Ten thought-provoking facts about Thornbury, South Gloucestershire to discover how Thornburian you are
You may have lived in Thornbury all your life and think you know the place inside out.
Well, we’ll see about that!
We’ve compiled a list of ten thought-provoking facts about Thornbury for you to test yourself on.
Anyone who knows all ten of these can proudly call themselves a true Thornburian.
Let us know how you get on by tweeting your score @glosgazette.
1) Home of Ribena inventor
Thornbury is home of Ribena inventor Frank Armstrong and a local community hub is named after the man himself.
Armstrong Hall was built in the 1970s with the help of local philanthropist Armstrong – who incidentally invented the dilutable juice.
Armstrong Hall was opened officially on September 8, 1972 and named in Armstrong’s honour after he made a donation of £13,000 towards the cost of furnishing the building as it neared completion.
Armstrong appears to have been the brains behind the Bristol-based company that produced Ribena. He was a magistrate in Thornbury for 27 years before joining his father in the family business H.W. Carter and Co. in Bristol. Carters dealt in mineral water and lemon cordials.
Armstrong was chairman by the 1930s at a time when Britain's dairy farmers were producing large quantities of cheap milk.
He invented Ribena in a bid to market the surplus milk by developing fruit cordials for milkshakes from it.
The name was supposedly suggested by Armstrong's neighbourhood pharmacist and derived from the Latin for blackcurrant – Ribes nigrum – Ribena.
Apparently Armstrong liked its doctor's prescription-sounding name as that implied it was healthy!
2) Making it on the big screen
The Castle School in Thornbury was used to film an episode of popular medical drama Casualty in 2009. The town made its on-screen debut when the programme was broadcast on May 2 the same year.
3) Best place to live
There is no place like home – especially in Thornbury which was voted the fourth best town to live in the entire country by the Sunday Times last year.
Thornbury was described as "a little Nirvana" and an "attractive small town" by the national newspaper, which named it as one of the top four spots in Britain.
The broadsheet selected it out of 101 shortlisted locations, having taken a range of factors into consideration including transport links, the quality of schools, natural beauty, low crime rate, property prices, cultural life and unemployment figures.
Read the full story here: http://www.gazetteseries.co.uk/news/10305512.Thornbury_fourth_best_place_to_live_in_the_UK/
4) It boasts the oldest Tudor Castle in England
Nowadays it’s a hotel but Thornbury Castle was built in 1511 for the third Duke of Buckingham, Edward Stafford.
The property boasts the oldest Tudor gardens in England as well as a 500-year-old vineyard inside the castle walls, which still produces Thornbury wine.
On King Henry VIII's orders, the Duke was beheaded in 1521 for treason so he never saw the completed building. Although the building fell into disrepair during the Civil War, it was renovated in 1824.
And if you want to follow in the footsteps of King Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn, you can stay in the "Duke's bedchamber".
5) The holy grail of interchange design in the UK
The first four-level stack interchange was opened just over the road from Thornbury at Almondsbury in 1966.
The interchange between the M4 and M5 was the first of its kind.
By 2009, two further four stack interchanges had been opened: one at the M4/M25 interchange near Heathrow and the other where the M23 meets the M25 south of London.
6) Thornbury Arts Festival
Thornburians are already buzzing with excitement about this festival – and it’s still three months away!
For many in the town the ten-day event is the highlight of the social calendar.
This year all the action happens from May 9 to 18.
The festival encourages the community to be active in the arts. Activities include young people devising their own shows, workshops from designers and local artists and school visits from writers and musicians.
The festival includes bands, soloists and performances from local school and Eisteddfod performers, concerts for the elderly in their own residential accommodation and exhibitions of work by local artists in their own studios and in shops and cafes around the town.
For a flavour of what last year’s festival entailed click here: http://www.gazetteseries.co.uk/news/10358841.Thornbury_Arts_Festival__full_programme_of_events/
7) Old railway line
Although the station is no more, the old railway line is now a footpath in the town.
The footpath was constructed in the 1990s to support new housing and industrial developments, previously it was grassed over and neglected.
Starting from the industrial estates it follows the route of the streets of Streamleaze and Avon Way ending near a roundabout at the top of Avon Way.
8) Coat of arms and motto
Thornbury's coat of arms combines the arms of four families important in the town's history: the Attwells, the Howards, the Clares and the Staffords.
John Attwells left £500 in his will for the establishment of the Free School which merged with the grammar school in 1879. The Attwells coat of arms was later adopted as the badge for the grammar school, nowadays Marlwood School.
The other three families held the manor at Thornbury over several centuries.
It has the motto Decus Sabrinae Vallis, which is Latin for "Jewel of the Severn Vale”.
9) Heritage trail
This was created by the Thornbury and District Heritage Trust as a Millennium project.
The heritage trail is a walk encompassing the town's historic buildings and offers information signs about places of interest.
There are 40 way-markers indicating the route, which starts outside the town hall.
10) Town pump
The town pump is on a small island at the bottom of High Street. It has a sign saying "To Gloucester" with a pointing hand overhead.
The original water pump was removed in 1924 after its declaration as a road hazard by the council.
In 1984 a new one was built. In 2002 it was temporarily painted gold to celebrate the Golden Jubilee.
The pump is usually decorated with flowers, and there are often birthday greetings notices placed on the pump.
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