A tribute to the life and work of Brian Torode
This story of Tivoli has been written after several years of collecting material both written and oral, about one of Cheltenham’s most attractive areas. It is not written as an academic study, but as a tour of an area which will be of interest to the inhabitants of this part of the town as well as to the casual visitor. Much of the information has been borrowed from the wealth of histories of Cheltenham and from Parish Magazines, which contain many details about persons living in the parish since the Church was built. In addition the resources of the Cheltenham Reference Library, the Gloucester Library Local Studies Collection and the Gloucester Record Office have provided much original material.
I am also indebted to the reminiscences of the late John Crook of Tivoli Street and of Mr Alfred James of Lypiatt Street; to Mr Eric Williams for suggestions and resources placed at my disposal; to Janet Johnstone for the information relating to Cheltenham Ladies’ College; and to the many `locals’ who have supplied hitherto unpublished details about Tivoli and its people.
Mr Roger Beacham and the staff at the Cheltenham Reference Library have been of invaluable assistance and always cheerfully responsive to the many demands I have made of them. This applies equally to the staff at Gloucester Record Office and Gloucester Local Studies Library. To them all my sincere thanks.
To Michael Staite who has spent many hours providing guidance and pratical computer assistance I am extremely indebted as I am also to Richard Barton for his invaluable assistance with research assistance and proofreading.
To the many Tivoli residents who have encouraged me in the production of this book, I am indeed most appreciative and hope that their enthusiasm has been justified.
Since the publication of the first edition of this study, much new material has come to light and corrections and additions have been made where appropriate. However, any errors are my responsibility and I would welcome notification of these, as well as any additional information which readers may care to share with me.Brian Torode. 1998. Revised and updated 2005.
The story of the discovery of the mineral waters followed by the visit of King George III to Cheltenham in 1788 is well known and does not need repeating, but between that visit and the middle of the nineteenth century, the population of the town increased tenfold. The massive rise in the number of residents included many who came to seek employment as coachmen, laundresses, domestic servants and tradesmen. This influx gave rise to an urgent need for cheap dwellings where these people could live, bring up a family and in many cases set up their business from home.
Up to 1820 many houses had been constructed to welcome the wealthy who had come to Cheltenham in order to benefit from the curative properties of the spa waters. Estates in areas now so familiar to us as Lansdown, Pittville, Suffolk Road and The Park were all under construction between 1823 and 1850. In the words of Bryan Little, “Detached or semi-detached villas became as popular as terraces.” (1) They were built in the very select districts of the rapidly expanding town, amongst which was Tivoli, between Lansdown and The Park, “itself an area of sophisticated villadom.” (2) These developing areas, planned or completed, are clearly illustrated on Merrett’s 1834 map and in the Cheltenham Looker On (CLO) of that year, Tivoli is mentioned in a survey of new buildings in the town. Three houses were under construction and a further four completed but not yet occupied. (3) These properties were in what is today, Tivoli Road.
The district which we refer to as Tivoli is part of the ancient Parish Tything of Westal, Naunton and Sandford, purchased in 1779 by John de la Bere from the Earl of Essex. At the turn of the eighteenth century, the estate was sold again, part being purchased by the Earl of Suffolk and part by Henry Thompson. Today’s Tivoli straddles both these holdings and the field pattern in the de la Bere sale plan is clearly maintained in the street pattern of modern Tivo1i. (4) A question which frequently arises is, “Why Tivoli?” and one can only guess, for want of concrete evidence, that after making ‘The Grand Tour of Europe,’ an early settler in this part of the town introduced the name in conversation as he recalled the magnificent sights which had been seen in the gardens of the Villa d’Este in the little town of Tivoli just outside Rome. Old maps and plans in the Gloucestershire Record Office (GRO) and in the Local Studies Department of the Cheltenham Reference Library, (CRL) clearly identify many ponds and lakes in the area especially near the boundary between Tivoli and The Park. As we shall see later, some of the 1840s houses in The Park did indeed boast what might be described as water gardens, but which came first, the water gardens or the name Tivoli, is a matter of conjecture.
It would be foolish to define too rigidly the boundary of Tivoli but a report by the Borough Engineer in 1908 neatly describes the district as, “situate in the north west corner of the south eastern district of Cheltenham.” (5) The Report then lists the following roads: St Stephen’s Road, Tivoli Place, Hatherley Street, Lypiatt Street and Passage, Tivoli Street, Princes Road, Oakfleld Street, Albany Road, Dagmar Road and Alexander (sic) Street. The Post Office Directory 1891, describes a much vaguer area: “Tivoli, leading from Suffolk Square to The Park, via Tivoli Circus”. In response to a dispute in 1971, the Commissioners of the Church of England confirmed the boundary of the Ecclesiastical Parish of Saint Stephen, Tivoli, as shown on the accompanying map, (6) and it is with this larger area that we are concerned. Excursions over this parish boundary will be made only where connections with the Church of St Stephen or the ecclesiastical parish make it interesting to do so.
As early as 1845, Rowe’s Guide described Tivoli as “a fashionable suburb” (7) but one must bear in mind that he was no doubt referring to the larger houses in Tivoli Road, Hatherley Road and The Park even. Davies’ Guide to Cheltenham of 1843 confirms the building boom of the previous ten years, “when new buildings rose with a rapidity perfectly surprising between 1831 and 1841 in Tivoli and other areas of private residences.” (8)A contemporary description of Andover Road is found in the CLO for 1834: “Along the line of the rail road fronting Westal an entirely new town appears rapidly springing up and already fifteen neat houses are either wholly or partly-built. These are intended for the accommodation of persons in the middle rank of life who will here be enabled to pursue their respective trades and callings, and by the establishment of shops, prove a great convenience to this increasing neighbourhood.” (9) It seems appropriate to begin this tour of Tivoli therefore, at Westal. For purposes of consistency the modern spelling of Westal will be used, although through the ages, Westal, Westhall and Westall have all been used.
Westal means a western nook of land and was part of one of the three Cheltenham Tythings of Medieval times. These were Cheltenham itself: Arle and Alstone; Westal, Naunton and Sandford. The boundary of Westal is difficult to define but it roughly followed the Hatherley Road, zigzagging around the edge of Merestones and Westal Court grounds and continued east through Westal Furlong towards Park Place. In the 12th century it was a separate manor and a prosperous farm in the sixteenth century. It was at this period that Westal featured obliquely in an event of national history which is not as widely reported as it might be.
It is well known that under Queen Mary, Bloody Mary, the Bishop of Gloucester, Bishop John Hooper, was burnt at the stake in 1555 for his religious – Calvinist – beliefs. What is not so well known is that an owner of property in Westal suffered a similar fate the following year, although the actual details of his connection with Cheltenham are somewhat blurred. In the Cheltenham Manor Court Rolls for 17th April 1556, (GRO D855/MI/Vol I p22) there is the following entry;
“It was presented that John Coberley a customary tenant of the Manor (of Cheltenham ) who held a messuage and fourteen acres of land in Westal, was lately attainted and burnt for divers heresies and false opinions, namely before the Feast of Annunciation of the Virgin last past at Salisbury, whereby he forfeited his lands to the Lady of the Manor, the Queen. The Lady of the Manor had a heriot of the best beast. The land went to Robert (Trillo or Ible ?)”
In the margin of the page is a contemporary note stating that “the presentation was illegal there being no forfeiture in such cases and was afterwards set aside. Alice, Coberley’s widow, took that land with her to her second husband Robert who was admitted tenant.” Thus it would appear that Coberley was quite a comfortable land owner, fourteen acres being a not inconsiderable area. A heriot was a fine payable to the Lord of the Manor when land changed hands. On this occasion, Queen Mary received Coberley’s best beast – her pound of flesh!However this account though recorded elsewhere, in John Foxe’s ‘Book of Martyrs’ for example, does leave many questions unanswered. To begin with Foxe names Coberley ‘William’ rather than John and this is the name which appeared on a plaque in Salisbury recording his death:
“Three Protestant Martyrs: This plaque commemorates the deaths in Salisbury of William Coberley; John Maundrel; John Spicer, who on 24th Day of March 1556, yielded their bodies to the flames rather than deny truths recorded in the scripture of truth. (Daniel 10v21) They overcame the accuser by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death. (Revelation 12v11).”
24th March is the Eve of the Annunciation which is remembered on 25th March, Lady Day. The three men had been tried in Fisherton Anger Church before Bishop Capon and condemned to death, their place of execution being, according to some authorities, between Wilton and Salisbury, according to others, at Fisherton, near Salisbury. John Foxe gives us the most information about these Salisbury martyrs and it can be summarized as follows:
John Maundrell was a man of good name and fame, who came from a hamlet in the parish of Keevil, Wiltshire. He was a staunch protestant who could recite in English, long passages from Tyndale’s translation of the Bible. Fearing persecution when Queen Mary ascended the throne, he fled Wiltshire and sought refuge in Gloucestershire, seeking out other God fearing men whom he knew he could trust. Perhaps John Coberley was one of these trusted men. Eventually Maundrell decided to return to Wiltshire together with a John Spicer and John Coberley, all resolved to preach against the popish practices they knew were being followed in Keevil. They were soon arrested, put in the stocks and taken to Salisbury and imprisoned. They were tried by Bishop Capon and other Catholic Priests and the Sheriff. They blatantly expressed their disbelief in Purgatory and papal pardons and refused to admit the effectiveness of images as aids to prayer, calling that practice idolatry. The next day they were taken to Fisherton Anger near Salisbury where they were burnt to death at two stakes, “most constantly giving their bodies to the fire and their souls to the Lord for testimony of his truth.” But, the historian adds, “Coberley. being somewhat learned, and being at the stake somewhat long a burning as the wind stoode, after his body was scorched with the fire, and his left arm drawn and taken from him, by the violence of the fire, the flesh being burnt to the white bone, at length he stooped over the chaine and with his right hand being somewhat starkened, knocked upon his breast softly, the blood and matter issuing out of his mouth. Afterwards when they all thought he was dead, suddenly he rose right up with his body again.” (Good and Great Men of Gloucestershire, published 1867)
The name of the faithful martyr would suggest that he was connected with the village of Coberley and the Manor Rolls referred to earlier would suggest that John and William are the same ‘Coberley.’ Foxe describes him as a tailor and he probably followed this calling as well as cultivating his Westal holding. The Manor Court Books and Poll Books make frequent references to Westal (sic) – empty property in the time of King Edward IV; the order of the Court in the time of Henry VIII requiring the residents of Westal to help in the repair of the highway and the stone bridge, subject to a fine if they failed to do so; in the time of King James I there is a list of the armour that each tything was able to provide in the event of an attack upon the country and Westal is mentioned with its expected contribution. A poll book for 1713 at GRO lists six Freeholders of land in Westal – Hooper, Ireland (unmarried), Higgs, twice mentioned, Giles and Knight – probably indicating the number of houses in the hamlet at the time.
Miller’s 1765 survey of, “Gallipot and Westal Farm, situate in the parish of Cheltenham in the County of Gloucester, the property of John de la Bere, Gent,” kept at GRO, gives the names of all the fields in the said farm. John de la Bere, connected to the Southam family of that name, was a Cheltenham attorney who served the town as steward to the Lord of the Manor and he lived in a large and handsome house in the High Street where Beechwood Arcade now stands. Alterations were made by hand to the above plan in 1779 when de la Bere bought the remainder of the Westal estate from the Earl of Essex. The Westal Green area then shows four properties on the land now occupied by Regent Court but seemingly actually in the roadway. Part of the present Polefield site is described as a nursery and there are two properties shown on it. Westal (a large house) in Westal Orchard is clearly indicated together with several adjacent buildings. A narrow pathway runs between the present Regent Court site and Polefield terminating where today’s Hatherley Court Road meets St Stephen’s Road which was then of course, non-existent. The land to the left of this pathway is Westal Court Ground, which was to become the Hatherley Court Estate; that to the right is named Cox’s Orchard. On this land, we have today Regent Court, Hanover Court, Pegasus Court and the villas which continue to Hatherley Court Road. A further “Plan of the Roads Leading from Arle Cross to Pillford Lane Taken July 10th 1776 by G Coates and Son” which can also be seen at GRO does not show fields, but it does clearly show and name Westal Green with a substantial property on the Regent Court site and two similar properties approximately where Lansdown Parade now meets Lansdown Road at Westal Green.
The Rev John de la Bere inherited the Gallipot and Westal Farm estate on the death of his father John de la Bere in 1795 and disposed of it in 1801. The Earl of Suffolk bought about thirty acres on part of which was Gallipot Farm itself. This he demolished and built Suffolk House. Upon his death, his daughter Lady Catherine Howard disposed of the property for £14,000. Suffolk Lawn and Suffolk Square now stand on part of Lord Suffolk’s estate. The larger part of the de la Bere estate however was purchased by Henry Thompson and called The Montpellier. This comprised between three and four hundred acres from beyond Lansdown into the Bath Road and Sandford Field. Another hand drawn map showing the same area in 1809, “Late the property of Rev’d John de la Bere and Others” gives names to some of the untitled lands in the previous 1765 map. The land on which Hatherley Court now stands then named Westal Court Ground, extends as far as Westal Brook and this was the Thompson property but is divided into two plots. A third and smaller plot also part of Westal Court Ground extends as far as the Hatherley Brook.
At the beginning of the nineteenth century, Westal Green was just a small island with the Lansdown Road running past it. A horse drawn tram line carried stone from Leckhampton Hill to the depot on the Old Gloucester Road, passing alongside Westal Green and into what is today Queen’s Road, before arriving at the stone wharf behind the Hop Pole Inn near the corner of Market Street. When need arose, building developers would establish sidings at their own expense, near to the site of their proposed building activity, and there the stone and gravel would be conveniently unloaded. One such siding was opened at Westal Green and Pearson Thompson, son of Henry and soon to become occupier of the Hatherley Court Estate, and colleagues were accused in 1825 of having encroached on the Green by having placed and left there large quantities of timber, bricks, stone, coal and other materials, by which the public road across the said Green was greatly impeded. They were further accused of destroying the surface of the Green by converting it into a railroad for their own private use. They were ordered by the Town Commissioners, to remove this private line and to make good the damage within ten days. (10) The incident may be related to Thompson’s proposed Lansdown development which he began in 1826, or even to the building of Hatherley Court itself and may have initiated the purchase from Mr. H N Trye by the Westal Vestry in 1834, of a piece of land between the Painswick Road to the east and the railroad to the south. The Cheltenham Chronicle of 16th January 1834, explained that the need was “to form a depot for stone and for other purposes connected with the highways of the hamlet of Westal. Mr William Ingledew, from the chair, explained the objects of the meeting in a clear and perspicuous (sic) manner and pointed out the necessity that existed for a depot of stone for the use of Westal surveyors, on account of the increased population of the hamlet, and the great traffic that now took place on the roads, causing them to require more frequent repair than formerly.”
