Industry and Commerce
The Domesday Book in 1086 listed three mills, with a total fiscal value of 45 shillings, on the Bishop of Lincoln's demesne lands, and a fourth which was leased to Robert son of Waukelin by the Bishop. Among Banbury's four Medieval mills was probably a forerunner of Banbury Mill, first referred to by this name in 1695. In the year 1279, Laurence of Hardwick was also paying 3 marks (equivalent to 40 shillings) in annual rent to the Bishop for a mill in the then Hardwick hamlet.
The forerunners of Butchers Row were probably long standing butchers' stalls which were known to be in situ by 1438.
The Northern Aluminium Co. Ltd. or Alcan Industries Ltd. pig and rolled Aluminium factory was opened in 1931 on land acquired in 1929 on the east of the Southam road, in the then hamlet of Hardwick. The various Alcan facilities on the 53-acre site closed between 2006 and 2007. The factory was demolished between 2008 and 2009. The laboratory was also closed in 2004 and demolished in 2009.
Another major employer is General Foods Ltd, now Kraft Foods, which produces convenience foods, including custard and instant coffee. The company moved to Banbury from Birmingham in 1965.
In the central area were built many large shops, a bus station, and a large car park north of Castle Street. In 1969 proposals for the redevelopment of the central area were in hand, leading to the creation of the Castle shopping centre in 1977 (the centre was later combined into the Castle Quay centre). The 1977 plans to build a multi-storey car park on what is now the open air car park behind Matalan and Poundland were scrapped in 1978 and another one was built to the rear of the Castle Shopping Centre in 1978.
The former Hunt Edmunds brewery premises became Crest Hotels headquarters, but closed in the late 1970s and was abandoned in the late 1980s, while the Crown Hotel and the Foremost Tyres/Excel Exhausts shops found new owners after they closed in 1976 due to falling sales. Hella Manufacturing, a vehicle Electronics firm, closed its factory on the Southam Road in the mid 2000s (decade). The ironmonger, Hoods, opened in the mid 1960s and closed c. 2007, with the shop becoming part of the then enlarged Marks and Spencer shop.
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