Bye Street in 1921

An aerial view of Bye Street dated 1921

From "The Everlasting Mercy" by John Masefield:

Down in the lane so thick and dark
The tan-yards stank of bitter bark,
The curate's pigeons gave a flutter,
A cart went courting down the gutter,
And none else stirred a foot or feather.
The houses put their heads together,
Talking, perhaps, so dark and sly,
Of all the folk they'd seen go by,
Children, and men and women, merry all,
Who'd some day pass that way to burial.

Although some early history of the site of the Barrett Browning Institute is included below I do not intend to discuss it in detail. It's history has been well recorded here

The Sandwich Shop, Sears House and The Methodist Church

Owned and ocupied by Benjamin Mutlow in 1839

Owned and occupied in part by C W Stephens in 1910.

The Old Tanhouse
This early picture shows a tantalising glimpse of the top end of Bye Street.
It is a popular belief that the building shown here, on the site of the Barrett Browning Institute, was a Tannery. This is not quite true.
In the early C19 it was the house of the Mutlow family, owner's of the tannery but we can be sure there were no tanning processes carried out here.
This house, which by 1861 is not occupied by a tanner but by William Wargent, Shoe and Bootmakers, remains in the Mutlow family ownership until 1892, see later..

1839 Tithe Map

This section of the 1839 Tithe map shows Bye Street going from the top left of the image to where it meets the Homend at the bottom. The tannery plot is in red and facing Bye St and taking a different tithe apportionmemt number (155) to the house in the Homend. Both owned and occupied by Benjamin Mutlow in 1839.

The Hankins family owned the tannery through most of the eighteenth century and through marriage by the Mutlow family for most of the ninteenth.
William Mutlow (married Sarah Hankins) died in 1796. He left the tannery to his son Benjamin Mutlow who died in 1863.
Benjamin in turn left it to his sons Benjamin and Joseph Mutlow, subject to a purchase price of £1200. This was presumably forthcoming, with the brothers becoming joint owners, as when Benjamin dies in 1877 he directs that a valuation of the tannery be raised and an invitation given to Joseph to own the whole business. Evidently Joseph wasn't interested as in a Post Office Directory of 1879 there is no Tanner listed in Ledbury, but the buildings remained in the Mutlow family and sold to C. W. Stephens in 1892 as is shown here in a report on the progress of the Barret Browning Institute project.

From the Worcester Journal June 11th 1892:
......Mr Stephens then explained the scheme for building the institute and tower, He expressed his gratification at the large meeting of townspeople, which showed the great interest taken in the matter. Serious difficulties had arisen at the last public meeting as to the site of the building, but those difficulties were, he thought, now surmounted. He had purchased from Mr. J. V. Mutlow the old tanyard and premises at the Lower Cross......
At the same meeting as above:
He had proposed to the Ledbury Highway Board to sell them a strip three feet wide to widen the Bye Street and he had also offered to sell to the Parochial Authority a strip four feet wide to make a footpath on the north side of Bye Street.

and From Worcestershire Chronicle December 9th 1893: Meeting of the Highway Board.
The clerk also reported that the purchase of land for widening Bye Street had now been completed, the sums payable to Mr C.W.Stephens £96 4s.
Old Bye Street

The entrance to Bye Street must have been little more than an alley, as seen here, and if the Institute had been built on the same footprint as the previous building we would have been stuck with it today!

Obviously the 'premises at the Lower Cross' refers to the building on the corner of the Homend and Bye Street which C W Stephens then gave to the Barrett Browning Memorial Institute committee.

And Ellen F Tilley writing in the 1920 edition of Tilley's Almanack says:
At the corner of the Lower Cross formerly stood an old Tannery and some ancient half-timbered houses. These were pulled down in 1892 to make room for the BARRETT BROWNING MEMORIAL, which consiste of a Clock Tower and Institute, containing the Library and Reading Room etc. This is an imposing structure and is well in character with its older surroundings. Visitors are admitted to the Reading Room on payment of One Penny. The Poetess spent her girlhood within the Parish of Ledbury, and this monument to her genius was raised chiefly by the efforts of Mr C.W. STEPHENS, of Ledbury.

Here is a map dated 1903 showing the now open space between the Institute and what remains of the tannery. The 1910 survey lists the building as a warehouse and the open space simply as land

1903 map
Why wasn't the warehouse demolished?

An essential part of the tanning process is the drying of the finished product and for this every tannery had a ' Drying House'.
Several examples can be found on the internet here is one in poor condition and a typical interior view.
Old Tannery drying house

Drying House Interior

The building, having an unencumbered floor space, like the above picture right, would be open enough to allow for a gentle movement of air but also dark enough to prevent sunlight affecting the leather.
The walls were usually fitted with louvres permitting fine adjustment of air currents around the hides and I believe this building was used for this purpose and was built much later than the, C18 or earlier, main part of the tannery. Substantially built it survives today.

Drying house old
As it would have been

Drying House new

So who was Charles W. Stephens? The Stephens family were certainly in a position to buy the tannery and would have found the old drying house useful as a warehouse.

John Stephens (1806 ─ 1875), an ironmonger in the Homend in what is currently 'Pacific Dove' next door to the the Seven Stars, married Charlotte Bowkett in 1835 and they had:
Charlotte in 1839.
Samuel in 1840.
Mary in 1842.
Charles Wesley in 1844.
Thomas in 1846.
James in 1850.

