Thame has retained its medieval street pattern to this day, where long narrow burgage plots and back lanes, laid out in the 13th century, are still clearly defined. Most of the buildings built before the end of the 17th century were timber framed. Some of them still retained their thatched roofs, but tiles were becoming an important roofing material. In the 18th century almost all construction, and the re-building of the frontages of earlier buildings to bring them up to a (then) new fashionable standard, was carried out in brick.
Much of the character of the town comes from local mellow red bricks and vitrified headers used in these buildings. An indication of the town’s prosperity in this period is provided by the number of handsome Georgian town houses, and later Victorian buildings, which line the High Street. Many of these were conversions and re-fronting of earlier buildings. It is only by examining the interiors and roof spaces that it is possible to appreciate the history of these structures. Thame is a fine example of a mixture of different historical and architectural building styles, sitting side-by-side, which have developed over the past eight hundred years. Much of the character of the town centre gains its attractiveness from this combination of styles, which can easily be seen and appreciated from the Upper and Lower High Streets, Buttermarket, Cornmarket and North Street.
Today, Thame is a thriving historic market town with a population approaching 12,000, with a healthy shopping centre and many unique shops, pubs and cafes. The Thame Industrial Estate and other commercial areas provide opportunities for businesses to grow and for new businesses to become established. Thame is set to increase in size by some 800 houses on a number of sites throughout the town over the next 10 to 15 years, following the approval of the Thame Neighbourhood Plan in 2013.