About Trowbridge

town history & information

The Town’s History

Trowbridge is the county town of Wiltshire, situated on the River Biss, 11 miles south of Bath. Trowbridge has an illustrious history as a Magna Carta Baron town, the site of Trowbridge Castle and as a centre for Britain’s woollen cloth industry. 

The origins of Trowbridge go back to at least the Saxon age and the name is thought to originate from the Saxon words treow-brycg, meaning tree-bridge.

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.

transport & event venues


Trowbridge train station has direct links to London, Bath and Brighton, there is easy access to the M4, A36 and A303 and Bristol Airport is 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. The Trowbridge Town Hall offers an historic venue for events and art exhibitions, the 18th century Emmanuel’s Yard is a unique town centre venue for corporate and private events and Trowbridge Town Park hosts large scale music events, fairs and festivals


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


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

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