Olney High Street - Heritage Trail

This trail presents a 'light' introduction to the history of Olney High Street.

Olney High Street - Heritage Trail

Olney, England MK46, United Kingdom

Created By: ODHS

Tour Information

The wide High Street stretching from the Market Place in the south to the Knoll at its north end is arguably the major feature that makes Olney so attractive and a very desirable place to live. The width is complemented by the various styles of attractive houses intermingled with small stone cottages and traditional business premises. There are many features and stories upon which to comment, some of which are included in this short High Street Trail.

The duration of the trail is around 30 to 45 minutes.

Tour Map

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What You'll See on the Tour

The Wide High Street

The Start Point is the Market Place and in particular on the pavement outside 'Westlands' /'The Cherry Tree Restaurant'. This position provides a good general view of the wide High Street. Start Point: 'Westlands' / The Cherry Tree Restau... Read more
The Two Brewers Inn & Clifton House

The Two Brewers Inn The Two Brewers Pub 1953 ERII Coronation Year The Two Brewers Inn appears to have spent most of its time as two separate properties. A closer look at the ground floor reveals an archway between the two front entra... Read more
The United Reformed Church

The United Reformed Church is situated next to the Carlton Club and set back a little from the High Street. The original Independent Chapel built in 1762 In 1762 the Independent Chapel was built on the site. Just above the door  is an ova... Read more
The Lace Factory

‘Topping out’ ceremony of the Lace Factory  The Lace Factory is the last example of a commercial attempt locally to keep the lace industry viable, in spite of the changing economic climate and the vagaries of fashion. It was built by a... Read more
C T Wilson & Son Ltd

Wilson’s Hardware Store  Gerald Wilson’s ironmongers shop at No.84 High Street is perhaps the only example in the town of a retail business that has consistently grown and developed since it moved into Olney High Street in the 1970s. A... Read more
The Old Doctor's Surgery

No. 100 High Street Number 100 High Street was the home of the Grindon family, members of which served the town as doctors for at least four generations. Hannah Wilson, who was Mrs Unwin’s niece, figures in the ledgers of the Doctor Grind... Read more
Lord's Malting

John Lord is generally acknowledged to have developed the first extensive brewing business in Olney. John Lord was presumed to be born in Weston Underwood, date of birth unknown. Records can support that some ‘Lords’ lived in Weston Un... Read more
Brock's Garage & Farmyards

Brock's Garage, a popular garage, closed only recently.  Brock's was one of three garages in the town that sold petrol using gantries that swung out over the pavement. The other two garages were Sowman's on the South side of the Market Pla... Read more
The Knoll

The Knoll c.1900 Past local historians have suggested that in the northerly direction well beyond the Knoll a castle, or a monastery of sorts, stood on the Whirly Pits side of Yardley Road. However, with a little more certainty, before the ... Read more
The Olney Centre

The Olney Centre was, unsurprisingly, a former school which, during its existence from the 1920s to the 1970s, went through a series of names, such as Olney Council School, Junior School and Primary School. This school was the only 'council... Read more
Cobbs Garden (& 'The Bakehouse')

Through the archway was Cobbs Garden, one of the best known 'courts' of tenement buildings in the town,  comprising some ten or more small cottages often housing large families (see image). The houses were demolished in the 1960s and have ... Read more
Olney's 'New Hall' & 'Electric Cinema'

( Extracted from a letter written in the early 1990’s by Percy Wright on the subject of Olney's 'Electric Cinema'.  Read Percy's full account of Olney's cinema on this website.) Senior Citizens Dinner in the New Hall Mr Lewis Thompson, ... Read more
Orchard House - Nos 67 & 69 High Street 

Recent photograph of Orchard House Orchard House was converted from two eighteenth century houses in 1904 for Joseph William Mann; the architect was Alexander Ellis Anderson. J W Mann was at that time Olney's largest employer, having moved ... Read more
No 15 (Olney House) & 15A High Street 

No 15 Olney House and 15A are listed as Grade II, C18 altered, stone and roughcast, slate roof of modern Mansard form with three flat topped dormer sash windows. This large and imposing building was separated into two properties in the 1950... Read more
 No 9 High Street 

This listed Grade II C18 building has probably spent a good deal of its life as a successful grocery store.  The 1891 Census has Thomas T Coles living at No 9, as a grocer and wine merchant, with his wife and family. As both Thomas's fathe... Read more
Spring Lane 

Spring Lane was extremely narrow before No 3 High Street - previously Clark's butchers shop and then Markham's antique shop - was demolished and Spring Lane widened in the 1950s. It was just about wide enough for the passage of one horse an... Read more


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