The Green was in the public eye again in 1837 when it was reported that in recent years it had been used almost exclusively as a site on which the beating of carpets could take place, much to the annoyance of the residents of the neighbourhood and to the frequent alarm of the horses which were being driven or ridden near the spot. (11) It makes one ask whose carpets were being beaten if not those of the residents of the locality? However the matter was resolved when Lord Sherborne, the Lord of the Manor, gave permission for the Green to be enclosed and planted with evergreens. As reported in the CLO, “a great public nuisance will be converted into an ornament for all the surrounding district.” (12) At the time of this complaint, R W Jearrad, the architect developer of Lansdown Place – and later the Queen’s Hotel – lived at Westhall with his wife and four children. Westhall (the house) was just inside Lansdown Parade on the left, opposite the Hotel, and appears on the early 18th century plans referred to above, but by the 1840s, it was almost derelict. It commanded a large site and from the outline on a map of 1834, it was one of the larger houses in the district, the grounds surrounded with trees. The house itself would appear to have been a three bay structure with a central bow. Rowe vividly captures the feel of this area in 1845 when speaking of Lansdown Place. He wrote, “The windows of the buildings command beautiful and extensive views of open country, unobstructed by erections of any importance. The Lansdown Hotel, only lately built in the immediate and fashionable neighbourhood, together with its contiguity to the Railway Station, are additional inducements to make it become a general favourite. At the extremity of Lansdown Place several roads diverge, that on the left passes in front of Hatherley Place and leads into the Park.” (13) Elsewhere Rowe refers to some, “very pleasant portions of the town and suburbs, London Road, Bath Road, and the Park and the fashionable suburb of Tivoli”. (14)
The Hotel mentioned above opened in 1843. “A new Hotel to be called the Lansdown Hotel and Boarding House will open early in the New Year, the large house, recently built at the further end of Lansdown Place immediately opposite Hatherley Place and forming a prominent object on entering Cheltenham, having been just let on lease to Mr. Morrison, the well known conductor of Mount Pleasant Hotel, Malvern, who has relinquished his interest in that establishment. A number of additional rooms are to be forthwith erected.” (15) In March the following year the hotel was ready to receive guests, “having been fitted up and furnished in an exceedingly comfortable style by Mr. Morrison.” Davies’ “View of Cheltenham in its Past and Present State,” 1843, contributes a delightful description of Westal Green in the very year the hotel was opened. “On the road side, nearly opposite the hotel, are two remarkably fine sycamores, forming conspicuous objects in the view from either extremity of the Lansdown Road. Passing up the opening, immediately opposite the two large sycamores above mentioned, and between the new hotel and a low dilapidated building called Westhall, one of the oldest houses in this part of Cheltenham, and from its present uninhabited state evidently intended to be removed altogether, we have before us….Lansdown Parade.” Westal was the Jearrad house referred to above and was demolished shortly after Davis’ comments.
Buildings appeared quite quickly during the 1840s and in 1850, Elm Lodge, which stood on the present Regent Court site, was offered for sale. It had only just been built – an ashlar stone fronted property with well timbered grounds of half an acre, three reception rooms, excellent bedrooms and domestic apartments, overlooking Westal Green. The first owners took possession in August of that year and did not have far to move. The Reverend Henry Griffiths and his family had been living at 10, Hatherley Place just around the corner. Norman’s Pictorial Guide of 1854 describes the view from the Lansdown Hotel looking towards Elm Lodge and across Westal Green: “Beyond Montpellier Rotunda extend the aristocratic districts of Lansdown and Tivoli …. At this spot (the Lansdown Hotel), in front of us stand a couple of fine elms, adding much to the beauty of the scene: and beyond lie a genteel row of houses, Hatherley Place, with on the right, Hatherley Court.… and the Park in the distance.” (16)Sharing the site with Elm Lodge was another large property, of the same age, Nubie House. In 1861, the town’s Commissioners issued an order that the twin aspens which grew on the footway in front of Nubie House at the Westal corner of Hatherley Place, which had battled with the breeze apparently for centuries, should be cut down. Two years previously a similar order had been opposed and since then one of the trees had died “and its companion is so fast passing into decay” that permission was granted to proceed with the felling. (17) Davies was no doubt referring to these same trees in1843 when he wrote, “Some yards behind this ‘noble pair’ (of sycamores) is a group of American Poplars (Aspen) consisting of two trees that seem to tell of the ‘forest days’ of a bygone generation, exhibiting a great deal of wild-wood beauty and character in the development of their spreading branches.”
The owner of Nubie House, Mr. H Burgh, died in 1869 and crowds thronged around Westal when the contents of the house were put up for sale in May of that year. The sale was conducted by Messrs Phillips of London, with two viewing days and two selling days. “His gallery although not large, was known to contain many gems of Art, especially specimens of the Italian and Flemish schools of painting, the originality of which was unquestionable as was that also of several other pictures in the collection, their late proprietor having acquired them from sources which perfectly satisfied him of their genuineness, even had internal evidence been wanting to establish the fact of their being so; which however was not the case. The interest which the event excited was sufficiently evidenced by the thronged state of the rooms in which the pictures were hung.…and the large attendance of connoisseurs and dealers, on both days of the sale, many of them strangers to Cheltenham.” (18) There were one hundred and seventy lots, although many did not reach their reserve. Sample prices were a Breughel, £12; Joshua Reynolds, £27.5.0; Murillo, £21; Van der Meulen, £11.0.6 and a del Sarto, £10.10.0. The sale total amounted to between £16-£17,000 …. in 1869 remember, and nearly one million pounds in today’s currency. From the 1880s Nubie House became the home of a well-known Meyricke family, a family not blessed with the best of fortunes. Their youngest son Lt Robert Meyricke RE, died of enteric fever while taking part in his first military campaign in the South African War in 1900, aged 26. His twin brother died as the result of a steeplechase accident in 1905. On the wall of the Memorial Chapel in St Stephen’s is recorded the death of another son, Major Rupert J Meyricke R H A, who died of blood poisoning in Malta in 1916. Their father Edward died at Nubie House after a short illness in 1918. The daughters of the family, as well as their father, were staunch supporters of St Stephen’s, the former frequently assisting with the flower arranging.
Crowds gathered in the area in 1887 to celebrate the Golden Wedding at Elm Lodge of Rev. Henry and Mrs. Griffiths, “among the oldest and most respected Cheltenham residents”. He had come to Cheltenham in 1837, had married his wife in Cheltenham Parish Church in the same year and they had spent most of their married life in the town. Mr. Griffiths had been educated at Rugby, but his sons were all educated at Cheltenham College and he must not be confused with Rev G.P.Griffiths, the future Vicar of St Mark’s. The celebration party was attended by their sons and daughters, of great musical talent, and many friends and relatives. During the afternoon upwards of two hundred guests arrived to pay their respects and to enjoy the shadow and sunshine of the garden on a perfect June afternoon. “The toilettes of the many lady visitors, to say nothing of the flowers and wedding favors (sic), gave a truly bridal appearance to the scene while the numerous wedding gifts on view in the drawing room afforded unwritten testimony to the affection and esteem entertained toward the happy pair.” (19). Among the many presents was one from the Vicar of St Stephen’s and his wife. Mr. Griffiths attended and financially supported St Stephen’s in the short time since it had been opened, and his wife had supplied flowers for many festival services. They were keen supporters of several charitable institutions in the town where they were much loved and respected. He was an active member of the Cheltenham cricket and archery clubs. He died at Elm Lodge in March 1892 in his 85th year. His widow, one of the oldest residents in the parish, continued to live at Elm Lodge until her death in April 1900 when the house was put on the market for the first time since it had been built. The purchaser was Mme de Falbe who paid £2,000 for the house and grounds.
The Griffiths family no doubt witnessed the erection on Westal Green in August 1891 of a drinking fountain, “to give refreshment to many a thirsty little child and weary man and woman, a present to the town by three of St Stephen’s oldest friends”. (20) The gift was formally accepted on behalf of the town by the Mayor, the donors being the Misses Whish of 14, Lansdown Parade. They were well known in the districts of Christ Church and St Stephen for their philanthropic works on behalf of the poor in both parishes. The gift was made to commemorate their fifty years residence in the town and also as a family memorial. The fountain stood on the grassland near to the present sub station but was removed in 1929 to its present site in Sandford Park. The Misses Whish were daughters of Rev John Whish, and his wife Anne. The family had settled in Cheltenham after his death in 1830 and a son, John Charles, was Curate at Christ Church 1841-1842. (21)
During World War 1 Cheltenham had a wonderful record for investment with the Bonds and War Savings scheme. In recognition of this the town was presented with, of all things, a tank which arrived here on 21st May 1919. Its journey was certainly an event worth recording. Escorted from St James’ Station to Westal Green by the Band of Dean Close Officer Cadet Corps, the tank stopped and started for most of the way eventually arriving at its destination well after the opening ceremony had begun. The tank was quite a feature of the neighbourhood, standing proudly on the site of the present sub-station. A local resident who remembered it well, described it thus: “The tank was mounted on a concrete base with iron railings all round. It was the building of the sub-station which was completed in 1929 at a cost of £2,706, that necessitated the moving of the tank to the new site alongside the Lodge in Montpellier Gardens in 1927. On its original site it was an object of delight and provided an unusual playground for the boys of Tivoli.”(22) The tank had been much vandalised by 1940 and was taken away to help the War effort.
Up to 1834 most of present day Tivoli was open land with only a few, yet imposing, dwelling houses punctuating the landscape. Hatherley Court was one such property occupied by Pearson Thompson, son of the property developer Henry Thompson who had bought part of the de la Bere estate. At the time Henry made his will in 1792 his address was Finsbury Square, Middlesex and he is described as Merchant. In 1807, an Indenture at GRO gives his address as Tottenham High Cross, Middlesex. Henry Thompson was born in 1748 and he married Judith Teshmaker. They had two sons, Henry Teshmaker and Pearson. Apparently Henry moved to Cheltenham in retirement about 1801, and immediately set about establishing himself as a landowner and property developer. He bought a large part of the Rev John de la Bere’s estate, up to four hundred acres, referred to earlier, adding a further thirty acres in 1804 and continuing to purchase land as it came on the market. He built the Montpellier Spa in 1809, rebuilding it in 1817, the dome being added by his son Pearson in 1825-26. Henry died at his home Vittoria House, (Hygeia House pre 1813) on 2nd November 1820 aged 72. His estate was inherited by his sons Henry and Pearson. Henry junior, who was living in Cumberland, showed little interest in the Cheltenham inheritance and in 1825 he sold his share to his brother Pearson for £2,800 who by this time was living in Cheltenham with his wife, Dorothy, nee Scott. Pearson had a house built in Vittoria Walk in 1825 but the date from which he occupied Hatherley Court with his wife Dorothy, three children and five servants has not been confirmed. Neither has any information come to light as to when Hatherley Court was actually built. One daughter, Helen Dorothy, was born at Hatherley Court in August 1837 and died there aged six weeks. There is at GRO the Abstract of Title of Pearson Thompson to a messuage and villa, built on a part of a piece of land in the hamlet of Westal, Naunton Sandford and Alstone, in the parish of Cheltenham called Westal Orchard, and part of a field called Nolthayes, which had been purchased by Henry Thompson senior, in 1807. The date of this Abstract is 1833 and refers to the land on which Westhall house stood and which Pearson Thompson was in the process of selling to one George Youell. Pearson had overstretched himself financially and most of his property interests in the Lansdown and Montpellier districts were sold at the beginning of the 1830s to the architect brothers, R.W.& C. Jearrad.
The northern entrance to the 20 acre estate was from Hatherley Lane which became Hatherley Road in about 1844 although the local Directories give Hatherley Court’s address as Lansdown Road. The south-eastern boundary of the estate extended nearly to today’s St Stephen’s Road, then known as Hatherley Place. Between Hatherley Court and Hatherley Place was a narrow stretch of land named Cox’s Orchard, referred to earlier. The south-western boundary reached as far as the Westal Brook just into today’s Hatherley Park. No doubt residents in the district witnessed in June 1837 the arrival of important guests at Hatherley Court, when Pearson Thompson entertained amongst others, Lord Dunalley, Lord de Saumarez, the Hon Craven Berkeley and numerous local gentry. Thompson’s life style was certainly in stark contrast to that of his gardener who occupied a cottage in the grounds of the Court in which he lived with his wife and six children. (23)
In Hatherley Lane, on the opposite side to Hatherley Court was Westal market garden containing a gardener’s cottage, occupied in 1844 by a Mr. Bradford and his wife and family. Two cottages further along the Lane were occupied, one by another gardener and the other by an upholsterer. Hatherley Field which in later years was to become the first home of the St Stephen’s Cricket Club, also contained at this time several cottages for estate workers. Almost opposite today’s entrance to Hatherley Court Road was Hatherley Court Farm which will be referred to later.
Large properties changed hands quite frequently and Hatherley Court was no exception. In 1841 the home of Pearson Thompson was on the market together with twenty acres of garden and pasture land, yards, outhouses, lawns and several pieces or parcels of pasture land thereto adjoining, ‘bounded on the north by the road to Hatherley, on the south by Cox’s Orchard, on the east by the Gloucester Turnpike and on the west by Westal Brook.’ It was sold the following year for, “said to be £10,000,” the purchaser being James Webster JP. Pearson Thompson had had to move to a less imposing dwelling, Aban Court in Lansdown Terrace due his financial problems. For twenty years he had done much to develop his own interests, had taken an active part in the life of the town and had promoted its prosperity and fame. Although he was a magistrate for the Cheltenham district he did not often serve as such, but he was respected for his manners which were those of a perfect gentleman, and did much in his time in Cheltenham to raise and maintain the character of the town as a place of fashionable resort. However by 1850 he had emigrated to Australia and the CLO reported in that year, “The change in time and circumstances which have compelled a gentleman of Mr. Thompson’s property to seek in a distant colony to retrieve his fallen fortunes may be a source of deep regret to all who knew him. Though not very popular among his fellow townsmen, it will be long before Cheltenham will number among its inhabitants one to whom it will be equally indebted, for with all his faults, Mr. Thompson can never be charged with indifference to the welfare of Cheltenham.” (24). He died at Castlemaine, Australia, on November 22nd 1872 having been born on 17th April 1794. The Australian newspapers incorrectly reported his age as 90 at the time of his death. He had practised as a successful barrister in that country but had lived a life of retirement, a feeble old man, for some years. He was survived by his only son, Colonel Scott Thompson.