Charles Wesley Stephens (1844 ─ 1912) was the owner and occupier of the tannery site in 1910, by then reduced to warehouse and land.
In 1871 he is established as an ironmonger in the High St. shop on the corner of New Street, now the Cook Shop and Delicatessen.
He married Harriet Bourne in Hastings in 1872. They had:
Harriet Ada in 1873.
Charlotte Alice in 1875.
Lilian Agnes in 1877.
Nora Adeline in 1879.
Frances Agatha in 1882.
Charles died in 1912 leaving £10,000 (roughly £1million today), Harriet died in 1922.

These adverts show what happened next.

Stephens 1912 Ad
From Tilley's 1912
George Hill Ad 1920
From Tilley's 1920
1914 receipt
image courtesy

Note that Charles is offering 'Hop Grower's Requisites'.

With no son to follow Charles in the business it would have been sold. Unfortunately there is no Tilley's Almanack available between 1912 and 1920 at which time this advert for John Hill appears.
The 1920 street directory for the High St. premises shows Hill G & Sons. Ironmongers &c.
The telephone number 20 is common to both adverts.

A receipt showing that George Hill was paying £70 for the shop and £12.10s for the warehouse in 1914. He later bought both,

It is obvious that George Hill has acquired the business and this would have included the Bye Street warehouse site and intent on promoting the Hop Growers Requisites side of the business he first set up a new shop near the cattle market.

More on George Hill.

George Hill (1854 ─ 1923) was a Ledbury Builder responsible for the Cottage Hospital, the Barrett Browning Institute Evendine Court Colwall and other prestigious projects.
He married Mary Jane Hodges in Ledbury in 1880 and living in the house between Ice Bytes and the Olive Tree they had:
Martha Annie in 1881.
George William in 1882 (died 1885).
Mary Jane in 1884.
John in 1887.
Ellen Margaret in 1890.
He died in 1923 and his only son John (1887-1951) decided to expand the Hop Growers Requisites side of the business further by turning the former tannery drying house into what became known as The String Works.
Presumably this was established by 1930 as Tilley's makes no mention of anything here until that year. Listed then, and always, as 'John Hill Hop Growers' Provider' it was always known as The String Works and provided employment for many in the town.
The String Works warehouse

With the string manufactory established in the old drying house the open space next door provided additional space for a warehouse.
To this end a WW1 redundant seaplane hangar was bought and brought to Ledbury by train (comment by John Churchill in the Old Ledbury Facebook Group).
The building later housed a carpet shop then a second hand store, as in the image here, before being replaced as 'Sears House' today.

The string works closed in about 1967 and moved to new premises in the Bromyard Road by 1970. John Hill died on November 12th 1951 at Westhill.

The building later housed Data 3 Office Supplies and is now the Methodist Chapel.


1910 shop plot 1839 Tithe Map
From the 1839 Tithe map (repeated on the left for convenience) we know that the plot outlined in red belonged to the Mutlow family and we have seen that the main part was pulled down in 1892.

The map on the right, associated with the 1910 survey, shows what is now the Sandwich Shop as an integral part of Plot No 451, a property with a frontage in the Homend.

This shop in the Homend was owned by A Warren & Co., House Furnishers. and the Bye Street shop must have been built about the same time as the Barrett Browning Institute i.e. c1899.

Warren 1912 ad
From Tilley's 1912

The advert confirms he was in both streets.

Andrew Warren 1861 ─ 1930 married Olivia Rogers in Ledbury in 1888. They had:
Olive Mary in 1889.
Lilian Annie Ruth in 1891.
Hubert Thomas in 1893.
Charles Dennis in 1895.
Walter George in 1896.
Arthur Samuel in 1904.

As a House furnisher and cabinet maker he is in the High St in 1891. In 1901 he is living in No 4 the Homend (now Herefordshire Wildlife Trust) probably with the additional space for his shop in Bye Street. By 1936 the business is in New Street.

Later occupiers of the premises are G A James, Boot Repairer, in 1936, Ledbury Employment Office in 1944, Ledbury Reporter Office in 1960, John Meates & Sons (Coal Office). in 1972, Ledbury Reporter Office (again) in 1993 and the Sandwich Shop by 2002.

A plaque on the wall of the shop shows that the yard at the side and back of the building is known as Salters Yard. Salting was the first part of the tanning process applied to the hides and it would have started here and ended up as leather at the drying house.

Foley House and the chapel.

Foley House

Owned by the late James Holbrook whose son James is Heir at Law and occupied by Robert Ballard in 1839

House and chapel owned by Fred Ballard of Colwall. Occupied by Miss Moore in 1910.

More about James Holbrook

James Holbrook (1785 ─ 1838), a solicitor, married Jane Lascelles White (1786- 1832) in London in 1813.
Living in Horse Lane they had James in 1816, Ann Kinderley in 1820 and four more who all died in infancy. Ann Kinderley never married and died in The Knapp in 1903.
James, the son referred to in the 1839 Tithe Apportionment, was a widower in 1851 according to that census but I can not find any marriage for him. He lived at Eyebridge and died in 1857 when returning from Worcester Fair he was accidentally tipped out of his waggon in Colwall.

In the Tithe Apportionment the plot is described as 'Buildings and Yard' not house and in 1841 there is no one living there.
Foley House is a listed building and the citation says:
Mid C19 red brick house. Low-pitched slate hipped roof with wide eaves. Projecting brick corner pilasters. 3 storeys. 3 windows. Central narrow projection with narrow windows over round-headed doorway with keyblock and impost, semi-circular fanlight and fielded-panel door. Sashes with glazing bars, flat lintels with rounded ends with moulded impost and keyblock.
In the 1851 census it is occupied by Robert Ballard, a Builder and Brick Maker employing 18 men and 4 apprentices, with his wife and two children.
This is of course the same Robert Ballard occupying the buildings and yard in 1839 but by 1851 he must have bought the yard and built Foley House on it (see advert below).

