The Culver Street Mosaic

By kind permission of Wiltshire Heritage Museum

Our latest community mosaic is going to be all about the history of Culver Street – a street which is almost unrecognisable following the building of the ring road.

An aerial view

In the photo above you can see Culver Street in the foreground, running between the two rows of houses. In the middle of the photo is the Invicta Leatherworks, later CB Daniels Ltd, with its large chimney. The next row of houses behind the leatherworks are on Rampart Road. All of these buildings were demolished to make way for the ring road. The only houses remaining are those right at the top of the picture, which are still standing on Rampart Road.

Mosaic design

We are going to be making the Culver Street mosaic with people living in Wiltshire Council Sheltered Housing, many of them currently living in Graham House on Culver Street. At our  meeting about the mosaic design, we looked at old photographs and listened to oral history clips from those who remember life on the street. These included Margy Bodger talking about working at the Leatherworks (or “the skin factory” as she called it) and having to carefully match lilac coloured lizard skins to make accessories for the Queen Mother. Margy also told us about growing up in the family home where her grandfather was a poutlerer: “Yes …in 40 Culver Street, we done all the poultry there…and all the wild game and that, and the shooting season you know. And we used to do all that at home. All you could see was feathers, feathers…lots of feathers!”.

We also looked through Arthur Maidment’s fascinating book “I Remember I Remember – The Story of my Boyhood in Salisbury”. Arthur describes a huge cellar which used to run under four houses (numbers 48-52) and was leased in the 1920s to The Haunch of Venison pub. Huge barrels of beer were transported from Milford Goods Yard and stored in the cellar to be used to fill bottles. On one occasion a huge barrel slipped and cracked on the pavement  and Culver Street’s residents used any receptacle to hand (including a chamber pot!) to get some free beer.

All of these things and more will be featured in the mosaic design, currently being worked on by our mosaic artist Joanna Dewfall.

You can read more about Culver Street here and about the leatherworks here

Many thanks to our Funders

Thanks to Wiltshire Council, Salisbury City Council and Salisbury and Stonehenge Tours who have funded this mosaic.

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