Station Road & Park Road

Faringdon Streets ParkPark Road was originally a no-through road called Butts Road or Butt’s Lane that ended at the junction with Sandhill Lane. With the advent of the railway in 1864 it was renamed Station Road as far as the station and Butts Road continued thereafter. It was probably called this because of archery butts erected for practising the art of the bowman, the earliest reference to this name was in 1551. The name Park Road was in use by the 1950s. The station closed in 1963 and the only part of Station Road now remaining is the very short section from the Marlborough Street/ Gravel Walk crossroads up to The Swan public house on the corner with Bromsgrove. Park Road now forms a major route off the A420 bypass into and through Faringdon.

Faringdon Map 1910
Faringdon in 1910. Reproduced with the permission of the National Library of Scotland:

The map of 1910 shows an unnamed single-track road continuing from the end of Butts Road at Sandhill Lane to join up with a footpath extending from Southampton Street, at Oriel Cottages and a bathing pond. The track then turns sharply south to Wicklesome Farm. When the A420 bypass was built in 1979 this track was upgraded and extended along the path of the old railway line to join up with the bypass. The short section of track that was cut off by the bypass still exists as a public footpath to Wicklesome Farm on which there remains evidence of earlier tarmacking.

A turning off Park Road called Butts Close was renamed Butts Road as it now leads into what in 1972 became the Marines Drive and Townsend Road housing estate.

See Faringdon Streets for an indexed list of all streets in Faringdon.

A Tour of Station Road in the 1900s

Station Road C1988Station Road C1992

c1988 & 1992/3. Looking from the top of Marlborough Street. This section up to The Swan public house, the tall building on its own in the background, is still called Station Road. Turners Fishing Tackle is on the right, now VIP Hair & Beauty Studio, and previously Watts (greengrocer), then Westhall (baker). Next door is the new purpose-built Faringdon Fire Station with its practice tower being built, after it moved from a temporary location in Marlborough Street in 1961. On this site in the 1890’s there were extra classrooms for the infant school (based in the Lechlade Road), which were later sold to a corn merchant and then became a Coop Hall. Beyond are 5 terraced cottages (shown below). On the opposite side of the road used to be Absolum (draper) and before that a coal yard.

Station Road C1994Station Road C19951994/5. Closer views of the terraced cottages beyond Faringdon Fire Station with The Swan in the background.

Boffin Butchers C1925c1925 Somewhere on Station Road was Boffin’s butcher shop. Standing outside are Thomas Boffin and Lovell Drawbridge. Later the site was redeveloped and the shop moved next to the White Hart pub on Gravel Walk. Then further redevelopment in 1977 moved them on to London Street.

Christopher Square C1900c1900. Looking back down Station Road from the Swan Inn on the right is Christopher Square and the road into Bromsgrove. The Baptist Chapel is on the far side of the Square. The next tall building to the left that looks like part of the church has since been demolished.

Bromsgrove 19531953. Turning around and looking towards Christopher Square from Bromsgrove. The Swan Inn is dead ahead. The Baptist Chapel is on the right. A car can be seen passing along Station Road in front of Eagle Motors car repair workshop and stores. This used to be Clare’s Coaches. Tommy Clare started up with an ex-Army lorry at the end of WWI doing haulage and later on branched out into coach travel. The buildings have been demolished and a road put through called Eagles to a new housing estate. The house to the right of the garage, with the two upper windows visible, was Elliott’s sweet shop. It has also been demolished and made into a small public garden.

A Tour of Park Road in the 1900s

Park Road Eagles 19881988. Back on Station Road at the start of Park Road. The white wall on the left is part of the Swan pub, once a hotel. Opposite is a road simply called Eagles, a new residential estate. The name derives from Eagle Coaches that used to occupy this whole area. The grass covered corner was occupied by the Eagle Motors car repair workshop and stores, shown in the previous photo. They also had a car-hire service and a fleet of coaches.The nearest corner, now a small public garden used to be Elliott’s sweet shop.

Park Road Old Station 19881988. Further up what is now Park Road is the old Railway Station, which had closed in 1963. For a while, the old waiting room then became an undertaker’s ‘Chapel of Rest’. Shown here, the area was occupied by Russel Spinage (funeral director) & Michael Devitt (builders & decorators). During the 1990s it became Scats (farmers’ wholesale store) and now it is The Old Station Nursery for pre-school children. Further up the left side of the road are numerous industrial buildings that sprung up on the site of the old railway line.

