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Ross-on-Wye

Gloucester Road

Gloucester Road, Ross-on-Wye, (originally known as New Gloucester Road) was not built until 1825 after controversy between King George IV and the town in 1821. [ more details ]


It then became the main road to London replacing Old Gloucester Road (hence the use of the 'New' in New Gloucester Road).

Originally there was a hollow around 5-6 metres deep between where the entrance to the Chase Hotel is now and the Market House giving a steep rise up to the Market Place.

When Gloucester Road was built, embankments were built over this and it was filled in make the slope much shallower and this presumably resulted in some buildings along Gloucester Road needing steps down to their entrances at the original ground floor level. This resulted in the gardens at the back of the buildings still being at the original ground level but the road at the front being in line with the first floor.

By 1851 only nine trades people were listed as being in New Gloucester Road and in 1897 the southern side of Gloucester Road was still relatively undeveloped with lots of single storey buildings along its length leading out rapidly to fields and orchards at around the point that Chase Road joins Gloucester Road.


National Provincial Bank
Natwest that used to be the National Provincial Bank
(Click for a larger image)

One of the first buildings on Gloucester Road is the Natwest Bank. This used to be the National Provincial Bank.

The National Provincial Bank was founded in late 1833 and its first branch opened in Gloucester in early 1834. It was conceived as a national bank, with branches across both England and Wales and so by 1836 there were over 20 branches from Cardiff right across the country to Ipswich and with it's admin office in London, it was able to issue its own bank notes.



Expansion continued, by both opening new branches and taking over much smaller local banking companies, such that by 1900 there were 250 branches and this expansion continued until in 1918 when it joined with the Union of London & Smiths Bank. It then became the National Provincial & Union Bank of England. Following this, in 1924, this name was shortened to the National Provincial Bank again and then in 1970 it merged with Westminster Bank to create National Westminster Bank (Natwest) and the National Provincial Bank building is still the Natwest Bank in the present day.



National Provincial Bank Seal
A seal from the National Provincial Bank from
a letter issued by the Ross-on-Wye branch
(Click for a larger image)

Looking east down Gloucester Road
Looking east along Gloucester Road
(Click for a larger image)

Looking east along Gloucester Road towards the Ashburton end of Ross-on-Wye. The Edinburgh Wool Shop and a few of the shops along the line of Gloucester Road used to be where the George Hotel and several other buildings were sited until they were knocked down in 1960 in order to make George Place and the buildings housing the aforementioned shops were then built.

Prior to the 19th century building of Gloucester Road, the area now to the left of Gloucester Road and covered by Gloucester Road near to the Market House was known as Under Helle which was then redeveloped.


This is a photo postcard of the "George Hotel and Garage, Ross". This was on the corner of the High Street and Gloucester Road.

The George Hotel was known to have existed pre 1549 and its layout probably changed when Gloucester Road was built in 1825.

It was demolished in 1960 when it was replaced by the eleven shops that now make up George Place.

More on the George Hotel

George Hotel
A postcard of the George Hotel in Ross
[unknown publisher]
(Click for a larger image)

Looking north-west Gloucester Road
Looking north west along Gloucester Road
(Click for a larger image)

Looking north west back along Gloucester Road towards the Market House.


One of the older shops on the south side of Gloucester Road. To the right you can see the end of one of the shops that was built when George Place was built.

A shop on Gloucester Road
A shop on the south side of Gloucester Road
(Click for a larger image)

A north side shop on Gloucester Road
A shop on the north side of Gloucester Road
(Click for a larger image)

Opposite on the north side is another of the older shop fronts in Gloucester Road, it is currently a Chinese. On the bottom left you can see the railings that shield the steps leading down to the lower floor from the level of the street.


Here we see the back of some of the shops on Gloucester Road. The wooden structure built out of the back is at street level therefore showing the extent to which the road was raised up above the natural level of the land.

The back of the Gloucester Road shops
The back of a shop on the north side of Gloucester Road
(Click for a larger image)

Post Office
The site of what was the post office
The site of the Post Office in Gloucester Road
(Click for a larger image)

A bit further along is the site of the old Post Office in Ross that was built in 1899 which closed in 1999 and was converted into 'The Mail Rooms' pub in 2001 after laying empty for short time. This was one of the first two storey buildings to be built on the south side of Gloucester road and was surrounded by single storey ones when it was completed. It was an extremely unpopular place to build the Post Office as at the time the centre of the town was up by the Market House and it was thought that the new Post Office was too far out of town.

