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Ross-on-Wye

Brookend Street

Brookend Street, Ross-on-Wye, runs approximately north - south from Five Ways (Brookend) to Kyrle Street.

This area of town has always had a reputation for flooding either because the Wye overflows or, more often, just because its the lowest part of the town meaning that the drains overflow as they just cannot handle the sheer volume of water.

Even though it has always had this reputation, it used to be an area full of industry. In the mid-nineteenth century, Brookend Street is listed as having several bakers, a basket maker, several makers of boots and shoes, a butchers, several cabinet maker and carpenters and joiners, several coach builders, several confectioners, a coopers (probably related to the Barrel Inn), a dairy man, a dressmaker, a miller (Two Mills), a gas fitter, several grocers and tea dealers, a haberdashers, a haulier, a herring curer, two inns (The Barrel and Green Dragon), an iron and brass Founders/ironmongers (Blakes 2nd shop), several locksmiths and bellhangers, a marine store dealer, a provision dealer, a salt dealer several, general shopkeepers and a solicitors. Some of these might have been been doubled up in some cases where a single shop is listed in several categories, but all this was done in a relatively small street!!


The view south from Five Ways down Brookend Street.

To the left is George E. Nicholls hardware shop. Mr. Nicholls died at the start of April 2002 and will be remembered for over 50 years of charity work in Ross and as the 'father' of the Ross Urban District Council which he was the chairman of in 1957 and was also chairman of the authority's public health and housing committee.

He was around 93 and had had 77 years of experience in the hardware trade and he was renowned as the oldest working ironmonger in the country.

Looking south down Brookend Street
Looking south down Brookend Street from Five Ways
(Click for a larger image)

The mill entrance from Brookend Street
An entrance to the Mill on Brookend Street from Five Ways
(Click for a larger image)

The side of the mill, called Town Mill or Two Mills, that was situated on Five Ways and partly on Brookend Street.


Some of the old houses that line Brookend Street. The one on the left used to be Fritz Fryer Lighting from 1982 until it moved to Station Street in the late 1990's when Mr. Fryer sold the business as a going concern.

Prior to being Fritz Fryer Lighting, the shop was an antiques shop called "Barry Cotton Antiques".

In the 50's this was Williams bakers, who also owned Central Cafe - the bakery had moved here from somewhere around Five Ways sometime earlier.

In the 1980's or 1990's, Stuart Preedy had a car repair workshop behind the buildings and used the arch just to the right of the site of Fritz Fryer Lighting, to access his workshop.

Old buildings on Brookend Street
Old buildings on the side of the street
(Click for a larger image)

Looking along Brookend Street
Brookend Street
(Click for a larger image)

The view down Brookend Street towards the point where Station Street joins it and further on towards the point where it meets Broad Street.


I believe the building shown in the left-hand picture below, which is currently split into a kebab and burger shop and a dry cleaners, is the site of the Green Dragon Inn. The timber framed building in the right hand picture is currently an antiques shop.

The shop that is currently the launderette, was in the 50's, Alf Taylors Transport Cafe and to the left of that was Clifts Bakers.

Brookend Street
(Click for a larger image)

Millbrook House

Millbrook House was built by Edward Prichard and the family were Quakers and well to-do tanners. Their descendants lived there for many years and on 11th February 1786, Dr. James Cowles Prichard was born there. Dr. James Cowles Prichard qualified as a doctor in 1810 and went on to be an internationally renowned doctor of diseases of the nervous system. He also learnt and mastered a dozen languages, was a world leader in anthropology and was one of the founders of the Ethnological Society. He died in 1848 and was then buried in Sellack.

Millbrook House Ross-on-Wye
Millbrook House
(Click for a larger image)

His father was Thomas Prichard, a glover, poet and ardent Quaker from Ross, was referred to as 'The Patriarch of Ross' (in his obituary of 1843) and was a major promoter of the Lancastrian School which was held in the Market House.