The new owners of Hatherley Court, the Websters, enjoyed the house for some thirty years. James Webster as well as being a magistrate and town Commissioner was also Deputy Lieutenant for the County of Gloucester. He was of Scottish descent and followed a very successful commercial career. When he died at Hatherley Court in 1858, his estate was valued at £45,000, an enormous amount in those days. (25) After his death his family continued to live at the Court until about 1872 and must have been keen gardeners employing excellent staff. In 1861 we read that, “There is to be seen at Mrs. Webster’s, Hatherley Court, a monster geranium plant which is in full bloom.”(26) It measured eight feet in height and boasted a spread of twenty-four feet. It was proudly exhibited that year at the Pittville Flower Show. The following year their horticultural expertise again made the headlines with an eight feet high camellia sporting one hundred and sixty blooms. But all was not peace and quietude, for in 1861, during a hurricane which hit the town, the glass conservatory of Hatherley Court was blown away, many plants were destroyed, but not the geranium presumably, and some of the windows were blown in.
When Thompson’s Hatherley Court estate was sold, some of the land was sold for building plots, Elm Lodge and Nubie House being built on two of them. Polefield, an older property was certainly occupied by 1845 and from 1880 it was the home of Sir Richard and Lady Dick-Cunyngham. At this period the four houses, Polefield, Elm Lodge, Nubie House and Beauthorns were surrounded by trees, as was Westal Green itself. After Sir Richard’s death, Lady Dick-Cunyngham lived at Polefield in widowhood until about 1903 when the house was sold to Harrington Hulton Esq. Twenty years later he sold Polefield “with its four reception rooms, fifteen bedrooms and two bath rooms, timbered grounds, gardener’s cottage and stabling for six horses” and for two years it was run as Polefield Hotel, being sold again in 1926. By 1960 the Polefield site had been developed into today’s Polefield Gardens and Nubie House had been renamed Hilton Lodge. The window on the north end of the west wall in St Stephen’s Church was presented by the Dick-Cunynghams in thanksgiving that their three sons had been spared in the South African War. One light represents an allegorical figure dressed in ‘The whole armour of God’ and the right light depicts ‘The Angel of Peace.’ The window was dedicated in July 1904.
Between Polefield and Hatherley Court’s magnificent entrance gates, the stonework of which is still visible in Hatherley Road, was Syndale House, the home of a Colonel Tucker. It was offered for sale in 1858, furnished or, “unfurnished at a reduced price”. It comprised an estate of one acre, with a recently erected coach house and stables, “an excellent accommodation for a gentleman’s family”. (27) The purchaser was Mr. William Watson, who by July the following year had renamed the property “Beauthorns.” The Watsons were loyal supporters of St Stephen’s and Mrs Watson gave a stained glass window to the church in memory of her late husband, in 1902. It is in the Baptistry and shows appropriately, Jesus blessing the little children. Further along Hatherley Road, on the right hand side, was Hatherley Court Farm owned by Mr. J James, a horse dealer. In 1848 Hatherley Court Farm hosted the sale of ‘building and other materials belonging to the Lansdown Estate, comprising a large collection of oak doors, timber, panelled doors, marble chimney pieces, friezes and ironmongery’, all perhaps to do with Pearson Thompson’s financial difficulties and sudden departure from the town. On the death of Mr. James in 1871 the Farm was described as a livery stable. Renamed Westal Court by the new owner it continued to be so named until at least 1907. In that year it was described in a sales brochure as ‘a comfy old fashioned residence’, the property of Mr. Denley. Further along the road, Hatherley Hall stood on the site now occupied by the modern Hatherley Hall development. The original Hall had been built c1860 for Captain Archibald McClachlan formerly of Melbourne. He was one of the earliest supporters of St Stephen’s Church from 1873 until his death in 1879. In his will, valued at £45,000 he left £500 to his widow, and the estate in trust for her during her lifetime, unless she remarried. The remainder of his assets were to be shared between his three daughters. The sale brochure in 1879 made much of its eleven bedrooms, stabling and coachman’s cottage. It was an impressive villa with stone entrance porch and attractive glass conservatory at one side of the house. It was sold again in 1923 and purchased by Dean Close School in whose possession it remained until 1932.
Hillside dating from c1850 was another estate within the St Stephen’s parish boundary and occupied what is now Hillside Close. When sold in 1893, the house was described as commanding extensive views over the surrounding varied and picturesque district. The house contained ten bedrooms, an enclosed paved yard, stabling for three horses, a double coach house and two coachmen’s rooms, while the grounds offered pleasure gardens, greenhouses, a vinery, lawns, tennis courts, a cow house for four cows, fowl house, paddock and a laundry. The house was ‘in perfect condition and no outlay will be needed by the purchaser.’
Near Hillside was another slightly later house of mansion proportions, Bournside, certainly occupied by 1860, and which changed hands in 1881, prior to the expiry of the lease held by a Mr. Verity. He offered to move as soon as a purchaser had been found. The house was described as a very superior detached residence in about three acres, approached by a long drive with extensive views. It had a basement and the three floors were served with water and gas throughout. Ten bedrooms occupied two of these floors. Outbuildings included a double coach house. The purchaser was Lt Colonel Charles Percy Theobald R.A. who soon involved himself with St Stephen’s. He died at Bournside in September 1903 and his widow continued to occupy the house until her death in 1922. In 1904 she presented to the town, a steam powered fire engine in his memory. They were both buried from St Stephen’s. Bournside Drive now occupies most of the original estate.
Returning to Hatherley Court and the Websters, Mr. Webster died in 1872 and the estate was once more put on the market in November of that year. Prospective purchasers were reminded that the house had once been the home of Pearson Thompson, and that many wealthy residents could be expected to be interested in the sale. It was suggested that a considerable portion of the frontage in Hatherley Place could be used for building purposes for the erection of superior villas, “for which there is a great demand”. (28) This referred to the southern part of the estate beyond the present Hatherley Court Road almost up to Bournside, which had been purchased and added to the estate after Thompson had sold the property in 1841. Rumours later spread and continued to flourish, that the whole estate had in fact been sold for such purposes and the Cheltenham Examiner of 1875 published a retraction of an earlier report in which it had encouraged the rumour: “The property has been sold and will be used as a private residence by the purchaser.” (29). The estate was not immediately sold, but the eventual purchaser of Hatherley Court was Mr. C C Prance of a well known Evesham firm of solicitors, New, Prance and Company. The Prance family was at the Court until 1900 and Mr. Prance was one of the first two Churchwardens of St Stephen’s from 1884. Theirs was a sad family. Their eldest son died at the age of 33 after a long battle against enteric fever in 1888, while sixteen months earlier another son, a promising young officer, had died of malaria in Burma.
The Court was first advertised for sale by the Prance family in 1894 and the by now, 40 acres were offered, “occupying an enviable position in the most favourable part of the important town of Cheltenham”. The estate boasted a pair of iron carriage gates supported at each side by stone archways, “with iron gates for foot traffic”. The house was described as a stone built mansion of two storeys, in the Italian style of architecture, the interior and exterior walls being of unusual thickness. It had a slated roof with projecting eaves, and stood 210 feet above sea level. Water came from Cheltenham Water Works, a perfect drainage system was connected to Cheltenham’s main drainage system, and gas from Cheltenham’s Gas and Coke Co., piped to all rooms, were added attractions. (30)
At the time of Mr Prance’s departure from Hatherley Court, an interesting advertisement appeared in the local press, showing how ‘rural’ the area still was at the time, considering how heavily populated it is today: “Offered for sale, twenty acres of mowing grass, free of rates in two lots. Also by order of Mr Cresswell the tenant, a further fourteen acres of mowing grass in a field in front of Hatherley Court House offered for sale to the highest bidder.” (31)The wife of the new owner of the Court, Mrs. Drew, presented to Cheltenham the statue of Edward VII which stands outside Montpellier Rotunda. According to the CLO of 1914, the statue was conceived in the minds of Mr. and Mrs. Drew of Hatherley Court but Mr. Drew being now dead, his widow presented the statue on condition that a site was found for it where a water supply was available. (32) The figures of the statue were carved by Mr Ambrose Neale, chief artist to the local firm of R L Boulton. Mrs. Drew continued to live at Hatherley Court until her death in 1934, when the forty one and a half acres were offered for sale. At the time of the sale, the estate extended south to the Hatherley Brook, along Hatherley Road as far as the junction with Warden Hill Road, east to behind the properties in St Stephen’s Road, and north to the boundary with Beauthorns and Hatherley Villa.
Building plots being part of the Hatherley Court Estate had first been offered for sale in 1907 with 11 plots having a frontage to Hatherley Road, and 9 plots to line the new proposed Hatherley Court Road. No house was to cost less than £750 detached, or £1400 each semi-detached pair. The 1907 site plan also proposed a road running parallel and in addition to the present Bournside Road. For whatever reason this development was not pursued. However the 1934 sale details state that ‘some years ago a private roadway was laid across a portion of the estate thus affording additional frontages’. The plan accompanying the sales brochure shows a cul-de-sac entered from Hatherley Road and forming part of the present Hatherley Court Road. Three building plots are marked out on the south side, the one on the corner being vacant, the neighbouring two each containing one dwelling. A dotted line to St Stephen’s Road marks ‘the site of the proposed road’ indicating the present Hatherley Court Road.
One facility which had been requested by local residents from as early as 1893 was a playing field. The issue was raised repeatedly but the Council maintained that there was no suitable site which could be developed for this purpose. However when Hatherley Court came up for sale in 1934, part of the estate was eventually acquired by the Council and work began eagerly on what was to become Hatherley Park “of especial value to dwellers in the Tivoli district.” In fact the site purchased consisted of eleven acres of which two and one half acres were to be reserved for building purposes and the creation of Hatherley Court Road. The purchase price was in the region of £2,750 to which was added £1,460 for road works, ground preparation and ornamental gates. The park was opened by the Mayor of Cheltenham Mr. John Howell on 29th April 1939. Hatherley Court Recreation Ground was a daring experiment, consisting of a recreation ground and playing field for children on the one side, and on the other a park, “beautifully laid out for adults”. What had been four years previously a furrowed field, now contained a pool and a miniature waterfall in a rock garden. The MP for Cheltenham Mr. Daniel Lipson thanked all those who had worked so hard to create this much needed amenity for the Tivoli area and which had provided eighteen months work for men previously unemployed. The mayor reminded parents that it was up to them to teach their children how to make the best advantage of the park. “There was the risk that elderly people might be annoyed by the children, but (he hoped) that eventually they might enjoy hearing the children’s voices.” (33)
The Cheltenham Ladies’ College had also purchased 14 acres of the estate including the house, but took some time deciding what to do with it. Nevertheless, by the start of the Autumn Term 1937, an enlarged Hatherley Court was opened as the new Junior Boarding House for girls aged 6 to 12 years of age. Considerable extensions and alterations had been made including some excellent sporting facilities. A lovely contemporary description is given in the College Magazine of 1937:
“Hatherley Court is the new junior boarding house. It is very modern. One half of the house has been added on and shows up white compared to the old half of the house which is dull grey. Hatherley Court will hold forty girls when full. The old part of the house has magnificent mahogany doors which are beautifully carved.
The senior study is large and has little lockers all round There is a little window between it and the junior study. The drawing-room is about as big as the senior study, it has a sofa and two comfortable easy chairs. In here Miss Wills Browne reads us stories very often. We have a lovely big playroom which has a wooden floor and we dance there on Mondays.
Then there is the music wing, where there are five practising rooms with double doors and when you are in one room with the door shut you cannot hear what anyone else is playing in the next room. From the passage which leads to the music rooms you can look into the play-room through a little window.
Upstairs on the first floor there are two cubicled (sic) dormitories which hold five girls each. When you are in your cubicle it is like having a room to yourself. On the same floor is the medicine room, where we have our temperatures taken. There are many other dormitories without partitions on the second floor. Each room has coloured blankets to match the walls and there are washbasins with taps near each dormitory.
The cloak-rooms are downstairs and have hot pipes running through them which is lovely as they warm and dry our coats. In the bathrooms and the cloak-rooms there are hot towel rails. The garden is very large and there is an old mulberry tree which is so old that it has to have its branches propped up. There is a hockey pitch in front which is useful as we only go to the College field on Saturdays now.” (Avis Turpin 11.3a)
Its life as a boarding house was cut short by the war. In 1939 it was requisitioned by the War Office and remained in Government hands until the end of 1944. In 1945 Hatherley Court became a boarding house for girls aged 11-17 and two years later, towards the end of the Summer Term 1947, a fire took place which destroyed much of the roof in the main building. The fire was thought to have been caused by a workman on the roof carelessly leaving a blow-lamp unattended. The incident seems to have started about midday when all the girls, thankfully, were in college. The fire brigade was on site in less than two minutes thus confining the fire to the roof in the old wing. A temporary roof of asbestos was put on in time for the opening of the Autumn Term, after which Hatherley Court took on the appearance it has today. It was sold in 1973, College Council realising that it was too far from the rest of the college, and it was converted into apartments.
One other property in the Hatherley Road area which is worthy of mention is the large property, now a housing complex, on the corner of Hatherley Road and Lansdown Road, Hatherley Lawn, now Hatherley House. In the l860s it was a boarding academy for young ladies but in 1888 it was offered for sale, in all about six acres. The contents of the house were disposed of by auction prior to the sale of the house, which had for some years been the home of Mr Henry Willmott. This sale of contents was reminiscent of the earlier sale at Nubie House in 1869 and attracted more than the usual attention because of the number of works of art offered in the catalogue. Two hundred works were included of which seventy three were contemporary oil paintings. There were also water colours and engravings, several lots of statuary and other artistic effects; a 1,000 volume library; and 800 ounces of plate. The paintings fetched high prices ranging from £23 to 180 guineas for a scene in Derbyshire by H Dawson. Furniture fetched average prices with a Dresden cabinet realising £70. (34) The house was again on the market in 1896 when it was described as containing 4 noble reception rooms, 11 bedrooms, a fitted light and airy bathroom, and domestic offices. There was stabling for 3 horses, 2 coach houses with harness and groom rooms, and 2 pieces of land adjoining with frontages to Lansdwon Road, plus one piece of land adjoining the garden of the main house containing 3 cottages, fronting Hatherley Road. Hatherley House passed through several owners before becoming in the 1950s, Hatherley Lawn Hotel and in the 1960s Hatherley Lawn House, Home for the Elderly.
