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Renaissance of

By Stroud Life  |  Posted: January 23, 2013

  • A revived Nelson Street with shopfronts filled by an exciting and innovative array of businesses.

  • The same view from 12 months ago with four empty shops in a row.

  • John Marjoram is delighted to see the renaissance of Nelson Street.

  • A view up Nelson Street, the 'retail centre' of Stroud, in Victorian times.

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WHAT a difference a year makes. In just 12 months Stroud's Nelson Street has transformed.

In January 2012, Stroud Life reported concerns about empty shops in the road which is just off the town centre.

But a year later Nelson Street is thriving, with successful new businesses opening.

The Fishy Chipper, Number 23 Bar and Bistro, Black Book Cafe and Stroud Yoga Space have all opened their doors in recent months.

Now you can nip up there for a bag of chips, a good book and a nice coffee at lunchtime and get a gift for a loved one or a unique piece of designer glassware or panoramic landscape image for your home.

Then, in the evening, you could take a session of relaxing yoga before enjoying fine dining followed by a pint in front of the welcoming pub fire.

And let's not forget you can get a tattoo while on your way to pay your paper bill.

"It's really turned around and, hopefully, 2013 will be a great year for Nelson Street," said Ron Cree of R&R Books, which has been trading in the road for 11 years.

It was Stroud's town and district councillor John Marjoram who voiced concern a year ago.

At that time there were four empty shops in a row following the closure of All Creatures Great and Small pet shop, Chickenland takeaway, Findley's cafe and a gift shop.

Now former town mayor Coun Marjoram says he's delighted with the number of new enterprises in Nelson Street.

"It's pleasing to see and the new yoga centre is a well designed shopfront," he said.

"Number 23 looks like it's doing well and the Black Book Cafe is great because you can see it from the High Street and it encourages people up to Nelson Street."

He added: "It's encouraging, especially against the current economic climate and I wish the traders well for 2013."

Stroud Yoga Space is one of the new businesses which opened its doors in 2012. Run by Rachel Mellish it opened following a major transformation of the former pet shop.

"The idea of the studio was to bring different types of yoga together under one roof," she explained.

Since opening just a couple of months ago she now has classes running all day, seven days a week.

Rachel said: "Nelson Street is a great base. It's not right in the middle of town but it's still very central."

Alex Jamieson opened Number 23 Bar and Bistro last April and business has grown every month, she said.

"We're offering diners and drinkers something different and something that people want.

"Among other events, Tuesday is paella night at No 23 and every Tuesday we're fully booked and sell out."

The bistro offers a traditional English and Spanish inspired menu and Alex says she is keen to support community endeavours, including artists and musicians, local suppliers, businesses and community groups.

Other more established businesses have seen a new lease of life, with The Golden Fleece pub, which opened in 1830, now having new landlords Tabitha Nice and Joshua Button at the helm.

Quentin 'Q' Jones who has been at Q's Tattoos for 15 years. He said: "We love being a part of Nelson Street's family.

"There is a strong community feeling here. We are one of Stroud's best kept secrets and we feel its time that everyone knows what is beyond the wall at the top of the High Street."

One of the other long-established businesses which is still going strong is HA Backhouse newsagents. It opened in about 1901 and is now run by Anne Creed and Jim Walsh.

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  • ZurtVortex  |  January 25 2013, 10:44AM

    Interesting article about the Backhouse newsagent shop. Surprised to see it featured in an article about Nelson Street as it's actually in Middle Street.