Fire Brigade

At the turn of the twentieth century, Mr Hopkins, landlord of the Royal Oak Hotel, was in charge of Ledbury Fire Brigade. The brigade was summoned by ringing the bell at St Katherine’s. The Great Western Railway drays would be unhitched and taken in a mad dash to Church Street where they were harnessed to the fire engine. The next chief was Mr Gurney, a local surveyor who also owned Ledbury quarry, which supplied the lorry to tow the steamer fire engine, affectionately known as ‘Little Nell’. In 1924, George Hopkins & Sons converted a 1912 Austin into a towing vehicle. In 1932 a Bedford was specially constructed as a towing vehicle, which served for twenty-four years.

After the Fire Station in Church Street relocated to what is now known as the Old Ambulance Station in Bye Street, the building in Church Street was taken over by the Ledbury branch of the Royal British Legion.

Brewery Inn

A seventeenth-century building, the Brewery Inn, originally the Boat Inn or Boatman’s Arms, probably became licensed premises after the closure of a nearby lodging house for the canal workers – that house became the Golden Crown Chinese restaurant.

To the east of the Brewery Inn, it is said there used to be a small thatched cottage. The neighbouring cottages were demolished when the ambulance and fire stations were built. The building to the left of the inn is the Youth Centre, scheduled for closure in 2013 and whose future is yet to be decided.