The Gauntlet Premier shopping Thoroughfare
is considered by many to be Glastonburys jewel in the Crown and takes pride of place in the heart of the town centre, a pedestrian walkway linking up the High street with the towns main fully facilitated St Johns car park.
The Gauntlet (then 11 High Street) was first sighted in 2002 and purchased in July 2003 by Entrepreneur businessman Doug Hill.
The fundamental purpose of the purchase was to develop a "retail Thoroughfare" ,The creation of a shopping arcade with flats above.
Having rescued the old decaying buildings and restoring the historical features, the new build programme was added to transform it into a usable town centre shopping arcade.
The series of buildings were named "The Gauntlet" to signify the great challenge of the project, also due to its linear shape with traders flanking the pathway, conjuring up the image of "running the gauntlet"
Ironically, It was later discovered Gauntlet gloves were manufactured on site many years before, which makes the name even more "fitting".
A series of planning consents were obtained to transform the premises. In preparation of the building, Somerset County Council requested a full archaeological survey which the owner duly obliged and has subsequently donated all of the artefacts to the Taunton museum.
Unfortunately, neither the Holy grail or Guinevere’s chastity belt were found ,but Archaeologists did discover fascinating artefacts that included Roman shale. There were foundations of buildings and many other artefacts dating back to the early medieval period. This proved beyond any doubt that continued settlement had taken place on this site for the best part of a 1000 of years and also evidenced the Romans had once passed through and possibly settled their themselves.
This ground breaking scheme made history as arguably the most significant town centre development since the town was originally mapped out by the Normans back in the 11th Century.
The Gauntlet scooped two major awards (labc) for building and design in 2008, winning best of county, and flew the flag for Glastonbury and Mendip to win the best in the west, beaten only by the new Wembley stadium in the Nationals in London.
A spokesperson said: "Several planning applications were made to bring about permanent change to the town of Glastonbury, offering a new dimension and an added tourist attraction creating a larger sustainable trading area."
On the opening of The Gauntlet on July 4th 2007, a member of the crowd stated that he had lived in Glastonbury, man and boy for over 60 years and cannot remember any development that could rival the Gauntlet.
The Gauntlet dressed in gold and black is simply stunning, a beautiful creation and wonderful addition to the town, its uniqueness has attracted tourists from all over the world and also endeared the new Harry Potter enthusiasts.
Doug Hill concluded: "The Gauntlet has become a real asset to the town of Glastonbury, which has been embraced by the local community and treasured by the tourists. We are undoubtedly one of the most frequently photographed parts of Glastonbury as thousands of tourists from all around the world flock to see us."
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