About Trowbridge

town history & information

The Town’s History

Trowbridge is the county town of Wiltshire with a long history as an important market town.

Known as the ‘Manchester of the West’ for its world-renowned woollen cloth milling industry, today Trowbridge is a manufacturing, industrial, office, farming and retail centre where thousands of local businesses are based.

Trowbridge is located on the River Biss, 11 miles south of Bath.  The town also has an illustrious history as a Magna Carta Baron town and as the site of Trowbridge Castle.  Its origins go back to at least the Saxon age and the name is thought to originate from the Saxon words treow-brycg, meaning tree-bridge.

Trowbridge offers excellent transport links. The train station is situated in town centre, with direct trains to London, Bath and Brighton. There is easy access to the M4, A36 and A303, and Trowbridge just a 50 minute drive to Bristol Airport.

Woollen Cloth Production

The Kennet and Avon canal to the north of Trowbridge played an instrumental part in the town’s development as it allowed coal to be transported from the Somerset Coalfield and so marked the advent of steam-powered manufacturing in woollen cloth mills in the late 18th and early 19th centuries, when Trowbridge was named “The Manchester of the West”.

The Empress of Russia sent agents to Trowbridge to order ‘plump cloths and good full colours’ and Daniel Defoe recorded that Trowbridge was famed for “The finest medley Spanish cloths, not in England but in the whole world…”

Trowbridge museum

Trowbridge’s last mill closed in 1982 and is now home to the Trowbridge Museum, which adjoins the Shires Shopping Centre

The Museum portrays the history of Trowbridge’s woollen cloth production and features a rare Spinning Jenny, one of only five remaining in the world.

The Museum hosts a wide variety of events including workshops, talks, walks and creative activities for all ages. 

The Trowbridge Civic Society is a font of knowledge about the town’s history. It has been instrumental in the restoration of buildings, the creation of historic town trails and the installation of historic plaques. 

Trowbridge industries

In the place of milling, thriving food and bedding industries developed.

The Airsprung Furniture Group started in the 1870s and Abraham Bowyer’s food business in 1805.  The brewing company Ushers of Trowbridge opened in 1824 and continued expanding until the brewery equipment was sold to North Korea in 2000.

Food production continues today and companies such as European frozen food processors Apetito and Wiltshire Farm Foods are some of Trowbridge’s major employers, after Wiltshire Council, which is based in the county town.

The town today

Trowbridge today is a centre for manufacturing, office-based businesses, art centres, galleries and artisans, SMEs, retailers, a wide range of start-ups, independent shops and cafes, global tech businesses and national corporations such as Danone, Nutricia, Virgin Care and Hitachi. The population of Trowbridge is approximately 46,000.

shops & services


Work Spaces

Shopping Centres

Business parks

For further independent shops & services, see Trowbridge Shopping.

Art & culture

art centres

green spaces

Our Green spaces include Trowbridge Town Park, the Biss Meadows Country Park, which follows the Biss river with ponds and nature walks and Southwick Country Park & Hope Nature Centre.

civic society

The Civic Society aims to preserve what is good from the past, encourage high standards of design in new buildings, enhance the image of the area and increase amenities within Trowbridge and its adjacent villages. For regular events, newsletters & membership from just £7 a year, click here.

transport, ACCOMMODATION & event venues


Trowbridge train station has direct links to London, Bath and Brighton. See Trainline for details. 

There is also easy road access from Trowbridge to the M4, A36 and A303 and Bristol Airport, which is approx 50 minutes away.

event venues

The Civic is a large contemporary events venue and conference centre for up to 900, which adjoins the Trowbridge Visitor Information Centre, home to Trowbridge Town Council

18th century Emmanuel’s Yard is a beautiful 18th century Church building, ideal for corporate and private events up to 250 people.  The handsome Grade 1 listed Georgian Parade House offers a prestigious town centre venue for weddings and corporate & private events.  Trowbridge Town Hall arts centre offers an historic venue for events and art exhibitions (NB. Currently closed for refurbishment).

Trowbridge Town Park is available for large scale music events, fairs and festivals


The historic 3* Moonraker Hotel and restaurant specialises in weddings and corporate events and further accommodation includes the Premier Inn at St Stephens Place leisure, dining and Odeon complex.


Trowbridge is home to Wiltshire College, 13 Primary schools, 3 secondary schools, a number of excellent nurseries and a special school for children aged 3 to 19. 

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