Emily Davies, and dedicated by the Rev. R. P. Waugh, August 12, 1919.
The ceremony was attended by a large crowd of dignitaries and the public. The Memorial was refurbished in the summer of 2009 which made it look as good as it did in 1919.
The Post Office in Queens Road was built in 1933. The opening ceremony on 2nd November 1933 was performed by Sir Stephen Tallents KCMG CB CBE, Public Relations Officer to the General Post Office.
Those present were:- L Blick, Captain B D Parkin, Robert Perkins MP, W A Sibly JP, Lady Marling, and A S Winterbotham.
It was noted that the building was erected for Stonehouse people by a Stonehouse firm, (A. R. Blick & Son), using Stonehouse bricks!
The Millennium Stone was erected in the High Street.
The design represents a doorway from one millennium to the next or from the present to the future; it also recalls the stone house after which Stonehouse is believed to be named.
On it are carved symbols of the town and the area using several of the ideas suggested by members of the public during the research phase of the project. Children (or very keen adults) are able to climb through the opening.
The Regal Cinema in Gloucester Road was built in 1937, it replaced the old Regal in the Laburnum which burnt down.
The Regal was closed in 1959 and converted to a panel beating factory not long after.
The Cattle Trough was presented to the Stonehouse Parish Council by the Band of Mercy in September 1914.
It was located at the junction of Bath Road and Bristol Road. The Rev Roland Sturt attended the official unveiling. From that day onwards the area became known as the Trough Junction, and now it is known as the Trough Roundabout.
The Park Estate was built in 1951, Midland Road, Severn Road and Park Road and later Festival Road, while the foundations were being dug out sand and gravel was found which was an indication that centuries ago the site was the margin of the River Frome.
On Easter Monday 1915 an open day was held and the public were invited to inspect the conversion of Standish House before it commenced its new role as a Red Cross Hospital. It had been previously unoccupied by its owner Lord Sherborne.
Mary King had approached him to ask if he would let it for use as a hospital for wounded soldiers from the WW1 front. The first intake of patients were 31 wounded soldiers, the staff had 2 hours notice to arrange transport for them from Stonehouse station.
The Moreton Valance Section of the M5 commenced June 1969, completed in March 1971. The length 6.3 miles and the contract was awarded to Costain for a price of £5.5 million.
A railway bridge at Haresfield was constructed as an advance contract by Turriff. There were two interchanges on the section, an elevated roundabout at Stroudwater, and with the A419, where only South facing slip roads were provided. The disused Stroudwater canal was filled in adjacent to the interchange.
Where the main carriageway crossed the disused Gloucester Aviation Airfield it made use of the main runway which had been designed to cope with the Javelin Jet Planes; the taxi ways were broken out and restored to farm land and the material used in backfill to structures. The bridges at the Stroudwater Interchange had decks requiring 1,380 cu.yds of concrete.
These decks were constructed in a continuous concreting operation over 24 hours (unusual at that time) by making use of mobile concrete pumps. The earthworks required approximately 1,794,000 cu.yds. of excavation and the importation of about 372,600 cu.yds. of filling material. In addition to the railway bridge there were twelve other bridges.
Stonehouse Brick and Tile Companies 202 feet tall chimney was demolished in 1965, pensioned off after 65 years of working. The chimney was originally planned to be only around 195 foot tall but it was found that if it were 202 feet tall it would be the tallest chimney in Gloucestershire, so they built it a little higher.
The foundation stone for Wycliffe Chapel was laid in May 1911 by John Bramley a Wycliffe Classics master, J.P. and a local Methodist preacher for nearly 50 years. It was he who suggested that a new chapel be built and shared by the school and the Methodist church.
The Chapel which cost £2300 was opened on 19th October 1911 by Mrs C P Allen the wife of the local Liberal MP Charles Peter Allen who represented Stroud from 1900 to 1914).
Wycliffe Chapel clock tower and spire was added to the chapel 10 years after the chapel was built in 1921 in memory of Old Wycliffians who gave their lives in the Great War.
Standish House Sanatorium was opened 6th July 1922 by the then Duchess of Beaufort. It had a total of 140 beds divided into Men’s and Women’s Blocks, a Children's Block with 40 beds and a Recreation Hall, all housed in Wooden huts reclaimed from aerodromes abandoned after World war I.
Mains electricity came to Stonehouse in 1925 and eventually all homes were connected.
Elgin Lodge was demolished in 1987 to make way for the new Elgin Mall shopping complex. Elgin Lodge was a doctors surgery for many years including Dr O’Dowd and Dr Murrey-Brown.
When Elgin Mall first opened there was a cafe and many shops including a sports shop, a picture framing shop and a card shop.
The Wycliffe Memorial Bridge at Ryeford was opened in 1935. The bridge was given to the school by Mr Hubert Batchelar in memory of his wife and father-in-law.
The bridge enables the pupils to cross the busy road without any danger from moving vehicles.
Stonehouse - A Time Line - One Thousand Years
Monday 18th June 1990 Stonehouse Parish became Stonehouse Town. The Post office building contains the Town hall offices.
Stonehouse Secondary Modern School opened in King’s Road in 1957. It was a state of the art school offering a wide range of practical subjects.
It later became Maiden Hill School.
A new look High Street - In the summer of 2011 major installation works were carried out on the High Street to convert it to the concept of “shared space”.
This included resurfacing work as well as measures to improve safety and driving conditions for motorists. The scheme transformed a section of Stonehouse High Street into a 'shared space' zone, and was completed in August 2011 before the children returned to school.
A 20 mile per hour zone was enforced complimented by a shared space scheme through the High Street, with the road being raised to the same level as the pavements. Features to improve the look of the area were also added, including trees.
As well as addressing safety concerns in an area with a high accident rate, it met the town council's objective of improving the area for shoppers and visitors. It was delivered with funding from the town council, the county council and local developers."
On the 21st November 1939 one of the Wycliffe teachers was waiting for a bus at 12.30 pm when he saw a wisp of smoke rising from a corner of the chapel roof.
On entering the building he found the heating chamber full of smoke and a joist of the floor above in flames.
By 1-00 pm the roof had collapsed, only the tower and spire were saved.
In 1952 the teachers and boys started to rebuild Wycliffe Chapel. A simple stone laying ceremony on the 16th May1953 was performed and was broadcast on the B.B.C.
Over the next 5 years the staff and pupils worked hard to rebuild the chapel. Stone was used from St Peters church Frocester which had been closed since the war. Wood from Seaview pier in the Isle of Wight was used for the main trusses which would support the roof. Wood from disused barges 100 years old found on the banks of the River Itchen were used for the rafters. Wood from old railway trucks which were made of oak were used for the chairs. The boys assembled them and added their names to brass plates on the back of each chair. The second hand organ was purchased from a church in London which had been bombed.
The Chapel was dedicated by the Bishop of Gloucester on 6th June 1958.
Maidenhill School opened in 1957 and was described as a ‘Palace of Education’. Previously students in Stonehouse had attended Stonehouse County Secondary School near Quietways.
By 2012, it was decided that a refurbishment of the main building should be completed. In February 2014, after 18 months of building work, Maidenhill School's £3.8 million refurbishment was complete.
There has been a massive transformation both inside and out. The old 1950s classrooms have been revamped and the impressive new Learning Resource Centre is situated at the heart of the school. There are attractive spaces for students to socialise both inside and out as well as new conference and meeting rooms. Maidenhill had already benefited from a modern sports hall, fitness and dance suites and a performing arts studio. Now, this has been joined by the new ultra-smart main school building.