Marlborough Close Gardens 19881988. The next junctions on the right side of Park Road are Marlborough Close and Marlborough Gardens. The latter leads up to the housing estate on Folly View Road. Out of view on the left side of Park Road here is now the new Tesco Supermarket.

Park Road Ind Est 2 1988 1988. Further up Park Road on the left is Old Sawmills Road, named after the timber sawmill that was there. It was owned by Henry ‘Harry’ Hodgkins for a few years in the 1890s then was purchased by Mr Elliott who traded under D.J. Elliott & Sons, Steam Saw Mills, Butts Road. The mills were again sold, this time to Montague L. Meyer & Sons during WWII, but still traded under the Elliott name. Mr Elliott, senior, lived in the house called Hiawatha, now Livingstone House, in Coxwell Road. His family made an important contribution to life in Faringdon, his son, Merle Elliott, who later emigrated to Canada, built the Rialto Cinema in Gloucester Street. Miss Eileen Elliott ran Hignell’s sweet shop in London Street. There was also a small sweet shop run by the family on the corner of Eagles, now the open garden.

The sawmill was Faringdon’s biggest employer. It finally closed in 1961 when the Express Dairy next door purchased the premises (more below). The whole area has since undergone redevelopment twice. On the left here in 1988 is CP Tyres & Batteries, which was later demolished and became Second-2-None (car repairs). Cameo Glass, on the other corner has also been rebuilt and is now Active Plumbing Supplies. Cameo Glass moved to larger premises up Pioneer Road (the next turning on the left). The building marked Challow next door is now Screwfix.

Park Road Dairy 1966Park Road Aerial View

1966. The Express Dairy in Park Road opposite the turning into Marlborough Gardens. There is a milk churn lorry at the milk bay having just collected milk from the local farms. The chimney was 120 feet high and was a prominent feature in Faringdon. Underneath the chimney was a ship’s boiler that came from Liverpool to what was then the Buscot Dairy before it was purchased by the Express Dairy, who enlarged and modernised it. Next door was D.J.Elliot & Sons Sawmills, Mr Elliott bought the boiler from the dairy and the intervening walls were demolished to enable the boiler to be rolled into its new position. To supply the steam for the mill, the boiler consumed waste wood and sawdust plus a truck-load of coal per week. In the later 1950s, the boiler failed an inspection test. It was cut up for scrap and the associated steam engine was dismantled and sold to a lace factory in Nottingham. The site was later taken over by the White Horse Dairy, now all demolished and occupied by the Tesco’s Supermarket.

Butts Road 1988Royal Marine Camp

1988 & c1950s. A little further up the road, the corner with the present day Butts Road is shown on the right. The building with a blue-grey frontage in the distance across the road on the left is Faringdon Upholstery. This new Butts Road was previously known as Butts Close as it was originally a short ‘cul-de-sac’ with just four houses (older photo). During WWII it lead into a Royal Marines Camp, which later became an Agricultural Training Camp. In 1952, one of the Nissen Huts, which was used as a cinema and theatre during the war and later just for agricultural storage was converted back into a theatre by Faringdon Dramatic Society. In 1972 there was also a community of 40 families living here in what was called Sandshill Caravan Park, but all was demolished to make way for a new housing estate – Marines Drive and Town End Road, which leads off from the end of the close now renamed Butts Road.

Park Road Ind Estate C19881988. Turning around at the corner with Butts Road and looking back into town, the road on the right is Pioneer Road. On the corner is Cameo Glass again, now Active Plumbing Supplies. On the other corner out of sight is now Travis Perkins. The next road down on the right is Old Sawmills Road again and you can just see CP Tyres & Batteries, now Second-2-None (car repairs).

Park Road Ind Est 1 1988 Park Road Ind Estate C1980s

1988. Continuing up Park Road and arriving at Faringdon Upholstery on the left. It was there for many years and has recently been converted into another motor repair garage. The second photo is looking back towards town again. On the right is Faringdon Upholstery, then A.P. Heating, and Travis Perkins (timber & building supplies), which is at the corner with Pioneer Road. Cameo Glass can just be seen on the opposite corner.

