Thame Local History
The Mid 19th Century Period (1851 - 1870)
The years between 1851 and around 1865 are known by historians as a
Golden Age of High Farming in England.
This was also a time when Britain was known as 'The Workshop of the World'.
Rural towns like Thame supplied food to a growing industrial population. In turn, local agriculture and town life in general began to benefit from increased mechanisation and innovation.
Gaslight, an evocative symbol of the Victorian age, began to illuminate Thame's streets at night from around 1851, the year of the Great Exhibition.
The Thame Gas Works in Wellington Street, now demolished, opened in 1851, burning coal to produce gas for the town's lights.
By compulsory Act of Parliament, Thame acquired its own County Police Station in 1854 and its own County Court in 1861.
Thame Agricultural Society began in 1855, organising an annual ploughing match. This developed to become the Thame Show.
To report on these and other events, the Thame Gazette started in 1856.
A number of local trade directories date from this period, giving us a view of the trades being carried out in Thame.
Combined with the population census returns for 1851 and 1861, these directories provide an insight into prosperous mid-nineteenth century town life at Thame.
The crowning glory of these years of progress and prosperity was without doubt the coming of the railway to Thame in 1858, and its extentsion to Oxford in 1864.
Thame Court House
The Research Group