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Atherstone Yard Photographs - By Celia Parton

In the 18th century Atherstone’s prosperity increased due mainly to the hatting industry and so the population also increased.  More housing was needed to accommodate the people coming in to work at the hat factories.  At the time Atherstone was bound by common land and so the only land available on which to build new houses was the gardens or ”back yards” behind the buildings fronting on to Long Street. The yards were mostly named after their owners, shops, businesses or factories.  About a quarter were known by the name of the pub at the entrance.

Fortunately this series of photographs of the yards, taken c1910, still exists.  Nobody knows exactly when they were taken or by whom.  One likely theory is that they were taken by or on behalf of Dr Herring who, in 1909, was appointed Medical Officer of Health for Atherstone Rural District Council. He became increasingly concerned about the overcrowded and unhealthy conditions in which his patients lived.  He campaigned for the building of new houses and for the old overcrowded yards to be demolished. Unfortunately this was a slow process that came to a full stop by the advent of the First World War.  Eventually demolition of the yards began in the 1920s and continued in the 1930s when the Second World War intervened. However, Dr Herring died in 1918 and so did not live to see it.  The last yard to be demolished was Garden Row in the 1960s, which made way for the building of the Memorial Hall, swimming baths and library.

Rams Yard
Rams Yard
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Rumseys Yard
Rumseys Yard
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Spencers Yard
Spencers Yard
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Spencers Yard
Spencers Yard
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Swan With Two Necks
Swan With Two N...
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Vero's Terrace
Vero's Terrace
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Vero's Yard
Vero's Yard
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White Lion Yard
White Lion Yard
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woods Yard
woods Yard
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Willdays Terrace (Long Street End)
Willdays Terrac...
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Willdays Terrace (Station Street End)
Willdays Terrac...
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