Robert Ballard (1802-1878) was the first born son of Philip and Charlotte Ballard of Great Malvern and brother to Stephen Ballard of the Glos and Hereford canal fame.

He married Catherine Maria Pedlingham on January 25th 1839 in Worcester (District). Living in Number 17, Southend in 1841 they went on to have 11 children and it is possible to track where he lives by noting the children's church registration details:
Robert b 1839 in Southend.
Charlotte b 1841 in Southend died 1846 in Bye Street.
Catherine Maria b 1842 in Southend.
Philip b 1845 in Southend died in 1851 in Bye Street.
Elizabeth Hawkins b 1855 in Bye Street.
John Spencer b 1856 in Bye Street.
Fanny b 1858 in Colwall.
Frederick in 1861 in Colwall.
Edith Augusta 1862 in Colwall.
Ada b 1863 in Colwall.
Stephen b 1866 in Colwall.
From this it is clear that they moved to Bye Street by 1846 and from Bye Street after 1858, Robert must have built Foley House by 1846.

He retired in 1855, an announcement in the Hereford Times of May 2nd 1855 advertises the sale of his property:
'Dwelling House, Timber Yard, Carpenters and Joiner shops, Sawpit house, Ware and store Houses, Stable and gig house, Counting House and Ironmongery Room and premises now in his occupation, situate in the Bye Street, Ledbury.'
A Footnote Says:
ROBERT BALLARD. On retiring from his trade as a Builder, Timber and Slate Merchant, begs to return his thanks to his friends for the support and patronage he has received and to inform them that he will carry on the manufacture of Bricks, Culverts and Draining tiles and Draining pipes at his Yard in New Street Ledbury.
It seems the property didn't sell at that time as he is still there in 1861. By 1863 he is living in Groves End Colwall with the 1865 Electoral Register showing he is living in Colwall but having voting rights in Ledbury by owning Freehold home, buildings and yard in Bye Street.
Robert died in 1878. Foley House is still owned by the Ballard family in 1910, now by Fred the second son of Robert.
In 1871 the house is uninhabited, In 1881 Edward Bill (1837-1883), a Timber Dealer (ex Bill's Yard) and his family are in residence. He died in 1883 aged just 46 and it seems that from this time the house is linked to the chapel.

Various newspaper reports tell us about the chapel, a timber framed and corrugated iron building. Here are some extracts:

From 'The Northern Whig' December 24 1888.
Lady Henry Somerset has erected a Mission Hall at Ledbury, in which Mr Sampson, the Cornish evangelist, has just conducted a successful series of evangelistic services.

Undemoninational as the next entry shows:

From the 'Hereford Journal' March 9th 1889.
Lectures were given at the Mission Hall, Ledbury by Dr Rossvally on "The Jewish religion and the ceremonial law". On the last night an orthodox Jewish wedding was gone through in character which proceeding evinced much interest.

From the 'Gloucester Journal' August 20 1892:
Lady Henry Somerset, who a few years ago erected a large mission hall in Ledbury to carry on her mission work there, has, since her return from America, presented the same to the newly appointed rector of the parish (Prebendary Maddison Green) for church work and other purposes. On sunday it was for the first time used for the Church Sunday School.

From Tilley's review of 1896:
On Nov 5th the Ledbury Poultry and Pigeon Society held their first annual show in the Mission Hall, the affair being a complete success.

From the 'Hereford Journal' September 5 1903.
We understand that the work at the Mission Hall, Ledbury, which was carried on by Lady Henry Somerset for so many years, and which was discontinued a short time ago, is to be resumed at the end of September with very little alteration it will be in the form of industrial work towards the support of the Mission.
A friend has purchased the fixtures and seats, and has taken Foley House (which adjoins) for the remainder of the lease which expires in 1909.
Miss Kelsey and Miss Berkley, who did so much to help the mission for Lady Henry Somerset, will continue the work and they are hoping for the cooperation of friends, which under the new regime will be much more needed.
The basket making, chair making and bookbinding will be carried on as heretofore.

From the 'Hereford Times' May 5 2000.
The former Apostolic Church in Bye Street, a reminder of hard and crusading times in Victorian Ledbury is up for sale and could go for as much as £60,000.
The timber framed and corrugated tin building was opened on October 6 1889. It bears witness to the charitable work of Lady Henry Somerset, daughter of the last Earl Somers of Eastnor Castle.
Lady Somerset, who was born in 1851, was well known locally for organising soup kitchens to feed Ledbury's poor and for her Christian stand against the evils of drink.

In 1891, shortly after the church was built, George Neighbour, 28 from London is resident in Foley House with his wife, Amelia and daughter Jane.
Occupation given as Evangalist, he is in Ruardean, as a Baptist Minister, in 1901 with a son, George John born in 1892 in Ledbury.

Members Card

In 1901 Evelyn Bateman, 30 and Agnes E. Berkley, 33 are here and described as Mission Workers and from 1909 'Miss Berkley' was in sole charge. (see above). She was still here in 1940.

