Chapel Street looking east

Chapel Street

Chapel Street in Thatcham has gone by a few different names including East Street and Duck Street. There are a number of places of historic interest along this stretch. Starting from the foreground there is the old cycle shop, which in the 1930’s was owned by Mr Gilbert.  A few doors down is the Wesleyan Methodist Chapel, opened in 1834. There was another Methodist Chapel at Thatcham Newtown. Next door is the old police station, which opened in 1905 and although the building remains it is now used as residential housing. On the south side just before the Wheatsheaf pub was a butchers owned in the 1880’s by Frank Wise, who had previously occupied the New Inn. Further along is the Parish Hall, built in 1907 in no small part due to the efforts of Miss Henry. 

Perhaps suprising to many is there is a Tudor house along this stretch. The house, called Rooftops, is thought to date to 16th century, albeit with a few later alterations. There is a central stack, a fireplace with a breadoven. Further East is the New Inn, more recently called the Prancing Horse, the main building dating to the same period.

As the road changes from Chapel Street to London Road is the Old Bluecoat School. The building was originally built in c.1304 as a wayside chapel and possibly called St. Thomas’ Chapel. In 1707 it became established as a school when Lady Frances Winchcombe gave instruction for conversion to a school for 30 poor boys of Thatcham, Bucklebury and Little Shefford. The school was known as “Winchcombe’s Charity School” but like so many other charity schools where the children wore blue uniforms eventually became known as the Bluecoat School. It is this building that gave the road its name, the road to the Chapel, i.e. Chapel Street.