‘Corsham has no match in Wiltshire wealth of good houses, and there are a few of really high merit’, so wrote Sir Nikolaus Pevsner in his book ‘Buildings of England – Wiltshire’.
Corsham, together with Pickwick, Neston and Gastard, now has a population of 13,004 (2011 Census), though during the Second World War the number of people working in the area expanded it to 25,000 plus. The mining of Bath stone still continues, though its heyday was in the years before the First World War when a record 3,500,000 cubic feet of stone was removed from underground in one year alone. Stone quarried and carved in the area graces many fine buildings in Bath and Bristol and also in many other parts of the world.
Corsham became famous during the last war for the huge underground ammunition stores and wartime emergency factories with a combined floor area of 7,000,000 square feet. Since then the Government Nuclear bunker was created, but this was decommissioned in the late 1990’s.
Brunel’s famous Box Tunnel, 3210 yards long, has its eastern portal in the Parish of Corsham. The sun does shine through when rising in the early days of April, but, sadly not on Brunel’s birthday on April 9th, which is a myth!
Buildings of note include Corsham Court, home of the Methuen family and second home of Bath Spa University College. ‘The Grove’ and ‘Ivy House’ are fine examples of 18th century architecture while the Lady Margaret Hungerford Almshouses and Schoolroom date from 1668, a fine Grade 1 building.
Corsham and district is certainly an area to be explored and enjoyed.
Useful local websites
Corsham Town Council
Corsham and Lacock Parish Churches
Corsham Community Area Network
Gazette and Herald
Association of Small Historic Towns and Villages of the UK
The Civic Societies Network