I HAD an interesting conversation last week about the Coach and Horses pub which, for a few years, has stood empty and unloved.

This once thriving pub is in Winchester Street – a street which began life in the 13th century when traders were lured from all over the south with building plots to let at one shilling a year.

In those days it was known as Wyneman Street and did not acquire its present name until 300 years later when the road to Winchester via Milford and Clarendon was rerouted.

As its original name suggests many of the traders in the street would have been wine merchants but, over the centuries, they diversified and, at one time, blacksmiths became common.

In the 18th century Winchester Street continued to thrive – so much so that many of the shopkeepers could afford to build new premises, which have lasted to the present day.

They could also find their way about in the dark more easily from 1727 because, in celebration of George II’s coronation, one of Salisbury’s MPs presented them with the city’s first street lamps.

The next noteworthy event took place in 1771 when the gate at the top of the street was demolished. This was one of only two gates in Salisbury’s defence system known as “the rampart”.

One set of people pleased when the gate was removed were probably the coach drivers. They drove an estimated 52 coaches a week down the street on the way to one of the coaching inns in the city and the narrow gate must have been quite an obstacle.

But they had to wait until 1837 before an open water channel in Winchester Street was bricked over and soon after railways began to kill off their trade.

The building of the inner relief road marked the end of an era for the street as a main route out of the city to London and in one fell swoop it was transformed into a cul-de-sac.


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