Agnes Emily Berkley was born in Ledbury 1867 to Lucas and Sophia. From Germany, Lucas (1826 ─ 1895) married Sophia Burston in Upton on Severn in 1852 and settled in the Homend as a watchmaker.
They had:
Frances Maria in 1853 in Ross on Wye.
Lucy Ellen in 1857 in Ledbury.
Kate Sophia in 1860 in Ledbury.
Charles Lucas in 1862 in Ledbury.
Agnes Emily in 1867 in Ledbury.

Agnes was in Foley House until 1943 when a Miss Hunter took up residence followed by Miss Newbold until 1970 which is probably the end of its association with the Church.

Unoccupied in 1971 it later became Foley Guest House.

Here are some later newspaper reports linked to Foley House and the chapel.

'The Wicklow People' Dec 12th 1925: 13 youths charged.
The charge was that they did at the Quay, New Ross, (Ireland) on the 2nd of December 1925 being riotously and tumultuously assembled together to the disturbance of the public peace, unlawfully and with force destroy or begin to destroy a dwelling house, to wit, a motor van used as a dwelling house, the property of one Mabel Elizabeth Ross and one Lucy Ockelford, Foley House Ledbury Hereford, England. A statement by Miss Mabel Elizabeth Ross was in effect that accompanied by Miss Lucy Ockelford they arrived by motor caravan in New Ross on Wednesday evening forenoon and put up in a yard on the quay. In the evening they sang hymns on the quay and a large crowd collected around them. Missiles such as apples, but not stones, were thrown, and as they were moving away some of the crowd attacked them. They hurried up towards the centre of the town, and from thence they went back to their van. Whilst in the van a fusilade of stones were thrown smashing the windows of the van. They came out of the van and sought shelter at the back of the yard, the gate of the yard being opened by someone they escaped through the gate.
Gloucester Citizen December 15th 1949 report on the will of Miss Mabel Elizabeth Ross.
Miss Mabel Elizabeth Ross, of Foley House Ledbury, who died on September 29th left £6,722/10/9 gross (£6,999/14/0 ) net value. She left £300 to Lucy Ockelford, all paintings and lantern slides to be disposed of as she thinks fit, and £60 be used by her for any printing expenses for religious tracts or having hymns published £50 to Nora Stephens and £100 to Jane B Hunter both of Foley House aforesaid and other religious charities
In 1932 it was called the Elim Hall, and was in the care of the Rev. H W Fielding of the "Church of the Four Square Gospel". It was sold in 2000 and is now Dawe Brothers' funeral parlour.

No 27 ─ 49.

part of Tithe map

The plot circled here, No 157, is a group of 10 in 1839, 12 in 1910, houses owned by George Gurney in 1839 and Miss E Rayner of Worcester Rd in 1910.

George Gurney (1813 ─ 1844), a builder, is the owner of this block of houses in 1839.
His father Thomas, who died in 1837 aged 62 in Bishop Street was also a builder and with his widow, Jane (1771 ─ 1842) and son living in the houses and next door to each other, see below, it surely would have been Thomas who built these houses.
George married Emma Matthews (1808 ─ 1848) in 1833. Sadly George died in 1844 aged just 31.

Here is a list of occupants from the 1839 Apportionment and the 1841 census:

1839 Tithe 1841 census
James Baggott Lydia Hill 45
James Davis John Fleetwood 35
Eliza Fawke Diana Yarnold 65
Sarah Hatton Thomas Hill 55
George Gurney George Gurney 25
Jane Gurney Jane Gurney 65
Joseph Loade Joseph Loade 45
John Miller Junior John Sutton? 45
James Hodges Thomas Price 25
William Cale Thomas Floyd 40

This shows that most of the occupants have changed in just a few years. This happens regularly and it is impossible to track occupancy over the censuses.

We are on safer ground looking at later sources. The 1910 survey gives a positive list of the occupants which can be matched with the 1911 census and the 1920 electoral register on which house numbers are given.

The census enumerator had to list the number of rooms in a property including the kitchen so a two room house would have been just one room up and one down.

House No. No. of Rooms 1910 survey 1911 census 1920 Register
27 2 Wm Watkins Hubert William Watkins 60 William Watkins
29 4 E Bosley Eliza Bosley 77 Annie Sturge
31 2 Miss Cale E Cale 72 Elizabeth Cale
33 2 Mrs May Lucy May 45 Thomas Cale
35 2 E Cook John Cook 37 William Jones
37 2 Wm Smith William Smith 23 Harry Norman
39 2 E Lancett Edwin Lancett 69 Unlisted
41 3 Jos Neale Joseph Neale 47 Henry Gulliford
43 6 Mrs Pedlingham Phoebe Pedlingham 57 Phoebe Pedlingham
45 3 E Jones Edward Thomas Jones 56 Joseph Fletcher
47 3 Mrs Fawkes Henry Lane 25 Harry Shakesheff
49 3 Kendrick Elizabeth Jarvis 73 Annie Hodges

This group of buildings consisted of 7 small tenements, known as Freeman's Buildings, accessed by a small alley to the left of Foley House and 5 larger buildings facing Bye St (41 ─ 49).
Freeman's Buildings and Nos 45 ─ 49 were demolished in about 1935, No 43 survived until 1960 leaving just No 41 surviving today.

No 43 must have been in a bit of a state in 1959 as this extract from Ledbury Urban District Council minutes of 22nd May 1959 show:
43 Bye Street.
It was suggested that steps be taken to deal with this property forthwith as due to broken doors and windows unauthorised persons were able to enter. As it is proposed to deal with this property in the site works the committee recommend that the Surveyor be instructed to arrange for it to be securely boarded up until the scheme is put in hand.

We know that Emily Rayner owned Freeman's buildings in 1910 and I am sure that the story below explains the buildings' name.

