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UK > Somerset > Street

Street is in Somerset.

Street is a village and civil parish in the county of Somerset, England. It is situated on a dry spot in the Somerset Levels, at the end of the Polden Hills, 2 miles (3.2 km) south-west of Glastonbury. The 2001 census records the village as having a population of 11,066. Its name comes from a 12th century causeway from Glastonbury which was built to transport local Blue Lias stone from what is now Street to rebuild Glastonbury Abbey, although it had previously been known as Lantokay and Lega.

There is evidence of Roman occupation. Much of the history of the village is dominated by Glastonbury Abbey until the Dissolution of the Monasteries. The Society of Friends had become established there by the mid 17th century. One Quaker family, the Clarks, started a business in sheepskin rugs, woollen slippers and, later, boots and shoes. This became C&J Clark which still has its headquarters in Street, but shoes are no longer manufactured there. Instead, in 1993, redundant factory buildings were converted to form Clarks Village, the first purpose-built factory outlet in the United Kingdom. The Shoe Museum provides information about the history of Clarks and footwear manufacture in general. The Clark family mansion and its estate at the edge of the village are now owned by Millfield School, an independent co-educational boarding. Street is also home to Crispin School and Strode College.

To the north of Street is the River Brue, which marks the boundary with Glastonbury. South of Street are the Walton and Ivythorn Hills and East Polden Grasslands biological Sites of Special Scientific Interest. Street has two public swimming pools, one indoor which is part of the Strode complex, and the outdoor lido, Greenbank. Strode Theatre provides a venue for films, exhibitions and live performances. The Anglican Parish Church of The Holy Trinity dates from the 14th century and has been designated by English Heritage as a Grade I listed building.

The Society of Friends established itself here in the mid 17th century, and among the close-knit group of Quaker families were the Clarks: Cyrus started a business in sheepskin rugs, later joined by his brother James, who introduced the production of woollen slippers and, later, boots and shoes. Under James's son, William, the business flourished, but most of the profits were ploughed back into employee welfare, housing and education.

C&J Clark still has its headquarters in Street, behind a frontage which includes the clock tower and water tower, but shoes are no longer manufactured there. Instead, in 1993, redundant factory buildings were converted to form Clarks Village, the first purpose-built factory outlet in the United Kingdom. Despite strong concerns being voiced by local retailers at the time, the retail outlets have not led to a demise of the existing shops. The Shoe Museum provides information about the history of Clarks and footwear manufacture in general, and a selection of shop display showcards from the 1930s, 1950s and 1960s, and television advertisements.

The Clark family mansion and its estate at the edge of the village are now owned by Millfield School. The company, through the Society of Friends, also had its own small sanatorium and convalescent home on Ivythorne Hill overlooking the town. In 1931, this chalet style building was leased to the Youth Hostel Association and became the first youth hostel in Somerset. It is still used for this purpose.

 

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Somerset Facts and Population

Status: Ceremonial & (smaller) Non-metropolitan county
Region: South West England
Area: 4,171 sq. km
Admin HQ: Taunton
ISO 3166-2: GB-SOM
ONS code: 40
NUTS 3: UKK23
Population: 884,400 (2005 est.)
Council: Somerset County Council

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