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.

Barrett Browning Institute

Pasted Graphic
In 1890, the idea was proposed for a clock tower in High Street as a memorial to Elizabeth Barrett-Browning, one of the three famous poets associated with Ledbury. A committee was formed and in 1891 a mock-up tower was erected. Following concern that siting the tower in the middle of the street would cause congestion, an old tan yard, formerly a house belonging to the Hankins family and in medieval times a bakery, was donated for the scheme. By then, the original plan had become ambitious. Designs were invited; forty-five entries were received, and George Hill, a local builder, submitted the lowest tender. The official opening of the Memorial Clock Tower and Institute was in 1896. In 1938, the Institute took on the public library. In 1963, Pevsner described the building as ‘really terrible’.

Cattle Market

Ledbury Cattle Market postcard LHS Cattle Market
Market Street was opened in 1887 by the Ledbury Markets and Fairs Company. It served the new, purpose-built cattle market and was accessed from both New Street and Bye Street, Market Street s still a private, unadopted road.

The Cattle Market closed in 1999, the market site was sold and later redeveloped for a new health centre and doctor's surgery.

During the redevelopment, evaluation trenches were dug to investigate the possible presence of medieval deposits in the area currently occupied by the Cattle Market. Medieval features were seen in both the backland trenches and on the Bye Street frontage.

The central area of the site produced what appeared to be a medieval agricultural soil layer. Only the trench on the New Street frontage failed to produce medieval finds but the area here had been cleaned down for the construction of Market Street.

Another report from Marches Archaeology in 2002 recorded archaeological features were almost exclusively found on the Bye Street frontage and the associated backlands.
Pottery from the site suggests that late prehistoric and Roman activity took place somewhere within the vicinity of the site, but no prehistoric or Roman features were found, the earliest dating to the 12th and 13th centuries.

In the 14th and 15th centuries both sides of Bye Street were built up; the backlands on the S. side of Bye Street being used for domestic or commercial use.

In the 17th century the backlands were no longer being used for the same purpose; by this time the land was being used for horticulture, possibly as orchards as the land was later used in the 18th and 19th centuries.

A brook recorded on a map of 1788 shown running along the middle of Bye Street was culverted in the early 19th century.

Market Street opened

Market Street was opened in 1887 by the Ledbury Markets and Fairs Company. It served the new, purpose-built cattle market and was accessed from both New Street and Bye Street. it is still a private, unadopted road.