One of the earliest named roads, and one which certainly saw most activity in the early 1800s was Andover Road, known in the early 1800s as Lippiate and successively Tivoli Place and Andover Road after 1905. Andover was a title given to the eldest sons of the Earls of Suffolk, former owners of the land through which the road runs. Reference has already been made to the tram line which from 1810 conveyed stone and gravel from the quarries on Leckhampton Hill to the Gloucester Road depot. The carriages were pulled along metal lines by horses and by 1838, 23,000 tons of stone were passing along Lippiate annually. (35) Yet in spite of the presumed noise and dust, expensive houses continued to be built in the immediate vicinity. By 1844 Lippiate, had several blocks of terraced properties, between which were entrances to what were to become today’s Tivoli, Lypiatt and Hatherley streets. Each block of terraces had a frontage on to the main road with in some cases, trees enhancing the appearance. Most properties had sizeable rear gardens also planted with trees. The track ran along the side of the road nearest to these shops and houses. On the large island separating Lippiate from today’s Lansdown Road there was one large estate with an enormous garden, while at the Westal Green end was Inkerman Cottage and Inkerman Gardens, still being advertised in 1922 as ‘Fruiterer and Florist’. The grassed area outside Tivoli Stores, much larger than at present, contained one house, and opposite, on the island now occupied by St John’s Lodge, was another garden centre, Tivoli Nursery. By the mid 1840’s, the road name, ‘Lippiate’ had given way to ‘Tivoli Place’ and Tivoli Nursery had been sacrificed for two pairs of villas with large gardens. The villas still there today, were named Andover and Radnor and Upton and Taunton.
Built c1840, on land purchased for £310, St John’s Lodge was later let to Rev. J Foster who in 1853 welcomed to his new home the son of the King of Bompey in West Africa, Prince Caulker. He had been brought to England by a missionary society, but during his six years stay in Tivoli, the prince’s parents died, his uncle usurped the throne and the Prince lost his sight. (36) By 1864 the site was named Tivoli Circus and St John’s Lodge, was occupied by a retired army officer on half pay, John Curzon who lived there with his wife, four children and servants.
Tivoli Place was the name given to the terraced properties which lined the side of the road from near the entrance to Tivoli Lane as far as St Stephen’s Road and were a mixture of commercial and private properties. Up to 1850 there was a large cottage on the corner of Tivoli Lane, Jireh or Ivy Cottage, which in the 1851 Census is perhaps misnamed Gerritt Cottage. Here, until 1864 lived Thomas Dover and his son George, builders and coal merchants, who were responsible for some of the houses in the two private terraces at the end of the road near Hatherley Place. The three buildings which then started the terrace were grocery shops and having crossed the entrance into Tivoli Street one came to the Tivoli Inn, dairy shops, a butcher, painter, coal merchant, a plumber and another painter. This row of buildings between Tivoli and Lypiatt streets did not have the symmetrical appearance which it has today. Some of buildings were of different height to their neighbours, some had flat porches supported on stone brackets and for most of its history, only one building had an iron balcony. The first building in this row also had a large and tall oriel style window at first floor level. The next two terraces – the first to be built in the road – consisted, as they do now, of private homes whose residents included a schoolmaster, a gentleman and a bank clerk. One house was described as a lodging house while another, number 22 was, in 1841, an Academy for Young Ladies run by Miss Harris. In the final terrace at number 27 which is the middle house in what is today Hatherley Villas, lived Gustav Holst’s grandfather. The Cheltenham Looker On carried the following notice in November 1845:
Mr. Gustavus von Holst has the honour to inform you, former pupils, nobility
and gentry, of his arrival in Cheltenham for the purpose of giving instruction
in music. His address is 27, Tivoli Place, where may be seen for sale, two
splendid Erard’s double movement harps at 75 guineas and 45 guineas.
Gustavus von Holst had been born in Latvia in 1799. He composed elegant music for the harp and moved to England to teach the instrument which was very fashionable at the time. He added the ‘von’ to the family name in the 1820s. At the time of his arrival at Hatherley Villas the buildings were numbered from the three original shops after the cottage on the corner of Tivoli Lane:- 1-19 shops, 20-24, private houses, 25-28 Hatherley Villas, but the whole row in fact being described as Tivoli Place. In passing it is worth noting that Hatherley Villas originally consisted of four houses and appears to have remained so until about 1903 when number 5 was added to the terrace. The lane running alongside this end house, currently called Inkerman Lane was, from 1869, named Hatherley Place Road and was the service road to the houses in Hatherley Place (St Stephen’s Road). All these properties with frontages to the Andover Road were built on land called Westal Furlong in the 1765 de la Bere sale plan.
The tram lines were still visible in the 1850s but their use was negligible. Some of the rails were in a very poor condition and posed a safety hazard as well as being an eyesore. In 1861 the track was handed over to the Town Commissioners for road improvements and an unsuccessful bid was made by a local building and ironware contractor – J.Cormell, Lansdown Works, 8a Tivoli Place, for permission to fence in part of the road recently occupied by the tram company. It might be appropriate to say at this point, that Tivoli Place between Tivoli Street and Lypiatt Street was not a continuous row of shops as it is today. Mr Cormell’s builder’s depot was about half way down this terrace and made a distinct break in the row. It was set behind a railed garden wall and the open space behind was sued for the storage of building materials. Next to it was his ‘hardware’ shop. This ‘fencing in’ application by Mr. Cormell must have been of interest to Mr. H Davies, proprietor of the “Cheltenham Looker On” who in 1857 had been in serious dispute with local residents over the purchase, fencing in and access to land between Tivoli Circus and Tivoli Street, thus blocking off Tivoli Lane. This dispute was widely publicised in the local press and correspondents to the newspaper revealed some interesting information about the history of land and roads in the immediate vicinity of Tivoli Lane at the beginning of the nineteenth century. (37) One anonymous writer suggested that the entrance to today’s Tivoli Lane would have been impeded if Davies’ proposals were allowed, “a road which has been a road immemorable, (sic) the writer having known it as such for 48 years”. At a meeting of the Town Improvement Commissioners later in the year, the Street and Highways Committee agreed that it was a private matter and that they could not interfere in the dispute. Mr. Davies lived in the house which stood on the site of the grassed island opposite St John’s Lodge, which is clearly shown on Davies’ map of 1834. His address was No 1, Tivoli. In 1871 this property was named Harley Lodge and by 1913 Crossways. The house had a walled garden and front lawns, and was approached by a wide carriage drive. Its demolition in the late 1950s/early 1960s presented an opportunity for road widening and removed what certainly had become an inconvenient bottleneck.
Returning to the terraces which made up Tivoli Place, by 1864 four properties had replaced Jireh Cottage at the end of Tivoli Lane and were numbered 1,2,3,4 Tivoli Buildings. There was then a little recess before beginning numbers 1,2,3 Tivoli Place, at which point one arrived at the corner of Tivoli Street. Coffee Taverns had been started in Cheltenham in 1870 by a Major Kington who wished to provide facilities for strangers as well as locals, who sought somewhere for relaxation as an alternative to the local hostelries. His fifth Coffee Tavern was opened on 13th October 1879 at 2 Tivoli Buildings. The other Taverns in the town were St George’s, St John’s, (The Albany), St Luke’s which had formerly been the Workmen’s Rest and The Imperial. The Star and several others were opened between 1879 and 1891, by which time Major Kington was addressed as Colonel. (38)
The Tivoli Coffee Tavern was provided to cater for “the greater number of artisan and working class people who have recently taken up residence in the extensive block between Hatherley Place (St Stephen’s Road) and Tivoli Villas (Tivoli Road), it being almost entirely occupied by them”. (39) The Tavern was, “fitted up in an attractive and artistic style,” with drink and food provided at “the usual moderate tariff”. As well as providing food from 5am to 10-30pm – rice pudding and cakes, chops and steak with afternoon tea at 3d per head – the Tavern also served as a depot for the Provident Coal and Clothing Company, an early credit company. It would appear that Tivoli’s first Social Centre had truly arrived. The aim of such institutions was to “halt the progress of intemperance by inducing breadwinners of the neighbourhood to prefer it to the Public House”. (40) The first floor of the Tavern was soon to be occupied by the Tivoli Reading Room then being run at number 10, Tivoli Place.What the local pub landlords thought about this innovation, one can easily imagine, there being within a few yards of the Coffee Tavern, the Tivoli Ale and Porter Stores (The Tivoli in 2005), The Butcher’s Arms (near the corner of Tivoli Street, approximately where the hairdresser is) The Tivoli Inn (near Tivoli Trading), and The Royal Union, minus the skittle alley! (41) The Lansdown and Tivoli Coffee Tavern, to give it its full title, celebrated its tenth anniversary in 1888 still maintaining its original aim of “providing refreshment and recreation among the working classes to encourage temperance”. (42) On this occasion it took great pride in advertising “breakfasts and coffee are available daily for policemen and working men”. At this period, the Police HQ was at Westbury, on the Lansdown Road, easy access to the Tavern being by means of the alley-way opposite today’s Tivoli Stores.
Although not directly relevant to our story, a report in the Cheltenham Examiner, 30th November 1853, makes amusing reading: On Monday last, a couple of ‘guardians of the night’ were brought up before the magistrates on a charge of neglect of duty. It appears that the active Police Sergeant Jeffs in doing his nightly rounds discovered that the policemen appointed to patrol the Tivoli and Park districts were ‘non est inventus’ (had absconded) and after a patient and diligent search, he discovered the two truant Bobbies comfortably snoozing in a fly at the back of Lansdown Crescent, a fly of course being a small horse drawn carriage. Their excuse was that thinking the fly to have been abandoned, they decided to ‘occupy’ it to prevent it being stolen.
The Reading Room above the Tavern had been set up by the Church of England Temperance Society and provided books, newspapers, bagatelle, and draughts, but the rooms was very small. In 1890 the Tavern moved to new premises in the former Barnaby Bendall’s Furniture Repository in Tivoli Street, the home of today’s Tivoli Institute/St Stephen’s Club.
Obviously Tivoli Place and Buildings were then, as they are now, the retail and trades centre of Tivoli, although as we shall later see, many residents of the district carried on domestic trades from their own homes in the neighbouring streets. Some of the smarter properties in the terraces between Hatherley Street and St Stephen’s Road were homes of businessmen and traders whose shops were further along Tivoli Place. In 1893 two of these houses were for sale. Number 23, the home of Mr. Weeks offered three bedrooms and number 24, the home of the late Mr. W J Webb the coal merchant, offered four bedrooms. These were the last two houses in the terrace before Hatherley Villas and each house had two sitting rooms, a basement, kitchen offices and garden, and each had a £2,000 reserve. William John Webb had been born in London and moved to Cheltenham to start in business as a coal merchant on the Tewkesbury Road. In 1853 he bought the coal business of George Dover of Tivoli Place and secured various properties in Tivoli Place as the family homes. The site on the corner of Lypiatt Street, now occupied by the houses in Lypiatt Row, was for many years in the eighties and nineties, the coal depot of W J Webb. On the 3rd anniversary of the Tivoli Reading Rooms in 1870, tea was taken at 18 Tivoli Place, the ironware and gasfitting showroom of Mr. Mines, and afterwards, accommodation being limited, the company retired to Mr. Webb’s house for a celebratory concert. Mr. Webb had several children and one, Harold Arthur was the first People’s Churchwarden of St Stephen’s Church at the age of 24, and served in this capacity from 1887 to 1892. Mr. Webb senior died in 1893 leaving a thriving and successful business and a considerable fortune. The sons were involved in all manner of business ventures, eventually becoming Webb Bros Ltd which developed into the Battledown Brickworks. The complete history of the firm is told in David O’Connors book, ‘The Hole in the Ground.’ Another firm which had premises in Tivoli Place and which still survives by name in Cheltenham today, was that of S.C.Morris, building contractors. The firm was founded in 1898 in the Swindon Road and in 1916 it bought out the earlier mentioned business of J Cormell in Tivoli Place.
The ornate lamp stand now such a feature of the Andover Road, used to stand at the top of Montpellier near to where the large traffic island now is. It was moved to Tivoli sometime after Mrs Drew of Hatherley Court had presented the statue of King Edward VII to the town. Still alive are one or two whose memories recall the Gordon Boys sitting around the lamp standard during the period of the First World War, awaiting ‘commissions’. The Gordon Boys was an organisation founded as a memorial to General Gordon and existed as a ‘training society’ for homeless boys. A brigade was established in Cheltenham and inaugurated on the Queen’s Birthday in 1890. They often had their parade services at St Stephen’s. The Boys wore a parade uniform made distinctive by a band of Gordon Tartan around a Glengary cap. (43)
Before proceeding to Tivoli Road, further reference must be made to a very old road, perhaps one of the oldest minor roads in the district, Tivoli Lane. Tivoli has many lanes, access roads and alleys, but none is as ancient as Tivoli Lane, situated as it is between the backs of the houses in Tivoli Road and Tivoli Street. Terry Moore-Scott writing in Cheltenham Local History Journal number 15 suggests that Tivoli Lane may be the remnant of a portway, a road or track of very ancient origin, leading to a market town. People coming to the town to sell their produce would have followed this road on their journey from Shurdington, Birdlip, Painswick, and perhaps other nearby villages to the south of Cheltenham. The lane continues in almost a straight line across Tivoli Green, along the narrow pathway at the side of Ashley House, into Lypiatt Road, down Montpellier Street, into Royal Well and straight into the High Street where the market was held until the 1870s. A glance at Merrett’s 1834 map clearly shows properties completed in Tivoli Road, then a cul de sac, with running almost parallel to it, the unnamed Tivoli Lane. The lane followed uninterrupted the length and curve of Tivoli Road to where it met Westal Brook at the rear of the Park properties. This lane had one detached house, probably Jireh Cottage, at its entrance and several little cottages were scattered along the lane, all on the Tivoli Street side. According to the 1851 Census there were eleven cottages, all one-up-one-down, with communal washing and toilet facilities. These cottages provided homes for over thirty persons whose occupations included that of gardener, laundress, fly driver, labourer and a stone mason. Four of the cottages were named Field Cottages in one of which lived a ‘schoolmistress’. These homes looked out with envy perhaps at the large houses then rising in Tivoli Road. One of the cottages is still occupied today and still bears the name Field Cottage.
