ONE of the great bug bears of living or visiting Ciren is the lack of parking facilities and the cost.

Parking is a regular subject on the Standard’s letters page and it frequently makes the front page.

I don’t think the Romans would have had a problem with parking their chariots up the Market Place.

Lord Chandos certainly did in 1642 when his coach was hacked to pieces in the Market Place during the English Civil War. A large oil painting of the event once dominated the coffee lounge of the King’s Head but it was bought by the Bingham Library collection.

I think I last saw it hanging in the old Bingham Library in a room that smelt of furniture polish.

It used to be possible to park a car more or less anywhere in Ciren as long as an obstruction wasn’t caused.

The Highways Act of 1835 created the offence of obstructing the highway and gave Constables a power of arrest for “Quitting a cart, or leaving control of the horses, or leaving the cart so as to be an obstruction on the highway.”

Miss Nancy Lewis, of Chesterton, paid the price for parking 40 minutes outside the Post Office in Castle Street in July 1921 and was fined 10s. for causing obstruction. (about £22 today).

From the end of the 1950’s, parking became more and more of a problem in all towns as more people acquired cars.

Local Authorities responded to increasing problem by building car parks, and from 1960 implementing yellow lines on the streets.

Cirencester presently has eight car parks providing 1396 regular spaces, but I can remember a time when it only really had one: The Brewery car park which in the 1960’s had a fraction of the space it has today.

I remember my Uncle Hector was an attendant at the Brewery for many years; there being no meters or other means to pay.