I remember entering the building and the front five meters of the building was the public area with the serving hatches and desk running across the building running parallel to Gloucester Road. The rest of the building was the sorting office.


James Brothers Ironmongers

Next to the Post Office was James Brothers Ironmongers (now the HSBC bank). This was a large open fronted shop used for displaying their wares. They lived somewhere up Ledbury Road opposite the turning to Three Crosses Road. Below is an example of a bed warmer as made by the James Brothers.

James Brothers logo
James Brothers logo
(Click for a larger image)
James Brothers bed warmer
James Brothers bed warmer
(Click for a larger image)

I have just had a small update from a friend of mine who said:


Quoted from 'Ms. V. Merrett'
"Herbert James was my Grandfather (maternal). He was the last James to own the store, and sold it after his father died. He did indeed live on Ledbury Road, a bit further up [from the end of Three Crosses Road]. He moved to the family home on Walford Road after his father died."


Ross United Reformed Church
Ross United Reformed Church
The site of the Ross United Reformed Church
(Click for a larger image)

On the north side is the site of the Ross United Reformed Church. The foundation stone was laid on 3rd June 1867 by H. O. Wills of Bristol and it was completed and opened on 21st July 1868 by Rev Newman Hill of Surrey and it was Congregational chapel and it became the United Reformed Church in 1971. It finally closed late in the 20th century and has since been converted into an antiques centre but the interior still holds much of its character. In 2011 it became a number of small shops selling various items like a sweet shop, cafe, baby clothes and jewellery and then in 2012-2013 it was converted into flats.

It is built out of local red sandstone with Bath stone dressings and it's arches are made of stone brought from the Forest of Dean.


The building is quite prominent when looking back towards the town from the north side of Ross (like the view here from Vaga Crescent).

Ross United Reformed Church from Vaga Crescent
The Ross United Reformed Church as seen from Vaga Crescent
(Click for a larger image)

The rear of the Ross United Reformed Church
The Ross United Reformed Church building
(Click for a larger image)

The back of the church is quite an interesting design. There also used to be stables here so that the members of the congregation could safely leave their horses.


Kyrle Picture Palace

The site of the Kyrle Picture Palace [ more details ]. This was then replaced by this retail building which was the Fine Fare supermarket until the early 1980's, the doors of which are still present (see picture below), and has since been a couple of housewares stores.

Fine Fare (24-9-06)
The Fine Fare doors
(Click for a larger image)
Kyrle Picture Palace
The site of the Kyrle Picture Palace
(Click for a larger image)

Butcher and Casson
Cantilupe Road and Gloucester Road junction
The junction between Cantilupe Road and Gloucester Road
(Click for a larger image)

These buildings are built on the junction of Gloucester Road and Henry Street. They are currently Like's Florist and Wye Electrical Services but they both used to belong to Mr. Casson who was a coach builder during the end of the 19th century and early 20th century. Mr Casson produced many elegant coaches often seen around the town. The business prospered until the motor car took the place of the horse drawn coach. The window seen under the sunblind on the left of the shot was not there in 1906 but had been added by 1931 by which time the building had been converted into a shop.


Butcher and Casson advert
An advert for Butcher and Casson taken from a
"1914 Official Programme for Ross Regatta"
(Click for a larger image)

This building, also on the junction of Gloucester Road and Cantilupe Road, has had many uses often involving cars.

In 1906 it was a garage used by Mr. Butcher, who had already established his own garage down in Brookend Street (and who also built his own airplane in 1910), and he joined forces with Mr. Casson to form Butcher & Casson Ltd. They produced a wide range of hand-built motor vehicles, from cars to various vans to small lorries all built to order by the ten man team. They then exhibited their vehicles and cars in the road for all to see.

During the 1950's this was the primary school canteen, and this occupied both the upper and lower floors with a dumb waiter between the floors.

The Cantilupe Road and Gloucester Road junction
The junction between Cantilupe Road and Gloucester Road
(Click for a larger image)

It was then H&L Motor Cycles which was owned by Mr. Crocker who lived in the house next to the shop that is now "Obilash" Indian restaurant (the red brick one in the left hand photo below).

It was also a carpet shop but in 1980 it's car association continued as "Ross Car Sales". This closed and has since become Clarke Roxburgh who are Financial Planning and Insurance Brokers.

A view west along Gloucester Road
(Click for a larger image)

These are various views west up Gloucester Road towards the Market House from the entrance to the Chase Hotel.