In the mid nineteenth century there is evidence of much confusion over the names of some of these back lanes. Tivoli Lane, Prinbox Lane, Bakehouse Lane and Tivoli Walk were all referred to variously as Back of Tivoli East or Back of Tivoli West side or Tivoli Back Street. Back of Tivoli was generally used to refer to Tivoli Lane, while Back of Tivoli West denoted today’s Pinbox Lane. Here in 1844 lived a Mr Dyer, a farmer, in Westal Cottage whose neighbours were a carpenter and a labourer. At the top of Bakehouse Lane were Fairlight Cottages, numbers 1, 2 and 3 still there today. Where the skittle alley for the Royal Union stands there were three one-up-one-down cottages adding much to the variety and diversity of the neighbourhood. The 1884 Street Directory lists a George and Ellen Jackson living at Tivoli Inn Cottages, Back Lane presumably Tivoli Lane for Ellen died aged 32 at 10, Tivoli Lane in 1889. (44) Several other births and deaths in Tivoli Lane are recorded in the Parish Magazines between 1888-1890. The 1851 Census gives some idea of the cramped conditions in which families lived in this lane. Mr. Creed and 5 family; Ben Howell, fly driver and 6 family; H Green, stonemason and 5 family; James Phillips, labourer and 2 family; Elizabeth Clark, laundress and 5 family; J McCormack, day labourer and 1 family; Thomas Mitchell, gardener and 1 family; Field Cottage, Susanna Tustin, schoolmistress.
On the 1864 map of Cheltenham we see a slightly shorter Tivoli Lane than was evident in 1834, terminating behind the detached cottage at the top of Tivoli Street. This 1864 map still shows the detached property on the corner of Tivoli Lane, once called Jireh Cottage. which is not mentioned again in Directories after 1860.(45) Tivoli Buildings is first used to describe the four properties replacing Jireh cottage for which building certificates were issued in 1864, the present Tivoli Stores and the butcher’s shop currently occupying two of them. As late as 1895 a Mr. W Black was granted a building certificate for the erection of a new cottage in Tivoli Lane at the back of 5,Tivoli Street, still there today. (46) In June 1906, Coopers Cottages, four houses in Tivoli Lane, were advertised for sale, but these with most of the other cottages were demolished in the 1936 slum clearance programme. However as late as 1931 a cottage, “Norman”, Tivoli Lane, was on the market. It offered “an outside WC but is on the mains drain”.
Tivoli soon established itself as a much sought after residential area as we have seen in earlier extracts from contemporary guidebooks. The CLO regularly published lists of arrivals in Cheltenham and for 1834 we read of a Mr. Hadley at 3,Tivoli; a Mr. Kempson at 2, Tivoli; and a Mrs. Harmer at Tivoli Lodge. In 1835 we read of a Major Wallis arriving at Tivoli. All these addresses are identifiable as being in what is today, Tivoli Road. The Cheltenham Annuaire for 1837 contains a list of detached houses in the town and in Tivoli we find Tarlogie Lodge, and Tivoli Lodge. Resident gentry included F Monro, one of the town’s Commissioners, Mrs. Newenham of Tivoli and a Colonel Harrison and a Captain Harrison living respectively at 1 and 2 Tivoli. In July of that year, Capt Harrison’s home was for sale. The house “in the cottage style” possessed the advantages of good drainage. Four months later the CLO recorded the death in Rome, as a result of cholera, of Caroline, wife of Capt Harrison of ‘Tivoli, near this town.’
Tivoli Road on the earliest maps was a cul de sac which terminated at the dip in the road at The Park end, where Westal Brook now flows under the road. By 1843 it had been extended to pass over the brook to its present day junction. Of interest is the fact that Tivoli Road in 1851 began at and included Tivoli Circus. Starting on the east side of today’s Tivoli Road, the properties were named 1,2, Salopian Villas, Tivoli Lodge, two houses nearing completion, Northumberland Lodge, home of Bertram Mitford and Merton Lodge. Bertram Mitford FRGS, of Mitford Castle, Northumberland, was a prolific writer as well as an innovator. He was an exhibitor at the Great Exhibition of 1862 at which he showed two inventions, one of which was a device aimed at facilitating conversation between those who were deaf or dumb, and their friends. The other invention attempted to replace to some degree, the use of books in the poor schools. (47) Two years later he wrote to The Cheltenham Examiner with a suggestion for adapting the current Braille system of reading for the blind. He was also a regular compiler of letters of complaint to the local press. He resented the perceived lack of support which he received from the town’s magistrates when he complained of the nuisance caused by errand boys in the Tivoli area, throwing stones, damaging property and wasting their employers’ time by idling on street corners. He suggested that each errand boy wear an arm badge on which was embroidered the name of the firm or shop which he worked for. Then it would be easy for bad behaviour to be reported and after one or two warnings, the offender could be dismissed. “If the street boys of Cheltenham are a fair specimen of the advantages of an early education, and throwing stones, stoning cats and committing all kinds of depredations on private property (and I do not in some of these cases, exclude our College and Grammar School youths) is the only result of our school teaching, the sooner our ears are shut to the platform orator and our pockets to the promoters of such measures, the better for the peace of Cheltenham.” Plus ca change!
Crossing to the other side of the road, one arrived at Tivoli Gardens which stretched right through into Albany Road as far as what used to be the site of St Stephen’s Church Hall. These nursery gardens were owned by James Clift. Next to them were Park Cottage, Park Lodge, St James’ Villa, Kemerton Lodge, an unoccupied house, 1,2 Tivoli Villas, Lassington, 7 Tivoli, St Oswald’s, Maryville, Ivy Lodge, Tivoli Villa 2 (again), one empty house, Tivoli Villa 1 (again) with Tivoli Lawn as the last named house lived in by James Campbell who had previously been living in Hatherley Place. (48) The elegant architectural designs and the social standing of the residents no doubt helped Charles Sturt in his decision to move to St Edmund’s where he lived from 1854-1860. Charles Sturt was the famous explorer of Australia but failing eyesight and near blindness forced him to return to England. His close friend and former colleague in Australia, Sir Ralph Darling had lived in Lansdown and this may also have had some influence on Sturt’s decision to come to Cheltenham. From Tivoli he moved to Clarence Square and it was while living there that he was honoured with a knighthood. Unfortunately he was to die before the accolade could be conferred but he was held in such high esteem that Her Majesty allowed his widow to bear the title ‘Lady’. Lady Sturt returned to Tivoli, to St John’s Lodge, in 1870 where she lived with her son, Captain Sturt and her daughter. Her daughter became very involved with the new St Stephen’s Church, helping with flower arranging as well as working untiringly for several church affiliated organisations. On one occasion in the 1890s, she and her brother provided a celebration tea for upwards of seventy children in the Church Hall. (49) Lady Sturt died at St John’s Lodge in 1887, aged 85, and is buried with her husband in Cheltenham cemetery. Their daughter continued to live at St John’s Lodge for some time afterwards.
By the 1870’s, Tivoli was the approved name for the neighbourhood and many road and property names bore witness to the fact: Tivoli Circus, Tivoli Street, Tivoli Road, Tivoli Buildings, Tivoli Place, Tivoli Lawn, Tivoli Villas, Tivoli Cottages, and Tivoli House. Most of the houses were in the road of that name, called just Tivoli until 1870 when in the local street directory it appears for the first time as Tivoli Road.Tivoli House came up for sale in 1858, furnished, and comprising three sitting rooms and seven bedrooms. The sale price is not known, but in 1923 when it was again for sale, it was withdrawn at £675! Tivoli Lodge was for sale in 1863, and its contents auctioned separately, included Bruxelles carpets, Elizabethan sofas, French and Spanish bedroom furniture, china and glass. The property was bought by General Faber who only resided there for a short while selling the house in 1869 to General Polwhele. The new owner was not a stranger to Cheltenham, having lived here since 1858. He had seen service in the Bengal Army and at his funeral in 1885 it was said of him that “few officers living can have seen greater service”. (50) At the time of his arrival in Tivoli, 2, Tivoli Villas was being advertised as a Ladies’ Educational Establishment: “Late of Clairville House, Ross, Mme du Beau and Miss Wolstenholme will receive a limited number of young ladies. Masters on the usual terms. Pupils from the continent, India and the Colonies received on inclusive terms.” (51) This was by no means the first school in thedistrict. Tivoli Place had housed one such establishment in 1841 and Tivoli House, Tivoli Road was run as a Board School by the Misses Havell in 1844.
As well as residential properties, Tivoli Road boasted two nursery gardens in the 1860s and 1870s. Tivoli Gardens has already been mentioned and Messrs Norman and Amos ran a similar, though smaller establishment, about halfway along on the same side of the road. A subsequent owner of Tivoli Gardens, Mr. Moorman, often addressed Church organisations about his work and was himself a member of the congregation. A famous resident of Tivoli Road lived at Lang Syne, now number 11, from 1902 until a dramatic departure in 1907. Sir Ralph Richardson’s father taught art at Cheltenham Ladies’ College from 1893 when he first moved into Tivoli Road. He moved again to a second house in the road before renting Lang Syne with his wife in 1902. Their third son Ralph was born there on 19th December of that year. His mother was a Catholic and Ralph was baptised at St Gregory’s Church. The marriage was not a happy one and when his parents separated he moved with his mother. In his biography by Garry O’Connor, he recalls how the separation was effected. He describes how he eloped one night with his mother and as they departed in a taxi, they said farewell to a tall sister, dressed in black with a large starched white veil. “Now goodbye dear,” she said to my mother, “and be a good boy,” she said to me. “But why have you got a moustache?” I said to her. “Drive on cabby please,” called my mother. His mother reproved him: “Always remember Ralphie, never to say things like that.” (52) The event which gave rise to the separation was that while Mr. Richardson was away, his wife had had his study papered. As it was not done to his liking, he lost his temper, and Mrs. Richardson left home. They did not divorce, but were never reunited, Ralph and his mother settling with her sister on the coast, at Shoreham-by-Sea. Ralph also revealed how much he loved climbing up the big horse chestnut tree in the front garden of Lang Syne, hiding in the branches and startling the elegant ladies as they walked along the path underneath.
Another well known and respected occupant of the former Richardson house from 1927, was Dame Sidney Browne G.B.E., R.R.C and Bar, who was known as the modern Florence Nightingale. She had a most distinguished 40 years military career being Matron-in-Chief of the Territorial Force Nursing Service for 12 years before retiring in 1920. She had served right through the Great War and earlier in the South African War, the Sudan Campaign and the Egyptian War. Seven years after retirement she came to live in Tivoli where she spent many happy years. After her death in August 1941 at the age of 91, she was buried from St Stephen’s Church, her funeral being attended by many distinguished personages in Army, medical and nursing services. Her Majesty Queen Mary sent a gracious message of sympathy. Dame Sidney was one of the oldest and most faithful communicants at St Stephen’s, and although unable to attend church in her last days, she never failed to receive the Sacrament at home and was given the last rites before she died. Her association with St Stephen’s came about through her London attachment to All Saints, Margaret Street, a stronghold of Anglo-Catholicism, which enabled her to love and fully participate in St Stephen’s style of worship. The Vicar at the time wrote, “Throughout her life she remained a most earnest and devout Christian and her personal devotion to Our Lord was the guiding principle and expression of her life.”
Davies’ 1843 description of Tivoli Road would have been very familiar to the young Ralph: “Tivoli, (is) a street running parallel with Park Place and like it, consisting almost wholly of detached villas, with small gardens or lawns in front, enclosed with iron railings. Several of these villas display considerable taste, particularly one called St Oswald, on the right hand side of the way, affording on a small scale, an excellent example of the application of gothic designs to modern dwellings.” This peaceful utopia was not to last for long for just fourteen years later, Bertram Mitford was writing his letters of complaint to the Cheltenham Examiner, referred to above. (53) On leaving Tivoli Road one enters The Park, an area not strictly within the scope of this ‘tour’, but relevant in parts because some of its residents were members of St Stephen’s and also because of its proximity to Tivoli.
By 1835 The Park was almost complete although many of the houses still awaited occupants. In 1838, to coincide with the coronation of Queen Victoria the Zoological Gardens in The Park were opened and offered many attractions – lions, elephants, zebras, monkeys, kangaroos, polar bears, aviaries, aquaria, botanical gardens and promenades, all for one shilling (5p) entrance. This venture of Thomas Billings, a well established local solicitor and speculator, was a disaster and soon failed. In 1851, Thomas Billings was living as a lodger with the proprietor of Tivoli Gardens in Tivoli Road. The Park itself became a pleasure garden, privately owned, with flowered walks and facilities for cricket and archery. (54) In 1844 the site was for sale for building purposes and Fullwood House was completed in 1847. Two years later, a very desirable and extensive estate was on the market at the corner of the junction of St Stephen’s Road with The Park. This estate was Oakfield, “a detached family residence in the Italian style of architecture, erected regardless of expense.” (55) It offered pleasure grounds, shrubberies, ornamental waters, walled garden, fruit trees, two vineries, a conservatory, a peach house and a forcing pit. The entrance hall boasted a stone staircase and there were large airy rooms for the servants as well as a coach house, a four stalled stable and good building frontage. Offered for sale with immediate possession, the house still stands today, but originally the estate stretched as far as the present Albany Road to the north and to St Stephen’s Road to the west. Oakfield was again sold in 1858 to Lieutenant General Fiddes. His time there was not a long one. He had served with the Bengal Army and been rewarded with many medals and promoted to the rank of Lt-General (without pay). On retirement he settled in Cheltenham, first at Lansdown Crescent and then at Oakfield. He died peacefully in 1863 aged 81 and a memorial tablet was erected to his memory in Christ Church. At a later sale in 1900 much was made of the added attraction of gas and “corporation water, hot and cold”. In that year the estate was split up –Lot 1 being the house and gardens of one acre and Lot 2 being two acres of land. In 1914 Cheltenham saw the arrival of hundreds of Belgian wounded soldiers and Oakfield was given over as a war refuge for these victims from Louvain, Malines and Aerschott. (56)
Before leaving The Park perhaps mention should be made of Admiral Henry Christian. The County of Gloucester has had several notable Chief Constables of whom Admiral Christian was one. He served as the second Chief Constable for the County from 1865-1910 and was known as a strict disciplinarian. It was he who was responsible for mobilising the Force with bicycles in 1896. (57) The Christian family lived at Heighthorne, The Park, until his death in 1916. From the opening of St Stephen’s in 1873 the family were committed supporters of the church, worshipping there and making generous contributions to any appeal which was raised, especially those connected with the Coffee Tavern and the School. One of the daughters, Mary, was married at St Stephen’s in June 1893, the church being filled to the doors with friends and members of the congregation. The Sunday-school children scattered flower petals in front of the bride and groom as they left the church. Another daughter who had been a teacher in the Young Women’s section of the Sunday-school died in 1908 and her funeral was conducted by the Vicar of St Stephen’s. In the Memorial Chapel at the church is inscribed on the east wall the names of those who gave their lives ‘Pro Patria’, and amongst them is that of “Captain H Christian, RN 1917” son of the Admiral. Admiral Christian is believed to have been a cousin of Fletcher Christian of ‘Mutiny on the Bounty’ fame and is honoured with a memorial tablet in the South Transept of Gloucester Cathedral. We have almost come full circle around the boundary of Tivoli with only St Stephen’s Road to explore, before we venture into the heart of Tivoli itself to examine the streets of terraced houses which take us from the 1830s up to the present day.
