St. Catherine’s in Frome consists of Catherine Hill, Palmer Street, Paul Street, Stony Street and the lower part of Catherine Street. It has been a commercial part of the town for many centuries being part of the original medieval street pattern of Frome, and serving traditionally as Frome’s Artisan Quarter.
The end of the twentieth century saw the area go into a decline with many of the shops boarded up. The area began to revive at the beginning of this century when several small businesses who, finding rents and property affordable, moved into the old shops making it the place we see today full of designer makers, vintage specialists, craft suppliers and vendors, cafes and much, much more. It must be said that many of these early visionaries were women and a large proportion of the businesses are still owned and run by female entrepreneurs.
It is named after a local shrine to St Catherine of unknown location. Each August a medieval fair is held here—a sort of community fancy dress. Catherine seems to be popular in the area and perhaps it is to do with the ancient business of spinning—associated with a wheel.
St. Catherine’s now goes from strength to strength and has become a popular sought after destination for both businesses and visitors rather than just a well-kept local secret.