With a history stretching back to the Iron Age, Midsomer Norton has, for centuries, been a traditional market town situated in very attractive rural surroundings between Bath and the Mendip Hills. Midsomer Norton is an enjoyable place to shop and spend time with its historic buildings and the River Somer running through the town centre. The town has a variety of cafes, restaurants and shops offering good old-fashioned service but with modern supermarkets including Sainsburys’ and Lidls’
The small town hosts excellent primary and secondary schools. In 2007, Ofsted described Norton Hill as outstanding in every respect and Somervale is at the forefront of technology being one of the very few schools in the country to have its own radio station. For those seeking a greater range of entertainment and facilities, Bath lies a mere 10 miles away as do Wells and Frome and the historic city of Bristol 15 miles. It is also very well placed for the M4 and adjoining motorways.
It was coal mining that really gave the town impetus creating much needed employment. This wasn’t without problems as the hills made it difficult to transport the coal. The arrival of railways and canals (particularly the Bath extension of the Somerset & Dorset line in 1874,) transformed the conveying of coal. The working conditions and particularly the dust from the coal mines soon caused medical problems with many of the miners suffering from “miners’ lung”. It was due to the courage and conviction of Fred Gould (Michael Gould's grandfather) who as Member of Parliament for Frome took a miner’s lung to parliament to protest about their working environment and started the long, slow process of better conditions and, eventually, compensation.
The town can lay claim to several notable people, Roald Dahl in his autobiography “Tales of Childhood” vividly recalls delivering kerosene in the 1930’s in Midsomer Norton and the surrounding villages. The literary Waugh family (including Arthur and Evelyn) lived in the town as did singer Anita Harris.
Midsomer Norton offers all the benefits of a small local community but lies on the doorstep of larger cultural cities.
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