Emily Jane Rayner (1872 ─ 1951) was the niece of James Freeman.
James Freeman (1838 ─ 1903) lived in Worcester St. and never married, Emily is at his house in every census. He was a respectable member of Ledbury Society as this report shows:
From the Gloucestershire Echo June 15th 1903
On Sunday, at Ledbury Cemetery, the funeral took place of Mr. James Freeman, one of the oldest inhabitants, who died Wednesday last at the age 65 years.
Deceased gentleman was at the time of his death chairman of the directors of the Ledbury Markets and Fairs Company a director the Gas Company, one the original founders of the Ledbury Building Society, chairman of the Liberal Unionist Association, and treasurer the local court foresters.
Representatives of all the above bodies attended the funeral.

Freemans Buildings

Freemans Buildings

Showing electricity poles these pictures must have been taken after 1914 when the Ledbury Electricity Supply was first discussed.
The first shows old cottages numbered 45 to 49 followed by Nos 51 etc. (discussed later).
The alley to Freeman's Buildings can be seen in the second. The building attached to Foley House is the 'Counting House', i.e. Office, referred to in the Ballard sale above.

No 51 & 53.

part of Tithe map

The plot circled here was owned by the Parish of Ledbury, Vicar and Churchwardens in Trust in 1839 and Ledbury Consolidated Charities in 1910.

The two cottages here are occupied in 1839 by Andrew Bosley and Elizabeth Heath and by Elizabeth Jarvis and Mary Ann Bosley in 1910.

The 1841 census shows Andrew Bosley, a smith 40, married to Catherine, née Insoll, with 7 children ranging from 15 to 4. How did they fit them all in in a 2 room cottage!
In the second cottage Elizabeth Heath has moved further down the road and her son Reuben Heath, a cooper 40, is here. His story is rather sad and shows how hard life could be then!
He married Harriet (I cannot find her maiden name) and they had John born and died in 1837 in the Union Workhouse. Another son, Reuben, was born in 1839.
In 1842 Reuben, senior, abandoned his family: From the Hereford Times February 5th 1842:
Reuben Heath, convicted of deserting his family, whereby they became chargeable to the parish of Ledbury.
Reuben junior died in 1842 in tragic circumstances.
From the Hereford Times October 29 1842:
Coroner's Inquest. On Friday last an inquest was held on the body of Reuben Heath, a child about four years of age, the son of Reuben Heath, cooper, who died in consequence of having been severely burnt, from his clothes taking fire on the previous Monday. The poor little sufferer lingered from Monday till Wednesday in the most excruciating agonies till Death put an end to his sufferings. The verdict of the jury was Accidental Death.
Reuben and Harriett then seemed to disappear.

House No. No. of Rooms 1910 survey 1911 census 1920 Register
51 3 Elizth Jervis Elizabeth Jervis 72 Rhoda Powell
53 2 Mary Ann Bosley Mary Ann Bosley 86 Charles Henry Pritchard

Bye Street from the air
By following Tilley's entries it can be shown that Nos 51 and 53 were demolished by 1936 with the Fire Station built on the site in 1957.

This aerial image dated 1921 shows the buildings discussed and to follow.

The C20 Bye Street House numbering takes some understanding! As I have shown so far the odd numbers are on the right going down from the Homend and of course the even numbers are on the left.
This works fine but when the last even number on the left is reached, i.e. No 58, it must have been decided to carry on with even numbers on the right.
This is shown on the map below. I cannot sort out Nos 66 to 68, these are associated with the Brewery Inn which is always named not numbered.

bye street numbers
The arrow points to more properties still in Bye Street, Nos 81 to 88, Brewery Orchard and Brewery Yard.

No 55 and 57.

part of Tithe map

In 1839 the two houses on Plot 185 were owned by John Bosley and occupied by Joseph Whitaker and the late William Treherne, Plot 184 is shown as a Smith's Shop owned by Sidney Gregg and operated by Eliz. Bosley and Jno. Butt. Sidney Gregg owned a lot of properties here, more on him later.

In 1910 the two houses are owned by 'the executors of J King' and the warehouse is owned by Jas Griffin of Ledbury.
Bye Street from the air

Listed as 3 room houses in 1911 No 55 is occupied by Charles Smith, woodman, wife Mary Ann, sons Harry 40 and Tom 36 all born in Ledbury and No 57 by John Davis 46 single from Fairford.
Aged 64, and a fruit dealer James Griffin, the warehouse owner, is living in Oatleys in 1911 with his wife Harriett 48, children Edith May 17, Frederick Stanley 14 and Amy Gertrude 9 all born in Ledbury. James died in 1919.
The houses were demolished in 1921 just after this picture was taken.

No 59, 60 and 61.

part of Tithe map

These houses were bigger than the cottages on each side and can be seen in the picture above to the left and behind the houses in the middle of the road. Owned by Sidney Gregg in 1839 (see The Brewery page), occupants in 1839 and 1841 are shown here:

1839. 1841.
John Stephens John Stephens 35 Blacksmith
Charles Gurney Charles Gurney 35 mason
John Preedy John Preedy 40 Ag Lab

Owned by the executors of J Davis in 1910, the occupants are:

House No. No. of Rooms 1910 survey 1911 census 1920 Register
59 5 W Jackson William E Jackson 43. William Lee
60 4 Jane Davies Edith Fanny Matthews 30. John Powell
61 3 J Morris James Morris 65. Ada Cook

J Davis, the executors of whom were the owners in 1910, was James Davis the baker whose story is told in the Davis and Brookes family history page

Jane Davies, the occupant of No 60 in 1910, had no connection with James Davis.
As Jane Westbury she married William Davis in 1864 in Ledbury. Living in these cottages they had 9 children.
Anyone researching the Davis family tree could have a problem here as they are listed as William and Jane Davis in 1871 and William and Jane Davies in 1881 and subsequently.
William was born in Bye Street, to John and Ann, in 1839, lived his married life in Bye Street and died there aged 62 in 1901. Jane died in 1910 aged 66.