ST STEPHEN’S ROAD
St Stephen’s Road was known as Hatherley Place until St Stephen’s Church was completed in 1883. Hatherley Place was in fact the name given to the terrace of houses at the Westal Green entrance to the road, a terrace started by 1834, seven houses of which were owned in 1840 by Pearson Thompson of Hatherley Court. The Directories for 1837 inform us that the widow of General Jackson was living at No 2 and Rev C Herbert at No 3. On the 1840 map the road is described as ‘leading to the Zoological Gardens’ and extends as far as its present junction with The Park. Apart from the terrace, the only other building ‘in’ the road was Hatherley Court, the large estate sitting between Hatherley Place and Hatherley Road. By the end of the following year all 13 houses in the terrace were complete and occupied, some by temporary tenants who were leasing the premises for the season. In the early days of the nineteenth century, the letting out of rooms or ‘apartments’ was a lucrative enterprise. Such seasonal visitors brought new fashions to the town as well as making increased demands on the retail and domestic services. The Summer Season, according to Griffith (1826) lasted from the first week of May to the end of November. The rest of the year was the Winter Season although one could hardly tell the difference as each was linked by “an unbroken chain of elegant enjoyment, delight and gaiety”. (58) This gaiety extended beyond the town boundary however and in 1840 we find a report in the CLO of a morning concert at the home of Mr. and Mrs. Alban Croft, in Mr. Croft’s drawing room at 13 Hatherley Place. It was very fashionably attended by several members of the Enterpean Society, and Messrs Cianchetini, Uglow, Evans, Col Wall and Dr Boisragon all performed. These names were all members of the ‘Society Set’ at the time and their presence would have aroused a lot of interest. No 11 had changed hands by I850 when it became home to the Rev Archibald Boyd Vicar of Christ Church 1842-1859. Hatherley Villa, on a site now occupied by Hanover Court, and Little Hatherley, now called St Stephen’s Manor, had been built by 1854. Redesdale at The Park end of the road had also been built by this time.
Maintenance of roads up to the 1870s was a problem, the ultimate responsibility resting with the private owners. However as new roads were developed the owners attempted to ‘donate’ them to the parish in order to free them from their maintenance costs. Usually the parish insisted on a reasonable state of repair before accepting the ‘gift’. As early as February 1857 the owners of much of Hatherley Place as well as the tenants pressed the Town Commissioners to adopt the road, 265 yards in length. The letter requesting the adoption was signed by Mr. R S Lingwood, of Redesdale House, Mr. Webster of Hatherley Court, the Misses Bird of Little Hatherley, Captain and Lady Henry of Hatherley Villa, Mr. McKenzie of 13, Hatherley Place, Mr. Curry of 5, Hatherley Place and Thomas Darby of the Lansdown Hotel. (59) An Inspector’s report in answer to this petition refused the application on the grounds that the road was not in a good enough state of repair to become a highway especially as there were no sewers in the road. The report described the road as being in a very bad state, “scarcely any materials ever having been put on to it. A number of men are currently employed in stoning the road, and forming and repairing the footpaths but the repairs are not sufficiently advanced to pronounce an opinion as to whether the work is to the satisfaction of the Board.”
Mr. Lingwood again pressed for the road to be adopted in 1864 but once more, the Inspector did not recommend adoption. He agreed that it was much used as a public road to The Park but still required considerable repair. “At present there is only one newly built villa as yet unoccupied (probably Fairlight) the remainder on both sides being laid ready for building.” In the following year the Borough Surveyor reported that at The Park end of the road, properties were having their portion made up but the other portion had not yet been started. The house owners were generally willing to proceed except for Mr. Winterbotham who was by far the largest land owner. He objected to his estimated share of the cost which would amount to £250. The Surveyor did however report to the Street and Highways Committee in October of that year, 1865, that the repairs were now complete. The work not done voluntarily had been carried out on his instructions at a cost of £243.19.1. Mr. Winterbotham’s share of this amounted to £195.2.11. He was still being pursued for this amount in 1867, which he eventually paid.
In 1869, under the terms of the Cheltenham 1852 Improvement Act, the owners of the road, Mr. John Brend Winterbotham and John Penrice Bell, both of Cheltenham, were again required by the Town Commissioners to take action over the state of the road. A public notice was served on them and published in the Cheltenham Examiner. They were ordered to bring part of it to a proper surface and detailed materials were insisted upon: a three inch coating of Bristol black rock stone, broken small with a slight mixture of brown gravel, well rolled on completion with a heavy roller at an estimated cost of £85.10.00. This was to be completed within fourteen days, the order being made on 14th December. If the joint owners of the road failed to execute the work, then the road’s property owners would be compelled to do so. (60) The length of road referred to was from the last house in the terrace to the boundary of the civil parish, just past today’s Albany Road. The repairs were eventually carried out and Hatherley Place was declared a Highway in 1870. (61) It is interesting to learn that Mr. Winterbotham was one of the longest established solicitors in the town as well as being one of the Town Commissioners. Mr. Robert Sole Lingwood of Redesdale House, also one of the town’s first Improvement Commissioner from 1851-1860, had served as Churchwarden of Christ Church from 1849-1860 and was an established solicitor in the town. In 1862 he purchased for £33,000 the Lordship of the Manor of Cheltenham, reselling it in 1873 due to illness, to the son of the person from whom he had bought it. (62) Street lighting was introduced to this area in the late 1850s, mainly through his efforts when in November 1857 he successfully requested the Cheltenham Town Commissioners for more gas lighting in Hatherley Place, where it was desperately needed. (63) His death took place at Redesdale in December 1873. Similar problems with road maintenance had been very common before the Improvement Act and as early as 1831 the inhabitants of Westal had been ordered to repair Hatherley Lane. When they failed to do so they were indicted by the owner of Hatherley Court at the time, Pearson Thompson.
After the consecration of St Stephen’s in 1883, the road was still largely undeveloped with Hatherley Place and the church being the only properties on that side of the road until one reached the Oakfield estate. On the opposite side starting at the Westal end, were several detached villas. An 1880s deed to Hatherley Villa – now the Hanover Court development, contains a sketch plan of that side of the road. It shows Hatherley Villa, Fairlight, Elliott, Sherbrook, The Laurels, Codenham, Hatherley Lodge, Bubb, Thruxton, and Webster, all house or owner names. (64) Webster is used to indicate the parcel of land now Hatherley Court Road and the next property is Little Hatherley. From 1884 this became the home of the first incumbent of St Stephen’s, the Rev C. McArthur, although it was named St Stephen’s Manor by 1879 when it was offered for sale but withdrawn. The advertisement made much of the two gardens, one with lawns and lake. Some of the land was also offered for building, with a long frontage to St Stephen’s Road.
Names of properties do cause some confusion and property deeds at GRO contain references to what became St Stephen’s Manor from as early as 1843 when it was in the possession of Mr. Charles Bird whose daughters lived there until it became the home of the Reverend McArthur. At the beginning of the 1900s St Stephen’s Manor was home to Col Richard and Mrs Rogers. Col Rogers was a well respected local dentist from 1860 to 1903 and served on many national professional committees. He served for 27 years in the 1st Gloucester Royal Engineer Volunteers retiring in 1903 with the rank of Honorary Colonel. He was Mayor of Cheltenham in 1895, 1896, 1897, 1901 and 1902 and outside of that Office he was actively involved in many civic affairs of the town.
Park Gate Villa 1,2, (Park Gate and Parkfield Lawn) with the large Redesdale House on the corner, Robert Lingwood’s former home, complete this side of the road and all date from the 1850s. In 1878 the then owner Mr. J F Calland sold Redesdale, a family freehold with four acres of garden, as he was moving away from the area. The sale particulars make much of the first floor conservatory so conspicuous and admired today. The purchaser was Mrs. Sarah Haighton Noyes, nee Wilks, widow of Henry Crine Noyes of Thruxton Manor, Hampshire. The reasons for settling in Cheltenham are unclear, but there was a strong military tradition in the family. In the 1881 Census, living at Redesdale with Sarah were her adult children, Colonel George Augustus Noyes, Margaret Alice Noyes, Charlotte Emily Noyes, and Donald Edmund Haighton Noyes. The family were of very High Anglican tradition and one daughter eventually became an Anglican nun. Sarah died in December 1893 and Redesdale was sold the following year to a Mrs McDonald for £2,250, thus closing the estate of Sarah Noyes. Her son, Colonel Noyes had moved almost next door, to Parkfield Lawn, a smaller but elegant property with less land although he continued to rent the gardens at Redesdale for £10 per annum and the stables for 10/- per week. His three male children attended Cheltenham College and all later served in the army. The death of one son, Major Ralph Elliot Noyes in 1915 is recorded in St Stephen’s Memorial Chapel. Major Ralph was killed at Loos but has no known grave. Colonel Noyes died in April 1922, leaving estate to the value of £9,397. Sarah’s other son, son Donald Edmund Haighton Noyes had moved to Thruxton by 1892, just further along St Stephen’s Road almost on the corner with Hatherley Court Road. He died in 1924. A modern house now stands on the site. The family were strong supporters of St Stephen’s and its many organisations and several Noyes, or related family, baptisms, marriages and funerals took place there. Many of the burials took place at Cheltenham Cemetery and the grave stones give quite a comprehensive record of family relationships.
Hatherley Villa “on St Stephen’s Road near to Lansdown Road” had been the home of Captain and Lady Selina Henry from 1854 until her death in 1867. Her four daughters and son, Lt Colonel J J Henry, continued to live there until they sold the property in 1889. Lady Selina was the third and last surviving daughter of Francis, First Marquis of Hastings, and Flora, Countess of Loudon. Lady Selina died after a lingering, suffering illness, “borne with a Christian’s joyous faith, deeply loved and mourned by her children and all who knew her”. She had been a resident of Cheltenham for many years and her death was sincerely regretted by her close but large circle of friends. Fourteen years after her death, and nearly three years before the actual completion of the church, her daughter Mabel presented St Stephen’s with its font in memory of her mother. The Vicar received the gift at a short service in 1881 “which excited great interest in the minds of the many residents of the locality and members of Christ Church congregation who attended in sufficient numbers to fill the church.” (65) The poorer members no doubt had to wait until normal service times to view this essential addition to the furnishing of the church. This font is still used today and stands inside the South door and a brass memorial plaque records the gift.
In May 1889 the Misses Henry decided to sell Hatherley Villa. It was described as “a bi-front structure” with five reception rooms, thirteen bed and dressing rooms, extensive lawns, a fountain with a large stone basin for goldfish, three glass houses, excellent paddock, a frontage of 364 feet on to St Stephen’s Road, a substantial detached brick cottage and laundry, in all two to three acres. The house was claimed to be one of the most desirable and enjoyable residences in Cheltenham. The portico entrance boasted a Minton tiled floor and on the lawn in front of the drawing room window was a large fountain with a stone basin for goldfish. This property was in sharp contrast to the many small terraced artisan homes which made up most of the neighbouring streets! The purchaser in June was a Mr. H McCall who carried out much alteration to the property which he then renamed ‘Quince Lawn’. On his death in 1900 the sale particulars described the property as being contained in a ring fence, with hall, three reception, ten bedrooms and one sitting room. The gardens were well stocked, and at a convenient distance from the house were a coach house, stabling for three horses, two cottages and outbuildings. There was still a large building frontage and the site comprised two and a half acres. In 1910 the property was renamed Smeaton House. Miss Elizabeth Henry died at Leckhampton in 1909 and her sister Mabel died in 1911. They were survived by their brother and their two sisters, Eva and Agnes. In the 1960s Hatherley Villa became Bayshill Nursing Home. Development of the site for the Hanover Housing Association took place in the 1970s/1980s and in 2002 the house itself underwent major refurbishment and modernisation to provide well appointed apartments for the retired. At about the same time as Mr McCall’s house was sold a neighbouring property almost opposite the church, The Laurels, was also sold and became simply 34, St Stephen’s Road. This house is immediately next to Pagasus Court. The new occupier was Mrs Forsyth Grant who had moved from Park Place.
The present property on the corner of Princes Road opposite the church was built in the early 1880s and named St Stephen’s Grange but the new owner in 1887, Mr H. James MA, renamed it Fallowfield and used it as a cramming school for a while, for subjects such as Arithmetic, Euclid and Algebra. By 1898 it had become St Stephen’s Vicarage. Although many of the roads surrounding the church were built up by the 1890s, St Stephen’s Road contained quite an amount of undeveloped land. The church was the only building between Princes Road and Albany Road until the end of the century when the pair of semi detached villas next but one to it was constructed. When the villas were advertised they each contained seven bedrooms, three reception and all domestic offices.
The next plot towards Albany Road was advertised for sale in 1900 ‘connected to main sewer and ripe for development.’ On this site was built Camperdown, which when advertised for sale in 1907, was described as a “modern freehold detached double fronted property, late in the occupation of Admiral (Capt?) Onslow on account of whose decease the property is on the market. Charming pleasure grounds with tennis lawns, shrubberies, flower gardens. Extensive frontage to St Stephen’s road with space for the erection of another place of residence or pair of semis if so desired.” The property was sold privately for £1,700. Many people have questioned the naming of this house and there are two possible – probable – answers. The house was built for Captain Onslow c1902 and he may have been a descendant of Vice-admiral Onslow who in 1797 together with Admiral Duncan, was instrumental in obtaining a decisive victory over the Dutch fleet off the village of Camperdown. On the other hand Captain Onslow may have served on HMS Camperdown in 1893 when on maneuvers off Tripoli. On this occasion, an unwise command from the Commander in Chief, Mediterranean resulted in two of the British ships colliding. One, HMS Camperdown, rammed HMS Victoria which sank with the loss of 358 officers and crew. Camperdown almost sank too, but managed to stagger into port. This may have been Captain Onslow’s tribute to an event that had happened only nine years previously. The plot immediately next to the church was built upon by 1895 and the property, Roehampton, now 42, St Stephen’s Road, became the Vicarage in 1964. The Hatherley Grange Rest Home was added to the Hatherley Place Terrace just before the turn of the century and became the home of Mr J Lithgow from about 1891. The site, with the land on which now stand the semi-detached houses alongside it, had been owned between 1860 – 1870 by John Bignall and he had let it out as gardens for the residents of Hatherley Place.
