Historical Westbury

Buildings of Historic Interest

Westbury Swimming pool

Built in 1887 by William Laverton and opened in 1888 to provide bathing and also washing facilities, with ten individual baths. It was built in celebration of the Golden Jubilee of Queen Victoria and the water was supplied by Bitham spring. During the winter months the pool was covered by a suspended floor to allow for dances and athletic events. Westbury pool is one of the longest serving indoor Victorian swimming pools in the country. A marvel of Victorian design, swimmers find themselves enchanted by the beautiful mosaic ceiling and traditional look of the pool. It was modernised in 1984 with a heated pool which is kept at about one degree higher than most other swimming pools making it a popular choice for babies and the elderly. The remedial relaxation session is a type of hydrotherapy session and especially popular with people who suffer with conditions such as arthritis and they use it to ease pain, relax and as a social gathering. It also has a resident ghost called George. Dimensions – 20m by 6.5m.

The Laverton

A splendid Victorian building built in 1873 in the Venetian style by the celebrated architect William Jarvis Stent, the Laverton building was originally designed as a recreational and cultural facility and it was donated to the town by Abraham Laverton to encourage learning and leisure. It became a school and currently it serves as both offices for the town council, and a bookable community venue run by the Laverton Institute Trust.

Prospect Square

These were almshouse built by Abraham Laverton in 1869 for his mill workers who had been evicted from their homes by his political opponent JL Phipps. Their rivalry led to The Secret Ballot Act 1872. Seven cottages at the top of the Square were reserved as almshouses and this charity continues today with houses by the churchyard.

Westbury House (Westbury Library)

Built by William Open around 1800 in Edward Street for the owners of Angel Mill; John and William Matravers. It was purchased by Abraham Laverton around 1855 and was lived in by his family until 1888. It remained a private house, known as Westbury House, until it was purchased by Wiltshire County Council in 1970 and was converted to its present use as Westbury Library.

The house is on three levels and it is said that on the the third floor a ghost haunts. Apparently a servant girl was thwarted in love and took her own life. It is believed that she killed herself either in the bathroom or in her bedroom.

The Old Town Hall

This is situated in the Market Place and the old square is formed by some of the oldest buildings in Westbury, including the old Town Hall which is a Grade II listed building. It was built by Sir Manasseh Lopes MP as a Market House in 1815; it was subsequently used as a court house, with a lock up below. It became a library in 1947 and was used as this until 1970. It was converted for commercial use in 1972.

Angel Mill

This was completed in 1809 for John Matravers and was named after the adjacent inn. It was one of the first purpose-built steam powered factories in the area. Abraham Laverton was the owner from 1852 and he added to the buildings, including a weaving shed dated 1868. The mill closed in 1969.

Bitham Mill

This is the earliest documented premises for the woollen cloth industry in Westbury. In 1573 it was used as a fulling mill; fulling was the process of cleansing and thickening of cloth by beating and washing. Fulling was the first process in the woollen industry to be mechanised. The factory was built in 1803 and it was extended and converted to steam in 1829. From 1856 it was run together with Angel Mill as A Laverton & Co until it’s closure in 1969.

35 Church Street

This is the principal house of the manor of Westbury Chantry. It is an early 19th century building. part medieval with a late 14th century window. Henry Pinniger established his solicitor’s practice here in 1819. The Precentor of Salisbury Cathedral, who was in charge of the cathedral choir, was lord of the manor, and in a lease in 1824 Henry Pinniger was required to provide accommodation for him and his retinue when holding court in Westbury. Part was a residence called The Chantry.

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