The cottages existed until 1954 at which time Mrs Lee is in No 59, E Mitchell is in No 60 and Mrs Symes in No 61.

A view of Nos 59 to 61 from the cattle market courtesy of David Mitchell.

No  59 to 61

Nos 62 to 65.

part of Tithe map

Owned by Sidney Gregg in 1839 (see The Brewery page), occupants in 1839 and 1841 are shown here:

1839. 1841.
John Fleetwood William Teague 45 Stone Mason
John Butt John Butt 50
George Hamblin Lydia Hamblin 40 Ag Lab
Priscilla Clarke George Goulden 25 Shoe Mfr

Later research shows that the properties were owned by William Brookes by 1910 and working back from this the following advert for a property auction tells us a lot:

From the Hereford Times April 15th 1882.

Lot 4: All those TWELVE FREEHOLD MESSUAGES or TENEMENTS, with small Gardens, &c. in the occupation of Robert Cale, Susan Brookes, William Brookes, Edward Cox, James Morris, Mary Lee, William Mayo, George Load, Lewis Proberts, and Mr Charles Edwards: and also a well built CIDER WAREHOUSE and Large Yard and Buildings. in the occupation Mr Edwards, situate in Bye street, Ledbury, producing gross annual rental of £98. To view apply to the respective tenants and for further particulars to Messrs Masefield and Sons Ledbury.

And in 1891 the occupants are:
Charles Tustin.
William Brookes.
James Williams
NB James Williams is next door to The Brewery Inn.

William didn't have much luck with one of his tenants as this newspaper extract shows:
From the Worcestershire Chronicle November 16th 1901:
Ejectment: William Brooks, Bye street, applied for an ejectment order against Thomas Tustin, who occupies a cottage in that street. Applicant stated that got no rent; the house was kept like a pig's cot, and the windows were broken. Ordered to quit in 21 days.

The 1910 survey confirms that these cottages were owned by William Brookes, the occupants are:

House No. No of Rooms. 1910 Survey. 1911 Census. 1920 Register.
62 4 Wm Brookes* William Brookes 80 widower Elizabeth Brookes #
64 Not Known H Drew or Daw Not listed Henry Woods
65 3 Fred Smith Frederick Smith 30 Wood Sawyer Martha Morris

* The listing actually shows Wm Brookes occupying two properties here, one described as Stores and the other as House and Premises.
# No 62 is shown occupied by Elizabeth Brookes, No 63 is not listed.

More on the above:
The 1933 rateable value for these properties is available courtesy of Fiona Penwarne, a descendant of William Brookes, and makes interesting reading:
No 62, described as 'buildings', had a value of £2, 63 has no description and a value of £8, and Nos 63 and 64 are cottages with a value of £4 each.

William Brookes died in Bye Street in 1917 aged 86.
1934 Demolition Order
Image courtesy Fiona Penwarne

The cottages survived until 1934 when Miss Bessie Brookes, daughter of William, received a formal notice that the cottages at No 63, 64 and 65 were 'considered unfit for human habitaion'. The last occpiers were Miss Brookes, T Williams and W Groves.

The Demolition Notice seen here, refers to No 63 Bye Street! It seems no one was quite sure about Nos 62 and 63.

No 62 to 65

This image shows the cottages.
No 62 on the right, used as a store with some goods outside. Then No 63, a larger cottage than Nos 64 and 65 which are on the left.
A significant part of No 61 can be seen on the extreme right.

The Brewery Inn.

Buildings owned by Sidney Gregg in 1839 and Ben James in 1910.
Too much to include here full details can be found on a seperate page which can be accessed

Nos 68 to 70.

part of Tithe map

Owned by Sidney Gregg (see The Brewery Inn page) in 1839, the Apportionment shows 4 names listed further down the road from what became the Brewery Inn.
No warehouse is listed, and there are plenty of warehouses to be found elsewhere, so it is not that they are never listed.
I am making this point as we know there was just 3 numbers and a warehouse later.

1839. 1841.
William Parker Edward Siford 40 Ag Lab.
William Pillinger William Parker 45 Ag Lab.
Henry Davis Henry Davis 35 Stone Mason.

All owned by Ben James of the Brewery Inn in 1910 here is the occupation from the Apportionment.
Also listed between Jenkns and Lancett is a warehouse occupied by Henley and Sons. I cannot find anything out about them.
House No. No of Rooms. 1910 Survey. 1911 Census. 1920 Register.
68 3 Thos. Jenkins Thomas Jenkins 59 Stone Quarryman. Mary Ann Jenkins
69 3 T Lancett Thomas Lancett 41 General Labourer Elizabeth Phillips
70 3 Mrs Powell Rhoda Powell 50 Washerwoman Cyril Matthews

These cottages survived until 1962 the last tenants being J.P. Waters in No 68, D.S. Fletcher in No 69 and D Mills in No 70.
No picture of these cottages has surfaced yet.