THE HEART OF TIVOLI
We have seen that during the whole of the nineteenth century Tivoli became a developing, fashionable suburb with many large mansions for the wealthy retired and influential professionals rising on the boundary of the ecclesiastical parish. Within this boundary there grew up a community of smaller artisan type dwellings, mainly terraced. Construction reached its peak between the late 1830s and early 1850s. Then towards the latter part of the century, several villas began to appear as more land became available for building. In close proximity to the church itself, larger terraces of more substantial houses for professional and semi professional families arose in the late 1880s. These were mainly in Princes Road, Albany Road and Oakfield Street.
Hatherley Street is indicated but not named on the 1840 map and is open at the south end. Directories of the 1840s and 1850s include references to Hatherley Street and also Hatherley Retreat which ran off it. In 1857 the residents of Hatherley Street requested the Commissioners to approve the completion of the repairs to the road. The reply was that the Improvement Act had powers to enforce repairs, but in this case they would only apply to the south end of the street. The remaining end of the street near Tivoli Place was composed on each side by long garden walls which “if flagged, would cause an offensive experience on individuals. Therefore there is no cause to accede to this request at present”. (65) Most of the houses were occupied by tradespeople, upwards of thirty different occupations being identified: coachman, laundress, bricklayer, servant, accountant, dairyman, messenger, to name but a few. Building certificates were issued in 1834 for houses in Lypiatt Street which became populated by tradespeople amongst whom were a shoemaker, tailor, carpenter, and wheelwright. Tivoli Street by the end of the 1840s was perhaps more densely populated than the other streets and here lived people carrying out the trades of bricklayer, carpenter, coachman, laundress, servant and mason. One of the residents of this street was to become quite famous and his memorial still lures visitors to one of the most attractive parts of Cheltenham.
Before 1840 the proprietors of the Montpellier Walk had built a row of shops which provided an added incentive for visitors to the Montpellier Spa. Pearson Thompson of Hatherley Court brought from London three terra cotta figures, the Caryatides, which it was decided could be used as pillars outside these shop fronts. The three brought by Thompson were used on the offices of the Cheltenham Looker On at the Promenade end of the Walk, a building which until recently housed the National Westminster Bank but is now a restaurant. Mr. Brown of 45, Tivoli Street was commissioned to carve the other matching figures, eighteen in all, which he did with his son, William between 1845 and 1850. In 1851 Mr. Brown was living and working from Tivoli Street where he employed six men, one of whom was his son William then aged 23. Mr. James Brown’s death in 1871 at the age of 67 is recorded in The Cheltenham Examiner of 12th December: “A very old tradesman of the town, Mr. Brown, was a builder and sculptor engaged in many of the principal buildings of Cheltenham during the last half century, including Pittville Pump Room, the College, the College Chapel, Christ Church, St Luke’s, Salem Chapel, the Congregational Church and the carved work and carved figures in Montpellier Walk. The figures were placed in the shops as they were completed.” The CLO for 1913 recorded that only two of the figures were ever removed and that they were then “in existence, in two private gardens”. (66) His son William Giles died at Malvern House, Malvern Road aged 98 in 1926, “associated with much of the sculptural work of the town, particularly the caryatides in Montpellier Walk.”
A photograph of W G Brown and his father is reproduced in the Cheltenham Chronicle and Graphic for May 15th 1926. The accompanying text reads:
Mr William Giles Brown, of Malvern House, Malvern Road, died May 1st aged 98. He was associated with much architectural work in this town , especially the Caryatides in Montpellier Walk. He is shown with his father at the building site of the Cambray Turkish Baths. Mr Brown senior died over 50 years ago aged 73. He worked on the Pitville Pump Room when it was under construction and did much work at Christ Church when it was built in 1838. Both father and son worked as sculptors on the Houses of Parliament.
One would hardly imagine that so near to the sophisticated villas in the immediate neighbourhood there existed on the site of today’s Tivoli Institute, a large piggery, prominently identified as such in the Old Town Map of 1855-1857. Still further down Tivoli Street, almost on the corner with Princes Road, there was a yard which John Burrows in 1859 applied to have licensed as a slaughterhouse. The yard was an eyesore and created somewhat of a nuisance in the neighbourhood. Mr. H Davies, the proprietor of the CLO who lived only two hundred yards or so away, was Chairman of the Committee which considered the application on behalf of the town. He said that he knew of no other site in so bad a state in the whole of Cheltenham “with pigs, cows and every kind of animal refuse”. He added that, in his opinion it was a place unfit to be near any form of human habitation. In November a site visit was made and the subsequent report showed that the nuisance consisted of a small yard with a dilapidated shed, heaps of rubbish, manure and pig-styes. Mr. Burrows proposed to renovate the property, build a slaughterhouse and floor it with paving slabs. He intended to make proper gulleys and drainage holes so that the effluent could run into the sewers at the back of Hatherley Street. Mr. Davies reminded the Committee that the site was at the extreme end of the town, surrounded by open gardens and in view of the fact that of the 46 slaughter houses already in Cheltenham, 16 were near the High Street, he had no objection to the application for improvement. However Mr. Lingwood the solicitor who owned Redesdale, again only yards away at the corner of St Stephen’s Road, did object. He could vouch for the site being a public nuisance and the smell from cows, horses, pigs, and filth running into the Street was he said, enough to make visitors to the town think that Cheltenham had no Board of Public Health. Tivoli in his opinion had been much neglected. It was thickly populated by large families and humble persons in life and seeing the children running about the streets in such an atmosphere made him surprised that the area was not more unhealthy than the facts seemed to indicate. A fellow member of the Committee, Mr. Sweeting, was bitterly opposed to this description of the residents, but he did support the objection to the application. He agreed Tivoli was a large and populous place, but that all the families were respectable, the situation was good and the cottage property stood pre-eminent over any in the neighbourhood. Once the Committee had expressed its views, it was decided to refuse the application. Nevertheless, Tivoli can be said to have contributed through this application to the general well being of the inhabitants of the town, for as a result of this case the Committee recommended that in future no slaughter house should be opened nearer than six hundred yards to a dwelling house. This recommendation was accepted. (67)
This matter highlights the problems of the developing area, for ten years previously the Cresy Report had acknowledged that from The Park houses the sewers discharged into open water-courses. (68) These were Westal Brook and Hatherley Brook and the discharge rendered the waters therein so impure that they could not be used for domestic purposes. Likewise in Tivoli Road, the sewers continued to present problems right up to the first decade of the1900s. There was little road drainage and the sewers, where they did exist, were privately owned and had to be rented thus making them inaccessible to the poorer homes.The problem of the sewers was to remain well into the twentieth century but a complaint by the residents of the district as well as other members of the town was made in 1899 which kept in the public eye the issues of the forties and fifties. (69) An Improvement Bill was introduced in 1903, the principal object of which was the removal of what had been known as the private sewers scandal. “The position of affairs in the Tivoli and other districts is a serious menace to the health of the town. The earnest attention of the voters is called to the accompanying Memorandum of the Medical Officer of Health of the Borough and the letter of the Rev E L Jennings, Vicar of St Stephen’s Parish.”(70) The Vicar’s letter contained an appeal to voters to support the measures which the Council sought to implement. The districts affected were Lansdown and Tivoli, where if fever had broken out, the effect would have been felt in the whole of Cheltenham.
The Medical Officer of Health stated that Cheltenham was the only town in the country where the residents relied in part on private sewers. “The sewers were cheaply constructed, in a deplorable state of repair and recent collapses had resulted in a situation too horrendous to describe, while Lypiatt Street had experienced an occurrence which can only be described as a disgrace to civilisation. Diphtheria is rife in the parish and the fact that in some places the sewers run against the foundations of a row of houses, makes them a perpetual menace to the district and the community.” The Bill proposed the compulsory purchase of the sewers from the private owners who had failed to maintain them and who at the time could not be forced to do so. There was some opposition to the Bill from residents in other parts of the town who believed that their rates would be helping to pay for improvements to a part of the town which was no concern of theirs. The Vicar called a meeting on behalf of the residents of Lansdown and Tivoli so that they could put their points of view to the community at large. In March 1905 the Bill was defeated by 9 votes to 5 and the matter was not resolved. The local press satirists took great delight in airing their artistic as well as satirical skills. (71)
The Borough Engineer was asked to prepare a report on the condition of the sewers which was laid before the Public Health Committee in 1908. (72) This report described Tivoli as an area of 2l acres with a resident population of 1,700 persons. The boundary of the district matched the earlier 1850s description. The sewers were described as being made partly of clay, partly of pipe, the latter being in better condition than the former. “Many of the sewers are silted up and contain a considerable amount of deposited matter.” An estimated cost, which would include the provision of surface water drains, for a total construction and improvement of the Tivoli sewers alone, would amount to £18,700. The older streets, Tivoli Place, St Stephen’s Road, Tivoli Street, Princes Road and Hatherley Street, contained sewers which held up to six inches of standing sewage, exceeded only by Lypiatt Street and Hatherley Retreat where seven inches existed. Dagmar Road and Alexandra Street contained up to three inches of standing sewage. Only Oakfield and Albany, much newer roads, were completely free, but even in Albany a portion of one sewer passed under a house. The Report also guessed that the sewers in St Stephen’s Road, Tivoli Place, Hatherley Street and Lypiatt Street were about eighty years old, therefore dating from the 1820s. The Report raised lots of questions and some hostility but eventually in 1911 the work began in earnest, and was soon completed. All house drains in the Tivoli district were inspected before their connection to the new sewers. One hundred and sixty six houses needed remedial work upon completion of which the MOH reported that Tivoli now ranked as one of the best sewered and drained districts in the Borough. In 1938 however the St Stephen’s Road sewers had to be relaid because rats were eating their way through them!
In the mid nineteenth century the mixture in social class was quite pronounced. A look at the residents lists and Trade Directories show that in Tivoli Road, Hatherley Place, Hatherley Road and The Park Estate nearest to St Stephen’s Road, there lived those who still practised or had retired from the military professions: General, Lt Colonel, Major, Captain, and Major-General; there was also a doctor and a solicitor. Titled nobility included an Honourable, a Lady and a Baroness. This contrasted sharply with sweep, gasfitter, tailor, gardener, laundress, ironmonger, bootmaker, carpenter, whitesmith, beer retailer, railway porter, painter and plasterer, all of whom lived in close proximity in Tivoli, Lypiatt and Hatherley streets. Yet this mix of different social class in such a defined and confined neighbourhood is what probably contributed to the strong community feeling which is evident on reading local press and parish magazine reports in later years.
The building of houses in the smaller Tivoli streets did not happen over night and right up to the 1860s land was still being advertised for sale. In 1853 the local newspapers offered two newly built cottages at the top of Lypiatt Street with a piece of building land adjoining. Also 16 plots of cottage building land at the top of and adjoining Hatherley Street and a further ten adjoining Lypiatt Street all with frontages of 16-20 feet were advertised.
Although not rich in industry, Tivoli has been home to one or two well known locally established firms centred on the Tivoli Works site in Lypiatt Street. I am grateful to Mrs Sue Brasher for some of the details of the site and her family’s involvement with it. The site probably began life as an industrial unit in 1842 when Mark Barett, a local builder and plumber built two cottages and a workshop there-perhaps the cottages mentioned above. A few years later he sold out to Isaac James who built up a business as a wheelwright and machine maker. Isaac and his son traded under the name of James and Son, Tivoli Works and were advertising as agricultural implement manufacturers until 1886 when they won a Gold Medal at the London Exhibition for the Agricultural and Building Trades. Their advertisement and business card made much of the firms skill in manufacturing ‘Street Sweeping Machines’ as well as water vans, tumbler carts, liquid manure carts in wood or iron, chain pumps, revolving screens, hand road scrapers, bone and stone crushers, general purpose carts, vans wagons etc. From 1886 to 1890, the Works were taken over by a small engineering firm run by a Mr. Welch but in 1890 he sold the premises to a Mr. Peter Bendall and Mr. Charles Weeks of Tivoli Street, who established a furniture storage and carpet cleaning business. They installed some quite large and sophisticated ‘Dust Eradicating’ machinery. ‘Seeing this machine at work ensures the carpets being sent to Tivoli Works and no other place.’ The site now contained the two earlier cottages, warehouses, sheds, outbuildings, stores and workshops. From 1883, Bendall also had an upholstery and decorating retail outlet at 8, Tivoli Place which was still open in 1903. In 1898 another branch had opened at Newington House, Suffolk Road, near to the College, and specialised in soft furnishings. St Stephen’s Parish Magazines regularly featured advertisements for Barnaby Bendall both at Tivoli Street and in Suffolk Road. The carpet beating business continued at Tivoli Works until 1917 when the site was sold to the Gloucester Aircraft Company Ltd. In December 1924, William Henry Brasher bought the premises and established the Prinbox Works which also gave the name to the adjoining lane.
The 1890s saw the completion of most of the Street plan and road names as we know them today. Princes Road, Albany Road and Oakfleld Street were well populated, the latter named after the estate which it overlooked. Princes Road contained blocks of terraced properties, each terrace boasting an individual name, with the earlier ones being beyond the Hatherley Street junction. Advancing along Princes Road from St Stephen’s Road, the corner house on the left, Princes Court, was formerly Fallowfield. The first two houses in the next terrace are modern, but the remaining four date from c1872 and form Fairlight Terrace. In the 1880s, 4 Fairlight Terrace was the Sanatorium for the boys of Glyngarth School, then near Westal Green. (73) Hatherley Street now intervenes and the next three houses made up Fairlight Place. The final block extending to Tivoli Street, the oldest block in this road, is officially Tivoli Terrace. Princes Terrace is the name of the two blocks on the other side of the road, separated by Dagmar Road. It was at number 10, Princes Terrace that James Edward Killick lived with his wife and seven children. He had moved to Cheltenham from Abergavenny and was a very talented craftsman. When St Stephen’s Church went over to electricity from gas Mr. Killick was the contractor. At the back of his house in Princes Terrace, he had a workshop in which he set up equipment for recharging accumulators for the neighbours at a cost of one penny. His movement about the parish on his motorcycle, with wife Constance in the sidecar, was a familiar sight.