Millbrook House
Millbrook House
(Click for a larger image)

Gardner Butcher Garage

The building below was originally owned by George and William Butcher and was a bicycle shop. As cars became more popular in the early 1900's, they converted it into the first car showroom in Ross called "The Motor House". About this time, Mr. Butcher also took a partnership with Mr. Casson who was at the top of Henry Street and the junction with Gloucester Road producing a wide range of motor vehicles.

The cars originally had to go into The Motor House through a much larger doorway where currently the small door and "Sales, Service and Repairs" sign can be seen in the left hand picture. This was because the current rear access, the gates to the right of the garage, used to lead to the Ross Electric Light and Power Company generating works.

Behind the garage is a small building that housed a airplane (a bi-plane) that was built by the Butchers and a few other enthusiasts in 1910. It resembled, maybe unsurprisingly knowing the Butchers background, a tricycle with wings attached and a small engine and propeller on the back.

Gardner Butcher Garage
(Click for a larger image)

By 1936, the Garage had had petrol pumps fitted to the pavement outside of the garage.

By 1929, this had become "W. Butcher & Sons", as can be seen by the advert taken from a 1929 Official Programme for Ross Regatta, and it has since become Gardner Butcher Garages.

W. Butcher & Sons advert
W. Butcher & Sons advert from a
1929 Official Programme for Ross Regatta
(Click for a larger image)

George Butcher's son was called Chappie and he used to live at 2 Woodview Lane (he then moved to Cantilupe Road, just down from the cafe). My father also lived at No.2 and he remembers that when they moved in, there was a telephone isolator on the wall and it seems that Chappie was probably one of the first people in Ross to have a telephone.


The Ross Electric Light and Power Company

The Ross Electric Light and Power Company ran a power supply all around the town in 1902 and were competing with the Ross Gas Company which was located in Kyrle Street. The RELPC was taken over by Shropshire, Worcestershire and Staffordshire Electric Supply Company who supplied the whole area and they then closed the site in Ross and thus the gateway became the rear access to the garage.


East side of Brookend Street Ross-on-Wye
East side of Brookend Street
(Click for a larger image)

Some of the buildings that are opposite the garage.

The red brick building was "Langford's Dining Rooms" in 1936, and this was renowned for doing really good food.


The site of the Brookend Street Post Office that was next to the garage. This was owned by George and William Butcher and was where their influence in Ross started. The Butchers moved to Ross in the 1860's and started out doing clock and watch repairs and then moved into bicycle assembly, sales and repairs and hence this led to the garage.

This Post Office much later passed into my family (on the Clarke side) and has since closed, the last record I have of it is in a 1984 Ross-on-Wye Guide and Directory. Other than a charity shop in a room at this end of the building, the premises has been empty ever since. The post office used to sell wool, and it is listed as a 'Wool Shop' in the 1984 Ross-on-Wye Guide and Directory. In 1984 it was owned and run by F.E. Phelps and I remember vising their with my grand mother when she used to shop there.

Site of Brookend Street Post Office
The site of the Brookend Street Post Office
(Click for a larger image)

The side of Brookend Street Post Office
The site of the Brookend Street Post Office
(Click for a larger image)

Here above the side window, the name "Clarke" can just be made out. This is because the last propriators were Robert (Bob) Clarke, who was a cousin of mine, and Anne Clarke who was his wife.


In the right hand picture below, the entrance to the Red Meadow car park, just between the foreground tree and the site of the Post Office, used to be the site of the 2nd Blakes shop in Ross, along with the one on the corner of Station Street, and the building was demolished to make way for the car park.

Further to the left of the shot, where the small shop is now, used to be the Barrel Brewery and Inn [ more info].

Views back up Brookend Street towards Five Ways
(Click for a larger image)

North up Brookend Street
Looking north up Brookend Street
(Click for a larger image)

The view back up from the current end of Brookend Street from where Station Street, Brookend Streeet and Broad Street meet.

Originally Brookend Street extended much further up the hill possibly right up to the Market Place before the layout of the town was changed and Broad Street came into being.



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[Page updated: Feb 15 2011 13:31:58]






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