Nos 71 to 80.

part of Tithe map

There are five cottages, two shops and one large house here today but the outline in 1839, shown here, gives a very different picture and all owned by Sidney Gregg (see the Brewery Inn page)
Plots 181 and 183 are described as Houses and Shop. Plot 180 as Warehouse, the occupants being as follows:
Plot No 1839. 1841.
183 Sidney Gregg. ?
Edward Siford Richard Taylor 20 Ag Lab.
181 William Clinton William Clinton 40 Ag Lab.
180 Elizabeth Bosley and John Butt Occupiers of a warehouse, not listed

Plot 182 is not listed, The 1839 listing says 181 and 183 not 181 to 183. The 1841 results are a bit speculative.

1871 map

When the railway companies decided to take over the existing canal from Gloucester to Ledbury they surveyed the route and listed properties inside their possible sphere of interest.

This railway map of 1871 shows the area of interest to the railway company as a hatched line and fortunately for us includes these cottages with the owners and occupiers identified.

Here is the listing:
Plot No Owner Occupier. House No Today.
118 Mary Gregg. William Lambert 71
119 Mary Gregg Henry Chadd 72
120 Mary Gregg Hannah Lewis 73
121 Mary Gregg Ann Kemish 74
122 Mary Gregg John Preedy 75
123 Sidney Gregg Sarah Ann Jeffs 76
124 Sidney Gregg Charles Evans
125 (Yard) Sidney Gregg Charles Edwards
126 (Warehouse) Ledbury Highway Board Ledbury Highway Board
127 Sidney Gregg Robert Cale junior 79
128 Sidney Gregg Joseph Brookes 80

Moving into the C20 with the house numbering map repeated here for convenience.

bye street numbers
The arrow points to more properties still in Bye Street, Nos 81 to 88, Brewery Orchard and Brewery Yard.

House No. No of Rooms. 1910 Survey. 1911 Census. 1920 Register.
71 3 Daw F John Powell 22 Greengrocer's Porter. Henry Smith
72 3 Mrs Hankins Harriet Hankins 56 Charwoman Harriet Hankins
73 3 S A Jeffs Frank E Daw 30 Carpenter. Frank Edwin Daw
74 3 H Emery Harry George Emery 37 Groom Harry George Emery
75 3 Mrs Payne Ann Payne 67 John Henry Hathaway
76 3 Eliza Green Elizabeth Green 68 Dressmaker Thomas Brookes
76a 2 Henry Philips 46 Hawker
LUDC Warehouse
79 6 Not mentioned Susan Brookes 68 Lodging House Keeper William Brace
80 Susan Brookes William Brace

To follow the fortunes of No 79/80 and The White Lion in the South Side it is necessary to look at some family history with the names mentioned in the text in bold:

NB The surname appears as Brooks or Brookes in different records.

Joseph Brooks, (1830 ─ 1878), married Susanna née Scull (1840 ─ 1914) in Ledbury in 1861. They had:
Thomas1862 ─ 1941,
Mary Jane 1864 ─ 1947,
Joseph 1866 ─ 1908,
Sarah Amelia 1869 ─ 1870,
Elizabeth 1872 ─ 1957,
Emily Ellen 1878 ─ 1956.

Hannah Brace
Hannah Brace in 1953
Joseph and Susanna are in the Homend as Lodging House Keepers in early 1871. They moved to No 79/80 Bye Street, as Lodging House Keepers, later that year and remained, or at least Susanna did, until at least 1911. Joseph died in 1878 aged just 43, Susanna in 1914.

Thomas, a Fishmonger, married Jane Dobbs (1863 ─ 1917) in Ledbury in March 1883. They had:
Hannah in 1882, (registered under Jane's maiden name, Dobbs.)
Mary Jane in 1884,
Elizabeth in 1886,
Jack in 1888,
Joseph in 1892,
Ellen in 1894,
Charlotte in 1895.
Charles Henry in 1896,
and Robert in 1900 (died 1918).

Hannah married William Brace (1880 ─ 1936) in Ledbury in 1908.
The 1911 census shows William and Hannah both as Fish Hawkers living in 86 Bye Street (qv) with son William (b 1909), they later had Thomas in 1914, Jane in 1921 and Albert in 1925.

The 1861 census shows William Brookes, Inn & Lodging House Keeper is in No79/80.
Born in 1822 he is married to Louisa, b 1826 and they had Charles in 1847 and Jeremiah in 1850, none of these in Ledbury.
Also here are nine male boarders here all railway workers, (this was at the time the railway viaduct was being built) and two female, a weaver and a laundress, doubtless seeing to the men's needs.
It is tempting to think that this William had something to do with the Joseph Brookes mentioned above but I cannot find any link, neither can I be sure who was here in the 1871 census.

It has long been known that there was an Inn in Bye Street known as 'The Horse and Groom' but no one was sure of its whereabouts. This extract tells us it is here.

From the Hereford Times January 12th 1861:
Sunday Beer selling:
William Brookes, of the Horse and Groom public house, Bye street, Ledbury, was charged with keeping his house open for the sale of drink, before half past twelve o'clock on Sunday the 16th ult. Mr Reece appeared for defendant.
Martha Farmer, a neighbour of Brookes's, stated: On the 2nd of Dec. last, about five minutes before eleven on the Sunday morning, I went for quart of ale; I asked him for a quart of beer; he gave it me and I paid him 5d. for it, and I brought the beer away with me.
Cross-examined by Mr. Reece: Defendant has not lived at the house for 12 months; there are lodgers there; I did not tell Mrs. Brooks some months ago I was starved; she never gave me tea or gin; I never asked to wash for her; I recollect Mrs. Brookes throwing water in my house; she abused me; I did not spit in her face; Mrs. Preece did not tell me I ought to have been ashamed; Mrs. Brookes once had a summons for me she told me not to appear; I never told Mrs. Brookes I would do something for her; she cut my line; I did not get a summons for it; I did not say I had got a summons for her; there were parties drinking in the kitchen.
On the part of the defence, Susan Smith and her husband Thos Smith, who were both lodgers at defendant's, were called and stated that they were present on the morning in question, and saw no drink drawn. Fined, including costs, £5.

