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Ross-on-Wye

Palace Pound

This building was the Ross Fire Station from around 1906 until sometime in the early 1960's when it moved to its current location right out at the Ashburton end of Gloucester Road. Previously the "fire station" had been under the Market House stairs where the equipment was stored, with a bell to call the firemen when they were needed. There was a long ladder under the Market House, apparently owned by a local builder, that was available for use by the fire brigade when the builder did not need it. There was also a hand drawn ladder which can be seen in many of the old postcard views of the Market House.

Palace Pound (26-2-06)
The Phoenix Theatre
(Click for a larger image)

Palace Pound (26-2-06)
The Palace Pound
(Click for a larger image)

This Palace Pound area is thought to have been one location where livestock markets may have been held and there was a regular pig market here in the 1600's and a cattle market somewhere in the local area.

Some old maps (such as HRO BA31/173) suggest that the market was actually somewhere near where the Phoenix Theatre is now.

To the right in this shot, can be seen the Mock Gothic Walls and the Gazebo Tower.

The area was known as the "Bishop's Court" in around 1730 and this later changed to the Palace Pound, but when Fisher lived here, it had become very run down so Fisher remodeled it and tided the area up.


The wall on the left of this building is believed to be a wall from the Pound Inn, which was a inn that stood here in the 1600's and William Fisher was, at one point, the innkeeper. It is suggested that Lady Mary Chalke (who married John Rudhall) was the original owner of the house that stood there and this later became the "Pound Inn". The building may well have been part of or built out of the material from the Bishop's Palace that covered this area during the Middle Ages.

Royal Hotel (26-2-06)
One of the outbuildings of the Royal Hotel
(Click for a larger image)

Royal Hotel (26-2-06)
The stable block for the Royal Hotel
(Click for a larger image)

The Pound Inn was demolished in the 1837 when James Barrett bought the area and built the Royal Hotel, its stable block, coach house and other outbuildings. James Barrett was the landlord of the Swan Hotel on Edde Cross Street at the time when he opened the Royal.

The Royal was one of the first purpose built hotels in England. Apparently (according to Tales of old Inns - Richard Keverne) there is a foundation stone in the cellars laid by the Freemasons from a local lodge.


Charles Dickens visited the Royal Hotel in 1867 to see his friend, John Forster, and after the two had had an argument in which Forster advised against it, Dickens decided to undertake his Lecture Tour in America which turned into a great success.

The Royal Hotel is a grade two listed building and dominates the popular and famous views of the town from the river Wye.

More details can be found on the Royal Hotel here.

This arch was originally built as the entrance to the stable yard and the sheer size of the yard indicates the importance of the site.

More recently, through the archway used to be a bus depot that was run from the site. On the outside of the wall were a pair of petrol pumps.

Palace Pound (26-2-06)
The arched access to the Royal Hotel courtyard
(Click for a larger image)

Here we see a recent view of the Royal Hotel beside a postcard view, titled "Royal Hotel, Ross" by Norman May, Hereford. In the postcard, the Royal is looking rather shabby as the plaster or paint work is falling or peeling off the upper part of the building. Other than the building being much tidier today, and the addition of the steps on the left up to the bar, very little has changed with the hotel.

Royal Hotel (26-2-06)
The Royal Hotel
(Click for a larger image)
Royal Hotel
A postcard view of the Royal
(Click for a larger image)

Lloyd George

Lloyd George leaving the Royal
Lloyd George leaving the Royal Hotel
[thanks to Richard Mayo]
(Click for a larger image)

This is a postcard (unknown publisher) of Lloyd George leaving the Royal Hotel in Ross. He often used to stop in Ross whilst he was on his way from North Wales to London.


The Gazebo Tower

The Tower, known as 'The Gazebo Tower' was built as a viewing point along with the mock walls in 1833 when Wilton Road was built and it was originally known as 'Collins Tower' as it was built by John Stratford Collins who had his offices and house in Upper Church Street which now known as St. Mary's Street.

It currently (1st March 2006) has planning permission out on it to change the steps up to it and convert it into a dwelling.

Gazebo Tower
The Gazebo Tower
(Click for a larger image)


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






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