Friday, 15 July 2011

A Day in Atherstone - part two

I'll be the first to admit that, visually, Atherstone's main street, Long Street, is nothing to write home about.
Long Street
Most retail activity  now takes place in two large edge-of-town supermarkets but Long Street seems to be surviving, with rather fewer of its shopping units being taken up by fast-food joints and charity shops than is often the case in towns of this size. Its helped by the fact that the Co-op, which operates the largest supermarket site, also maintains a town centre food store, helping to make Atherstone one of few places where its possible to buy a full range of foodstuffs in the town centre.
There is also a very pleasant market place with a small, twice-weekly market (Tuesday and Friday)
Market Place
The town's main industries were hatting and mining. The hat industry was, according to the Town Council's Town Trail noticeboards, hit hard by the abolition of slavery (slaves working in the fields were apparently provided with hats made in the town!) and the mining was, of course, finished off by Maggie Thatcher.

One aspect of the town that has survived is its unique accent. A few minutes spent sitting in a pub or listening in a shop soon reveals the existence of a  very strong local accent - a sort of cross between Yorkshire and Brummie that definitely sounds as if it belongs to the north of England rather than the midlands.

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