Calne's Heritage

Calne has a rich heritage dating back to Anglo-Saxon times from the woollen mills that bought the town it's initial wealth to the Harris Factory in the 20th Century and right up to date with it's growth in industry.

Calne's best known industry was the Harris Pork processing facility that dominated the town architecturally and provided employment directly and indirectly to many of the residents until the early-1980s. At its closure in 1983, for example, it employed over 2,000 people out of a town population of 10,000. It is said that the pork curing industry developed because pigs reared in Ireland were landed at Bristol and then herded to London through Calne. The factory started in the second half of the 18th century when brothers John and Henry Harris started businesses which merged in 1888 as C. & T. Harris & Co.

Calne's significance in the woollen industry can be evidenced on The Green in Calne, where many buildings such as the cloth mills involved in the industry remain as private dwellings.

The town's former railway station opened in 1863, the terminus of a branch line of the Great Western Railway from Chippenham. There was initially one intermediate stop - Stanley Bridge Halt. The opening of another stop quite late in the line's history, Black Dog Halt, was not enough to slow the inevitable decline. The branch closed as a result of the Beeching Axe in September 1965, having achieved the dubious distinction of making the biggest loss per mile of track of any line in the country.

During the late-1990s and early-2000s, Calne was considered to be one of the fastest-expanding towns in the South West England region, with a population projected to peak at around 16,000 by 2012.

Development of the Lansdowne Park estate to the West of the town substantially increased the physical scale of the town attracting professional workers from traditionally more expensive areas such as Bath, Bristol, Marlborough and as far afield as the 'silicon valley' towns of central Berkshire.

The estate is named to reflect the development's proximity to the seat of the Marquess of Lansdowne, which has resided at the nearby Bowood House country estate since 1784. The monument at the summit of nearby Cherhill Down is called the Lansdowne Monument.

Based on source content from Wikipedia and from local historians