Back along Gloucester Road
(Click for a larger image)
Gloucester Road Ross-on-Wye
(Click for a larger image)

The view east down Gloucester Road from the opposite side of the road to the Chase hotel. To the right is the grounds belonging to the Chase Hotel and to the immediate left used to be the cottage hospital and further on are various large houses. In the distance is the post box at the junction with Smallbrook Road. At that point, in the bottom of the dip, is likely to be approximately where the original line of Old Gloucester Road met with the current line of the current Gloucester Road which then led out of the town towards Weston-Under-Penyard.

East along Gloucester Road
East along Gloucester Road
(Click for a larger image)

Ross Cottage Hospital
The site of the Cottage Hospital
The entrance to the site of the Cottage Hospital
(Click for a larger image)

This is the entrance to the site of the Ross Cottage Hospital, this has now been demolished to make room for a large complex of elderly persons residences.


This is a postcard view of the Cottage Hospital that was demolished after being replaced by the Ross Community Hospital on Alton Street.

Ross Cottage Hospital
A postcard view of the Cottage Hospital
[Published by Burrows, Cheltenham]
(Click for a larger image)

Chase Hotel
Chase Hotel entrance
The entrance to the Chase Hotel
(Click for a larger image)

The entrance to the Chase Hotel.

The grounds have been used for various town activities for many years. Today, the site is used for launching hot air balloons and firework displays to name a few uses but in the early 1900's it was used for Sunday School outings. The Sunday School was attended by most of the children of the town and had at least five teachers. It was a serious business and was very well attended.


These are some views of the large houses opposite the Chase grounds.

Houses opposite the Chase Hotel
(Click for a larger image)
Houses opposite the Chase Hotel
(Click for a larger image)

Gloucester Road
East along Gloucester Road
(Click for a larger image)

The view east along Gloucester Road from the junction opposite Smallbrook Road.

To the right, in the grounds of what is now the Chase Hotel, was the Chest's Mill or Chace Mill.

The Chest's Mill was operating at the end of the 17th Century, and was built sometime before that. It built as a Grist Mill, used for grinding grain into flour. By the mid-18th Century it had become Chace Mill but it had fallen into disrepair by 1813 and was known as Chase Mill by then.


The "Chase" house and offices was built between 1831, when the Mill had become disused, and by 1840 and the mill buildings had been completely removed by 1886 leaving only the ponds which remain today.

The view west back towards Smallbrook Road and east towards Ashburton from the brow of the hill in Gloucester Road. In the centre of the picture are the junctions with Ryefield Road (on the left) and Camp Road (on the right - converted in 2005 to a restricted access road).

West back along Gloucester Road
West back along Gloucester Road
(Click for a larger image)
Gloucester Road
East along Gloucester Road
(Click for a larger image)

The view east along Gloucester Road from just beyond the junctions with Ryefield Road and Camp Road.

By the junctions with Ryefield Road and Camp Road
East along Gloucester Road
(Click for a larger image)

Gloucester Road Ross-on-Wye (14-1-06)
An house on Gloucester Road
(Click for a larger image)

This house on Gloucester Road, is an example of the more grandiose houses on Gloucester Road. From the remains of the sign seen to the right of the entrance, it looks like this one used to be a guesthouse or hotel although I think it has now been converted into flats.


The site of the Texaco Development on Gloucester Road. Opposite this is the end of Alton Street. It looks very different already!!

What was the Texaco Garage
The Texaco Development on Gloucester Road
(Click for a larger image)

Gloucester Road Ross-on-Wye (14-1-06)
An example of a house on Gloucester Road
(Click for a larger image)

This house, at the junction between Alton Street and Gloucester Road, is another example of the more grandiose houses on Gloucester Road.


This building, currently used by "Heli-Beds" (and previously "Beds Direct") who are bedroom furniture dealers, was, from the early 1960's until the late 1990's, the site of the headquarters of "WOLF Tools for Garden and Lawn" in Britain. WOLF Tools were, at the time, the manufacturers of the world's most comprehensive range of garden tools and lawn care equipment. Behind this was a building using the modern (in the 1960's) production methods to produce the tools. The site boasted a large showroom and extensive trial grounds (which were to the left of the building) in order to "try before you buy". It also had a Garden Advisory Department to give expert advice on garden problems and tool advice.

Gloucester Road Ross-on-Wye (7-1-06)
The former site of WOLF Tools headquarters
(Click for a larger image)

Here we see the roundabout at the end of Gloucester Road where it meets the bypass and the A40 continues to Gloucester.

The end of Gloucester Road Ross-on-Wye
The eastern end of Gloucester Road
(Click for a larger image)



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[Page updated: Feb 25 2014 22:30:55]






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