Social life seemed to be a lot more interesting in those days!

In 1911 Susanna is in No 79/80 Bye Street, a Lodging House, with Thomas and Jane established in the White Lion, a Lodging House, (where Jane died in 1917), the family had something of a monopoly on providing accommodation in Bye Street!
Susanna died in 1914 and by 1920 daughter Hannah and son in law, William Brace are listed at No 79/80.
Thomas is in No 76 Bye Street in 1920, he died in 1941.

William Brace died in 1936 and in 1939 Hannah is still in No 79/80 with children William, Thomas, Jane and Albert.
In the White Lion in 1947, Hannah moved to No 50 Bye Street by 1950 and died there in 1972.
No 80 Bye Street

The number 77 is never used.
There seems to be some confusion over Numbers 79 and 80. In Tilley's in various years one or the other or both numbers are used. I can only conclude that both numbers apply to the large house under discussion and shown here. Maybe there were rooms to let taking a seperate number.

A handsome house it later became the Golden Crown Chinese Restaurant which blew up in a gas explosion in 1983 killing two. It was replaced by the two storey building existing today.
For more on the gas explosion click

William Brace
William Brace.

Between the last house in the row of five (No 75) and the Brookes/Brace lodging house (No 79/80) were possibly two shops now given one number, 76.
Quite small it seems unlikely that anyone ever lived there but they are listed in the 1911 census with No 76 'occupied' by Elizabeth Green, a dressmaker and No 76a 'occupied' by Henry Philips a Hawker.
Thomas Brookes is in No 76 in 1920 according to Tilleys and by 1928 No 78 is occupied by (William) Brace & Son, Fruiterer, they are here until 1974 sometimes in No 76 sometimes in 78.
The number 78 seems to be quietly dropped by 1975 in favour of just No 76 when Griffiths & Tasker are here followed by GT Tool Hire in 1980 and in 1986 Fish 'n' Chips cafe.

Nos 81 to 89 .

Very little can be found out about the early history of this area which follows the front of 'The Hive' today.
Once known as the 'Dirty Hole', it was mainly ancillary buildings for what became the Brewery Inn and described as Stable, Malthouse, Cider Warehouses, Cider Mill-house, Garden and Orchard in 1839.
George Wargent in 'Recollections of Ledbury' tells us that there was a small house on the corner of this lane and Bye Street known as 'The Quiet Woman' kept by John Hardwick. He is here in 1841 and in Back Lane (Church Street), as a brewer in 1851.
This picture, of unknown date, shows the setting of the cottages listed below. There are 9 addresses given and if each cottage needed a chimney there doesn't seem to be enough!
The 1910 survey usually gives a map and schedule for each property, as I have shown before, but it doesn't work out here and the first listing I can produce is the 1911 census (which does include House Numbers).

Bottom of Bye St
Tilley's Almanack does not list occupants of side streets/alleys and this is the case here so I can't add anything from that source. Details from the 1920 Electoral Register are shown. Note that Nos 81 to 85 are not listed.

House No/Name. No of Rooms. 1911 Census. 1920 Register.
81 6 Mary Ann Thomas 61 Caretaker. Not Listed
82 3 George Frederick Watkins 50 General Labourer. Not Listed
83 2 Thomas Tustin 66 Farm Labourer. Not Listed
84 3 John Brown 40 General Labourer Not Listed
85 3 Wm George Lee 35 Farm Labourer Not Listed
86 3 William Brace 31 Fish Hawker. Harry Lane
87 Brewery Orchard 4 Joseph Burton 45 General Labourer Albert Watkins
88 Brewery Orchard 4 William Sturge 43 Roadman George Taylor
89 Brewery Yard 4 Harry Hathaway 35 Coach Painter. John Brookes

These two maps give us a clue about the above:

Map of 1887
Map of 1928

We know that 5 cottages (Nos 81 to 85) are not listed in 1920 and comparing these maps shows that five premises have disappeared by 1928 from the area circled.
The list above, from the 1911 census, is shown in order and I think it is safe to say that the largest property in the bottom left of the circle in the 1886 map, which would be the first the enumerator came across in the section, would be the 6 room cottage (No 81) occupied by Mary Thomas with the next four small cottages (82 to 85) in the same plot. Leaving No 86 unexplained and Brewery Orchard and Yard across the top.

The road profile at the bottom of Bye Street needs some understanding.
The level before the canal was built must have been as that outside the Brewery Inn. When the canal was built in 1842, it was necessary to carry Bye Street across the canal high enough for canal traffic to pass underneath.
To do this the road approach levels were built up on each side giving us the scenario we have today.
Existing buildings, such as No 76 on the left (looking down from the Lower Cross), became below road level and an opportunity arose to build new houses on the right, (Nos 71 to 80) with two storeys at the front and three at the back facing the Brewery Inn. And on the left on the other side of the 'bridge', No 1 Bridge St., built after the canal, has a similar configuration with 3 storeys at the front and four at the back