LOST BUILDINGS OF WINCHCOMBE



 


 


 

From about 1942, there was a POW camp in the grounds of Sudeley Castle. It held first Italian, then Austrian and finally German prisoners of war.The last Germans did not get home until 1948, and had become a familiar siight around Winchcombe. After the war the huts were briefly used for summer camps helping with the harvest, as well as allowing the volunteers to have a good time. There is no sign of the camp now.

Rathmore House just before it was pulled down. Rathmore Close and Bassett Close are now on the site. Among other residents were Rev. Robert Noble Jackson, the ex-naval chaplain who oversaw the refurbishment of the church 1870-1873, and Wiliam Bassett Green, a rich industrialist. He came after his house in Coventry was destroyed in the bombing in 1940. He gave a Spitfire to the RAF and  the statue of Lady Godiva to Coventry among other things..He also wrote poetry and children's books

These old cottages were at the bottom of Hailes Street beyond murder alley. The photograph  dates from about 1904, when they were already considered unfit to live in and they were pulled down before the First world War.

There are references to a corn mill in Winchcombe belonging to the abbey in the Domesday book. It was rebuilt later, but remained the main corn mill in the town, even after the dissolution of the abbey.

It had a bakery and poorer people without ovens could take food there to be cooked for them.  The building had been altered to meet the needs of the war, and after old fashioned methods were not wanted.The mill was pulled down in 1973, before protection could be considered.

Winchcombe had had a workhouse from the middle of the eighteenth century, but this was built in 1836, to take in the poor from all parts of the'Union'.of 29 villages who would share the cost. Condition were harsh, to discourage people from going, and to keep the poor rate down. The inmates were often old people, orphan children, the disabled ,single mothers and 'tramps' Bessie Hall went there in 1836 as a child, classed as an 'imbecile', and spent virtually all her life there, dying in 1915 when she was 88 years old - one of the longest ever residents, It was on the site of the sheltered housing and Day Centre.

The wood yard was where the fire station now stands in the Grettton Road- very important at a time when so much was made from wood. At the end of the nineteenth century,it was run by the MacQueen family, - William MacQueen was a Scottish timber merchant who had married the daughter of the previous owner. Apart from the huge supplies of timber, he had a sawpit there, drying sheds and stables. Horses were an essential part of the timber business, hauling in supplies and delivering the prepared wood. The MacQeens also employed carpenters there who could make up orders.

Winchcombe's cinema was in the old tannery in Silk Mill Lane,  converted by Mr Barnard from Cheltenham. It was  opened  on Boxing Day 1933. by Sir Philip Stott from Stanton. A bus service operated to collect film fans from the villages in time to see the film, and take them home afterwards. After the war German POWs gave concerts here. There was also a good dance hall with sprung floor. The cinema closed in the 1960s, when the last of the Barnard family died and no-one could be found to take it over.

The swimming pool was created by diverting the Beesmoor brook at the bottom of Sudeley Castle Street. There had been proposals for a swimming bath in Winchcombe to commemorate Queen Victoria's .Jubilee in 1887, but nothing came of it. In 1897 Emma Dent offered £400 to divert the brook to make the swimming pool, with a diving board and spring board. It was very popular and much used with swimming galas and competitions. After the Second World War, problems of maintenance and cleanliness, meant that it was eventually closed.

The Winchcombe Nursery opened in Back Lane on April 14, 1943 to look after the children of local mothers who were working.for the war effort. It had places for 40 children, with an average daily attendance of 32. It was run by the County Council with a matron, senior sister and 8 care staff, for children from 3 months to 5 years. Mothers paid a shilling (5p) a day. There was great emphasis on healthy outdoor activities.

The station at Winchcombe for the new railway line was built for the opening of the line in 1905. In the 1930s, passengers could park outside the original Winchcombe station.This did not survive the closure of the line under Dr Beeching..The line closed in 1976, and the station was pulled down. When the Gloucestershire Warwickshire Steam Railway began work to restore the line in 1984, they had to re-build a station at Winchcombe, and the one which is there today was the station at Troy in Monmouth, dismanlled and bought stone by stone to Winchcombe, in 1987.

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