Tybridge Street

  • 21 Oct 2021
  • Historical Studies
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For centuries the street called Tybridge Street was the principal entrance into Mid-Wales, and consequently it was the scene of many bloody affrays with the Welsh and other medieval armies needing to use the strategic crossing of the Severn. In 1651, a fierce delaying action was fought here by the Royalist forces. Although it is one continuous street, it was known as Cripplegate and Turkey, and only received the present name in comparatively recent times. Cripplegate comes from the ancient gate at the top of the street, whilst Turkey is considered to have been a corruption of Tower-quay.

There was in olden times, a long established colony of Welshmen settled in the western suburbs around the bridgehead. This may have been due to the fact that 'No Welshman, whole born in Wales, or having father and mother born in Wales, could purchase lands and tenements within the town of Worcester.' And to stop moonlight escapes, 'kepars of water of Severn shall not conveye in their ferie botes any manner of person, goods, or cattels, after the son going down till the son be up.' ( spelling as per the times - not errors).

During the troublesome days when Owen Glendower burnt the Tybridge suburbs in 1401, no Welshman was allowed into the city carrying arms. 'A letter of 17966, describing Worcester, stated that 'one part of the town is inhabited by Welsh people, who speak their own language'.

The street was a particularly busy one where nails and tobacco pipes were manufactured. There were rope walks where the ropes used by the bow-hauliers on the Severn were made. Griffith's Rope Works extended to the Chequer's Lane, and was acquired by John & Co and from a shop in Broad Street, they sold ropes until after the 1939 War. At the bridgehead on the south side was William's Distillery, which from 1750 made spirits. Their gin was said to be unsurpassed in England. The Rectifying House on the other side of the river also belonged to them.   

Like all dock areas there were many pubs and squalid houses. On the corner with Hylton Road was the Bear Inn, a house belonging to the parish and used for adjourned vestry meetings and drinking bouts. By way of a change they used the Apple Tree, the Mug House, or the Duke of Cumberland's Head, and all around were crowded courts of hovels. The most notorious and insanitary was the court known as 'The Pinch', in which the Cholera first appeared.