Halstead highstreet heroes

PUBLISHED: 15:08 12 April 2010 | UPDATED: 17:02 20 February 2013

Christine Dunmow Just Bliss

Christine Dunmow Just Bliss

Famous for iconic industries of the past, Halstead has a vibrant and historic town centre, as well as big plans for the future. Essex Life meets some of its High Street heroes <br/><br/>Photography by Paula Davies

SITUATED in the Colne Valley, Halstead is one of our countys most attractive towns with the added benefit of being surrounded
by unspoilt countryside.

It was first granted a market charter by Henry III in 1251 and almost eight centuries later the weekly market, which is held on Market Hill every Friday and Saturday, continues to draw in hundreds of visitors.

During this time, the town has had a strong connection with the textile industry. From the mid-1400s the town became famous for the making of Halstead cloth and in the 19th century it was known for Samuel Courtaulds silk. Samuel Courtauld acquired Townsford Mill in 1825 and used the site to produce high quality silk yarn. The royal seal of approval came in 1861 when Queen Victoria wore one of the companys crepe mourning gowns following Prince Alberts death. Courtauld Textiles was one of the main employers in the area until 1982.

Tortoise stoves is another name synonymous with Halstead after they were invented in the town in 1870 by Charles Portway. The Portway family continued to produce the stoves in Halstead until only a few years ago.

Today the town is home to around 30 pubs and bars, and more than 100 shops including a Post Office, a butchers, craft and fashion stores and a book shop. A varied assortment of individual shops gives the town centre a unique feel. Plans are also progressing for the development of five acres of land to the east of Halsteads High Street which will help to regenerate the economic centre of Halstead, without altering the character of the historic High Street.

There is a variety of local attractions including a walk along the banks of the River Colne, the beauty of Trinity Streets gardens, the history of St Andrews Church and the striking nature of the towns architecture which ranges from Georgian buildings in the High Street to the Tudor Bull Hotel in Bridge Street.

A varied assortment of individual shops gives Halstead town centre a unique feel

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