Maps produced in 1861 and 1871 by the railway companies as they planned to take over the canal route were accompanied by a schedule identifying the properties affected and naming owners, lessees and occupiers. They are an invaluable source of reference and are used in this chapter. The 1871 proposals (by the Great Western Railway) provided three different sets of plans from 1871 to 1873.
Canal towpaths were always on the opposite bank to any works and wharves and is on the left side as you walk from the Ross Road to the Town Centre.

NB. The top of the following maps is not necessarily North.

Moat Meadow
The Moat Meadow Complex

Leaving the Old Wharf site the canal passes under the Ross Road and enters the Moat Meadow complex seen on this sketch.

The first area reached, leased from the Biddulph family, was the base for canal and boat maintenance and included a wharf and dry dock.

On the second area, owned by the Canal Company, there were wharves, a large Warehouse, a Carpenter's Shop, Lock Cottage and a Carriage house, all built in 1827.

The large warehouse, used primarily for cider, included some living accommodation as one George Palmer a cider merchant is living there in 1861.
Built as an Office and Committee Room for the Company the Carriage House, , included a Warehouse, yard and shed. Richard Maddox, Clerk to Hereford and Gloucester Canal Co. lived here initially but when Bye Street became the main commercial centre he moved there and the Carriage House was let to various people.
The Carpenter's Shop described as 'House, outbuildings, shed, yard and garden' was John Napper's base, he was the Company's carpenter for many years.

The original lock in Moat Meadow, built sometime before 1818, was the very first one in Ledbury but was never used; it was demolished in 1818 but reinstated in 1830. Unfortunately we have no knowledge of the early lock keepers but we do know that John Reynolds lived in this Lock Cottage from at least 1851 to 1871. Described on one census as 'Servant to the Canal Company', Reynolds' lock keeping duties must have been minimal and he was probably called upon to make himself useful in many other ways.

The whole area was sometimes known as 'The Navigation Yard'.

The 1841 census shows four boats moored here. In later censuses boats were moored only at Bye Street Wharf, which became the town's main wharf. Confusingly, enumerators of later censuses sometimes refer to the Moat Meadow wharf area as 'Old Wharf' and this should not be confused with the original Old Wharf on the other side of the Ross Road.
Map of 1886

This map of 1886 helps establish the exact location of the Moat Meadow complex.
The road going up the middle of the map is New Street with the Biddulph Arms (now the Full Pitcher) and the Cemetery on the right The site is opposite what is now the entrance to Ledbury Town Football Club.

Part of the old canal is shown still in water and all the buildings are still there
The lower part of the complex, the canal and boat maintenance area, is shown as a boggy outline.

Moving along the canal from Moat Meadow towards town and passing the Gas Works on the right, brings us to the second of the flight of five locks which would eventually climb parallel to New Street up to summit level at Bye Street Wharf.
Gas Works Lane, now Little Marcle Road, passed over the canal at the second lock. The Gas Works must have been one of the Canal Company's best customers with its continual need for coal.

The Locks

The Gas Works
The Gas Works

The third and fourth locks can be seen with the top end of the fourth lock close to Oatley's Road. The locks needed a lock keeper and his cottage was situated close by the fourth lock with a commanding view over the whole flight. Plot 75 is described as 'Lock House, outbuildings, piggeries, yard, sheds and garden'. Edmund Davis was Lock Keeper for many years.

There is an interesting bit of history mapped here:

The road leading off New Street, seen top left of the above map and marked 73, is owned by the Canal Company. Described as 'Old Roadway' on the accompanying schedule it reaches only from New Street to the canal.
Map showing old road

This Tithe map of 1841 ie before this section of the canal was built, shows this 'Old Roadway', coloured red for convenience, leaving New Street (at a point nearly opposite today's Elmsdale Road) then turning left to give access to various fields.

Woodleigh road

For some reason the Canal Company did not put a bridge over the canal at this point instead crossing the canal further up with a new road (Woodleigh Rd today) which promptly turned left to join the remaining part of the old roadway forming Woodleigh/Oatleys Road layout as it is today.

The next section shown in the map below shows the full extent of the Bye Street Wharf in the town. The canal passes from right to left along what is now part of the town trail from Woodleigh Rd bridge to the Bridge St/Bye Street entrance to the Park

Bridge Street Wharf in 1871
The fifth and final lock is shown situated near Woodleigh Road with a 'Winding' just outside the upper lock gates. Canal barges were longer than the width of a canal and a Winding (the Wind is pronounced as in tinned) is an arm of a canal in which boats are able to turn. This particular Winding has the added advantage of increasing the wharf area which extended to Bye Street and beyond, a total of about 300 metres.
Between Woodleigh Road and the Winding is Plot 73. Backing onto and having access to Woodleigh Road it is described as 'Timber yard, workshops and sheds'. Owned by the Canal Company it was occupied in 1871 by the Great Western Railway Company who were beginning to take over the canal's route.

The rest of the wharf, Plot 74, was owned and operated by the Canal Company. It is not hard to imagine the scene: Plot 75, is a Wharf and yard fenced off for security leased by Reuben Matthews, a builder, and Plot 76, Wharf, yard and shed, leased by Edward Bill, a timber and coal merchant.
Plot 77, a stable in 1861, serving the horses used on the Wharf, was a warehouse by 1871 leased by Messrs Danks and Sanders, serious players on the canal network.
The Wharf House, including weighing machine and garden, was centrally located and facing the canal enabling the Wharfinger to oversee the area.
Wharfingers were:

1851 Richard Maddox
1861 Joseph Fawke
1871 Richard Poytherus
1881 Richard Poytherus

Many of the nearby cottages were occupied by boatmen and there were seven barges in the basin in 1871 the whole scene must have been similar to that which can be seen today at Dudley Black Country Museum.
It seems a great shame that nobody had the foresight to record the Wharf here as photography was becoming fashionable and there are photographs of the railway viaduct in 1861. Old canal networks were evidently not as important as new railways!

The Wharf extended to the other side of Bye Street. Owned by the Canal Company the wharf frontage, Plot 84 'Wharf, yard and premises' and 85a, 'Wharf' are leased to John Lissiman a haulier, as a private wharf.
Bye Street Warehouse

A Warehouse, plot 94 opposite this area, only recently demolished, was never owned by the Canal Company. In fact it was variously described as 'Cider Mill, Warehouse' and 'Shed or Shed and Stable' owned by Joseph W Mutlow.

This picture shows the recently demolished warehouse in Bridge Street once belonging to Joseph Mutlow

Plot 88, later known as the Bridge Inn, is described as House, buildings yard and garden on one schedule and Shop, stable and premises on another a few years later.
Owned by Thomas Edy it was occupied by Joseph Goode. Although the building is identified on the 1871 census as 'The Bridge Inn' Joseph is described as 'Farmer and grocer, formerly publican' on the property schedule of 1873. It seems that as a public house the Bridge Inn had a chequered history.

The next section of the canal, takes a level, almost straight line passing under two accommodation bridges and the Hereford Rd before reaching the newly built Worcester to Hereford railway Bridge Street to Hereford Road 1871 It was Phillip Ballard's boast that a wharf was always built where the canal crossed a road and this detail of the Hereford Road crossing confirms this.

Hereford Road Detail

Plot 11, Wharf, is owned by the Canal Company. Plot 13, Wharf, is owned by the West Midland Railway Company.

Canal under railway

The bridge under the Worcester /Hereford railway line showing the main section for the canal and a smaller section for the Towpath where the canal left Ledbury.