High Street Culture
Find out what’s coming up in our four-year programme of cultural activity across England's High Streets Heritage Action Zones, continuing until 2024.
Keynsham is a modest medieval market town between Bristol and Bath. It grew rapidly in the 19th century with the arrival of the railway and Fry's (later Cadbury's) Chocolate Factory.
Keynsham was dominated by the Augustinian Abbey founded in 1166, and flourished alongside it. It was granted a Royal Charter for a market in 1307 and remained a small settlement until the 19th century.
The High Street is a typically wide market street dating from the 13th and 14th centuries, characterised by two- and three-storey shops with office or residential occupation above. Upper High Street has the best preserved grouping of older and attractive 19th century buildings featuring local blue lias stone.
A significant number of people live within walking distance of Keynsham town centre, but few of them use it. When they do, they don’t stay long or spend much. The town centre has become functional rather than a place to spend time in and enjoy, and the poor condition of its buildings and public spaces reinforce this impression.
Bath & North East Somerset Council have been awarded up to £1.1m for Keynsham’s High Street Heritage Action Zone. This will fund a public realm enhancement scheme, tackling the roads, pavements and public areas in the High Street and Temple Street. Grants will also be available to repair key buildings and enhance historic shopfronts to improve the look of the retail environment. Alongside these environmental improvements, local partners will work together to produce a programme of cultural activities to bring people into Keynsham and celebrate its distinctive heritage.
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