Park Road Sandhill LanePumping Station 2020

1980s & 2020. Further up Park Road on the right is an old pumping station, which is situated on the corner with Sandhill Lane, just visible to the left. This lane leads to Rogers Concrete and before the bypass to Wicklesham Quarry. It then becomes a public footpath via Cole’s Pits to the village of Fernham. The pumping station was stated as ‘New’ on a map of 1910 and appears in the 1980s to still be occupied by the Thames Water Authority (so before nationalisation in 1989). It is now derelict and very overgrown.The presumably ‘old’ pumping station was further up at the end of Sandhill Lane just past Rogers Concrete. What was originally called Butts Road more or less ended here

Park Road Entrance 20012001. Looking back into town a little further up Park Road. The low building just beyond the new ‘town wall’ (officially opened 1997) is the old pumping station and just in front is the turning to Sandhill Lane (shown above). This section from here up to the Oriel Cottages and beyond was originally an unnamed single-track dirt road to Oriel Cottages and a bathing pond. The track had to be upgraded to join with the new bypass opened in 1979.

Oriel Gardens 20202020. In the fields on the right just past Sandhill Lane, work is starting on a new housing estate called Oriel Gardens.

Park Road 19531953. A winter view looking back towards the Folly taken from either here at the end of the old Park Road or possibly up Sandhill Lane. One or two houses can be seen on the Stanford Road, otherwise there was nothing at this time to obstruct the view apart from a few trees.

Volunteer Way Site 1999Health Centre Site 2001Volunteer Way Health Centre 2020

1999. Continuing up the road on the left, work started on a new Volunteer Way housing estate. 2001. The second photo shows some of the new houses and the land being cleared for the new health centre. 2020. The last photo shows Volunteer Way and The White Horse Health Centre now well established.

Oriel Cottages1999. About 50m up the road on the right is Oriel Cottages, situated on what was originally an unnamed single-track road leading to Wicklesome Farm. It remains now as part of a public footpath through the farm to the villages of Shellingford and Fernham. The main road shown here is where the railway line used to be (see below). From here on, a brand new road was carved along the route of the old railway line to join up with the new bypass opened in 1979.

Opposite the cottages is a turning into Palmer Road, which leads to another new housing estate and to the Folly Country Park.

Oriel Cottages 19531953. This older photo shows the railway line, which was still in use but only for freight at that time. The footpath in the foreground is coming across open fields from the end of Southampton Street. It goes through a gate across the railway line to two gates on the other side where it splits into two tracks (gravelled or tarmacked?). One goes straight on past the front of Oriel Cottages to Wicklesome Farm and the other goes to the right until it reaches the end of Park Road. This can be seen more clearly at the bottom of the map from 1910 above.

Bathing Pool Faringdon Swimming Baths. The ‘bathing pond’ shown on the map of 1910 above, was situated on the opposite side of the railway line to Oriel Cottages. The pond was fed by a brook that first appears now as a mostly dry ditch running along the left-hand side of Park Road. It was unheated, open to the elements and said to be occupied by newts and frogs. Nevertheless many learned to swim here and school children were taken by classes to the pool, no doubt marched in convoy along the footpath extending across the fields from the end of Southampton Street. The four ladies in this photo of the pool are named on the back as D. Bowerman, E. Fletcher, E. Fletcher, and L. Fletcher. Reference: The Changing Faces of Faringdon and Surrounding Villages – Bk 1 p83. By Rosemary Church, Jim Brown, Millie Bryan and Beryl Newman. Robert Boyd Publications.

Unfortunately the date of the photo is unknown and it does not seem to appear in the photo of the Oriel Cottages from 1953 shown above. If still there, it would have been to the left of the footpath, probably just off photo. According to the local paper in March 1972 there were open fields leading down to a marshy area before the former railway level-crossing but otherwise no mention of a bathing pool. The paper also states that the tracks beyond the railway were metalled (tarmacked) at this time.

The area has since been concreted over by an industrial development at the corner of Palmer Road. However, the brook does reappear from underneath the concrete, flowing quite steadily, swinging around the back of the new Aldi supermarket, under the A420 bypass, and onwards through Shellingford to join the River Ock.

1Park Road Garage Site 1987987. A little further up the road work is being started on the new petrol station that is being moved from its previous location on Coxwell Road (the old A420).

Park Road A420 JunctionLate 1980s. Looking back into town at the junction of Park Road with the A420 bypass (opened 1979) before the roundabout was added in 1992. Oriel Cottages, where the road once ended, can be seen in the distance across the field on the left. The petrol station on the right was moved from its previous location on Coxwell Road (the old A420) in the late 1980s (before 1991). The open field on the right was developed in the late 2010s and is now a new shopping area occupied by Waitrose and Aldi Supermarkets, and a Costa drive-in cafe.

Park Road A420 Roundabout 19921992. The A420 bypass looking towards Swindon, with the new roundabout being constructed at the junction with Park Road.

Researched by Ian Lee, December 2019.