The terrace between Oakfield Street and Alexandra Street was called Cyprus Terrace and contained St Stephen’s Villa. This was the last terrace to be built in the road, dating from 1882/3 but the roof-line suggests that it was built as two blocks of four houses. The house before the one on the corner of Oakfield Street was St Stephen’s House, where the church’s curate lived. The occupations of the inhabitants of the road reflected those of the other streets, although there were not as many tradespeople – coachmen, post office clerk, tailor, florist, nurse, butler, dressmaker and wheelchairman. Oakfield Street contained only four houses in 1897, the first of which was Oakleigh Villa at the Albany Road end. In 1888 number 3, Hanley Villa appears to have served as a local ‘Police Station’ for a short while, although this may refer to the fact that it was the home of the local ‘bobby’. Alexandra Street contained houses on both sides occupied in the 1890s by an upholsterer, gardener, coachman, fly driver, nurse, postman, engraver, and carpenter, to name but a few. Some of the houses were individually named and semi-detached houses included Essex Villas and Rochfort Terrace. Dagmar Road housed a waiter, wheelchairman, bootmaker, bookseller, commission agent, tailor and upholsterer, living in Dagmar Terrace or Dagmar Villas. Dagmar Road and Alexandra Street were named by 1884.
Across the road, Tivoli Street provided homes for a gasfitter, boot maker, corn dealer, porter, haulier, coachman, blacksmith, packer, paperhanger and bell hanger. Lypiatt Street housed similar tradespeople with the addition of florist, confectioner, fishmonger and letter carrier. One terrace in this street was named Llandudno Villas. Hatherley Cottages were between Hatherley Street and Lypiatt Street alongside the Royal Union Inn and in them lived John Harmer, a baker; Mrs Smith a charwoman; Charles Mills a plasterer. In Lypiatt Cottage lived Mr Parkes a boot maker. Only Lypiatt cottage still stands today. Hatherley Street housed representatives of most of the trades already mentioned.
In the 1890s Albany Road contained houses only on the north side and was referred to by the title of one of its terraces, Park View. Here lived a builder, coachman, horologist, professor of Oriental languages, and a clerk. The south side of the road was still undeveloped, the land forming part of Tivoli Gardens, the Church Hall and Oakfield Estate. The names Dagmar, Albany, Alexandra and Princes all relate to titles of members of the Royal family. Princes is obviously a reference to Prince Edward later Edward VII; Alexandra refers to his wife and Dagmar to her sister who later was to become wife of the Tsar of Russia. The younger brother of Prince Edward, Leopold was created Duke of Albany in 1881. (74)
House prices were considerably lower than those commanded by the large villa properties and in 1893 number 3, Hatherley Street ‘of interest to livery stable keepers, small capitalists and others’ was on the market at the same time as its near neighbour, number 14 with its laundry, rear garden and three bedrooms. The fact that corporation mains water was laid on was used to advertise 7, Lypiatt Street to be let at £1 monthly. Number 37, Tivoli Street was being let at £12 annually, and contained two bedrooms, a yard at the front and one at the rear with W C and pump. There was also a slaughterhouse, pens, cart shed, a three stalled stable, with lofts, in an enclosed yard adjoining with an entrance through double doors from Tivoli Street. An added attraction was the good supply of pump water. (75)
Many houses came up for sale in the early 1900s having been rented up to this time. Mr. Peter Potter seems to have been quite a property owner in the district. On his death in 1900 at 27, Hatherley Street, he owned numbers 18 and 19 in the same street; 29,30,31 in Tivoli Street; 10, Tivoli Terrace; 5, Tivoli Place and 1,2,3, Fairlight Cottages at the top of Bakehouse Lane. Other similar properties came up for sale at this time with Oakfield Villa in Oakfield Street being the only property advertised ‘available to let’. However from the beginning of the century up to 1921 property prices slumped and in the first years of the century there were over 800 large empty houses in the town, many of them in the Tivoli area. (76)
From time to time Tivoli made local press headlines, usually for some sensational or tragic reason. In March 1887 an enquiry into the death of a widow, Mrs. Mary Ann Smith of Tivoli Street, was held before the coroner at the Tivoli Inn. Mrs. Smith aged 76 had been housekeeper to a Mr. Walters who had a grocery business at number 11. On 6th March, Mrs. Smith was going up to bed when she fell backwards and was confined to bed until the 18th of that month. The surgeon issued a certificate indicating that the cause of death was fractured ribs which contributed towards pneumonia. Prior to her death the deceased had said that when she got to the top of the stairs her foot slipped and she rolled to the bottom of the stairs. Her aunt, Mrs. Ewens was called and said that at the time of the accident her niece was suffering form acute bronchitis. The jury returned a verdict of accidental death with the hope that something might be done to lessen the dangerous character of the stairs which were without handrail or other means of support from top to bottom.
Another incident just eight years later in February 1895 also involved a death in dramatic circumstances. The deceased was a young girl of five, Emma Ellen Simmons of Lypiatt Street. Her father was a journeyman plumber and at about ten to eight in the morning his wife Susan had left the house to fetch some bacon for his breakfast. She left her two children, the deceased and a younger child aged three, in front of the fire in the room used as a kitchen. They were wearing their nightshirts and the fire had no guard. The mother said she was only away five minutes but on her return she found the elder child screaming and her nightdress in flames. Mother extinguished the flames and called a cab and took the child to hospital. The child said she had been stirring oatmeal in the pan when the spoon dropped into the fire. As she bent over to retrieve it, the sleeve of her night dress caught fire and she could not put it out. The doctor said that when the child arrived at the hospital she was moribund and died at ten o’clock. She was badly burned from chin to knees both back and front and died from shock. The jury returned a verdict of accidental death and issued a severe warning to the mother about her thoughtless and dangerous action in leaving unattended children in such conditions.
Lypiatt Street was the scene of another tragedy in July 1906 when Mr. Edward Cook, baker and confectioner of Lypiatt Street was found hanging in a loft at the back of his business on a Sunday evening. The deceased aged 70 had a history of mental depression and had suffered from asthma for thirty or forty years but latterly had seemed much better, although very excitable. He was of excellent character and highly respected amongst local residents and elsewhere. On this particular Sunday he had complained of chest pains and pain in his side and of feeling sick. His wife Ann went to the nearby chemist to collect a prescription and left him sitting in the armchair. That was the last she saw of him alive. On returning home, she could not find him, and did not think of looking in the loft. At four o’clock the doctor called and as he still could not be found, his daughters in Winchcombe Street were called to see if he was with them. They came round to the house and going into the stables and looking in the loft they found him hanging by a rope from the main beam. Mrs. Cook could give no reason for this sudden act on his part as he had a smooth and comfortable life in every way. Mr. Henry Ayliffe of Melrose Villa, Princes Road said the deceased had once said he was tempted to do something rash when he had such pain. Mr. Ayliffe had been called by Cook’s daughters and actually saw the deceased hanging in the loft. It appeared that he had stood on a basket while tying the rope around his neck and then kicked it away. Henry William Cook, a wheelchairman of 31, Lypiatt Street who knew the deceased well, said that owing to his suffering deceased was a very likely man to commit suicide. A verdict of suicide while in unsound mind was recorded.
Incidentally, a photograph of Mr. H W Cook appears in the Cheltenham Chronicle of 14th April 1909 on the occasion of his golden wedding. He and his wife had lived in Cheltenham for 70 years and had been married at Cambray Chapel in 1859. They had seven children and 23 grandchildren. Mr. Cook had been a wheelchairman for forty years. Golden weddings seemed to have been the in-thing in Tivoli. Mr. and Mrs. Edward Rogers of Bitterne, Princes Road, Tivoli, celebrated their anniversary on 14th August 1927, again, beautifully photographed for the Cheltenham Chronicle on 20th August, and in 1941 Mr. and Mrs. W.H. Bell of Tivoli celebrated their golden wedding having been married at St Luke’s Church in May 1891.
THE CHURCH OF ST STEPHEN
The building of Christ Church had started in 1837 and it was ready for consecration in 1840, Pearson Thompson, one of the trustees, figuring prominently in the ceremonies at the laying of the Foundation Stone. Until 1883 the Tivoli district was in Christ Church parish. In June 1868 a meeting was held there under the Chairmanship of the Vicar, Canon Fenn, to consider the provision of additional seating accommodation for the poor. (77) Eight years previously poor families occupied pews which were not rented by the wealthier members of the congregation and Canon Fenn and his curate had assessed the numbers in the parish of Christ Church still needing accommodation. The figure came to 1,486 consisting mostly of labouring and working classes, servants, laundresses, wheelchairmen, small shopkeepers, sempstresses (sic), day labourers, persons receiving parochial relief and the like. In response to the question how this accommodation could be provided, he suggested that a chapel of ease be erected in the very heart of the poorest part of the parish, in Tivoli. Many of the pew owners told him that they were totally unaware of the state of poverty in the district and a map was produced by the Canon on which the Tivoli area was pointed out as being at the centre of the poorer districts. There was some opposition to his suggestion about a chapel of ease but Canon Fenn persisted, arguing that the proposed chapel would be a permanent and consecrated church, considered part of Christ Church parish, appropriate to the use of the poor for ever, and an indispensable condition, erected in the heart of the working people’s district. Some people suggested making the church a temporary one, others suggested having special noon time services for the poor at Christ Church and others sought assurances that the worship carried out in the proposed new church would be evangelical.
No decision was taken at the meeting and it was adjourned to allow time for further information to be collected. A response to the need for work amongst the poor had been made the previous year by Canon Fenn when he had opened a Library and Reading room in a house at the top of Princes Road near the present detached cottage in Tivoli Street, in what was then called Princes Terrace. This facility was later transferred to a shop on the corner of Lypiatt Street, now the site of the Victoria Wine Store, and it became known as the Tivoli Reading Room. A room in this house was also converted to allow for a weekday service to be held there. (78) Ironically in 1844 this had been the home of the Weslyan Sunday School, and the first religious establishment in the parish. This was run by the Bethesda Methodist Chapel in Great Norwood Street, a temporary chapel until the opening of the present building in 1846. (79) The shop belonged to Mr. Mines and sold iron work and gas appliances and the Reading Room was above the showroom. The Reading Room provided free books and newspapers in fairly comfortable surroundings. At the third anniversary celebrations of the opening in 1870, there was such a good attendance and the space was so limited, that after the business of the evening, tea was taken in Mr. Mines’ showroom. Afterwards a concert was held at the home of Mr. Webb the coal merchant, in the neighbouring terrace beyond Lypiatt Street. General McCausland was in the chair.
1873 was memorable in that, as the Cheltenham Examiner announced, work was soon to start on the Tivoli Mission Room in response to Canon Fenn’s 1868 meeting. “It is understood that only the Chancel of the future completed church will be built, to accommodate 200 people.” (80) The new building was to be raised with due regard to economy but would not resemble, “the unsightly appearance so frequently associated with a Mission Room but will possess some architectural pretensions”. This remark could well be an indirect criticism of the temporary tin church which existed until 1877 on the site of the present St Matthew’s Church. It must have been quite an occasion when the Bishop of Gloucester and Bristol came to lay the foundation stone of the new church on 4th November 1873. The local press reports of the time suggest that although it was very much a parish affair, the rich and influential were largely in attendance. One year later the very first service was held, the press again making reference to the vast numbers of the gentry who were present. A former curate at Christ Church wrote to The Cheltenham Examiner complaining about the report and attempting to put matters right. He agreed that the morning service had been somewhat a private affair, but the 7pm Evening Service “had a special interest to the promotion of the building, from its having been intended for the working people of the district. It seems only due to them as well as a matter of thankfulness to all interested in this church, to state that the service was on the opening day, very largely attended by a class of people not always conspicuous in Cheltenham’s pew rented churches; that their behaviour was reverent and devout; that the praises of God were heartily led by the voluntary choir and the responses earnestly given by the congregation”. (81) This may sound patronising but Tivoli now had its own place of worship, specifically designated as being for the district of Tivoli.
1875 witnessed the first Harvest Festival at the new church and after praising the decoration of the church, the Cheltenham Examiner explained that although the chancel was erected, there was still much work to be done on it. Thus appeals were started at both Christ Church and in Tivoli to complete not a temporary church, but a full sized one for the Tivoli district. (82) The architect chosen for the project was John Middleton who had come from the North of England ‘to retire’ in Cheltenham. Between his arrival in 1859 and his death in 1885 he was persuaded to design five local churches as well as working on many other projects in the town. St Stephen’s is the smallest of his churches, the others being All Saints, Holy Apostles, St Mark’s and Ss Philip and James. Middleton arrived in the town at the same time as Canon Fenn and they were neighbours in York Terrace for some years. John Middleton was also Churchwarden at Christ Church for about fifteen years with Canon Fenn.
The building of the church must have aroused a lot of interest and no doubt every day was a noisy one until its completion. At its consecration in 1883, one wonders how many of the poorer neighbours sought or even managed to gain entry. But the building work in St Stephen’s Road was not the only source of activity in the area. Other buildings and conversions were taking place as we have already observed, and the exchange of property was a regular feature of the advertising space in the local press.
THE CHURCH HALL
In the Parish Magazine for November 1888 there was a vivid and exciting report: “A building erected within the present year for parochial purposes at the end of Alexandra Street, one of the many new streets which have sprung up in Tivoli, is to be opened next Thursday. Previous to this important function, the workers of the Church to which it owes its existence and the parents of the children attending its Sunday Schools are to partake together of the cup that cheereth but not inebriates, to be followed with a short special service and an address from the Vicar.” This building was of course the Church Hall in Albany Road. The site presented certain difficulties from the outset, lying on low ground which had once been part of the Oakfield estate. Although it was supposed to be sound garden ground, some of the older inhabitants of the neighbourhood had such ominous recollections of brick making and ponds in former years that it was deemed advisable to sink bore holes to make trials below the water level. A firm bottom for most of he foundations was reached at eight feet, but at one corner the soil was so boggy and unsound that it was only after a black layer, the bed of a pond, was passed that sound earth was reached.
The Hall’s proportions were 29 feet by 58 feet by 40 feet high. It was approached by a handsome carriage driveway with iron gates of carriage width. All the internal ironwork fittings as well as the gates and the railings were the work of Mr. Letheren, the famous local craftsman of the Vulcan Ironworks near the railway station. The style of architecture was late Tudor with brick and stone dressing and the intervening space between the road, or quagmire a report called it, and the building itself was a gravel drive. The hall was named the Gillilan Memorial Hall after its chief benefactor, Edward Hudson Gillilan, in whose memory it had been erected at a cost of £2,000. At its opening the “unwonted quietude of the neighbourhood was broken by the festive strains of fife and drum. The Parish Warden, Mr. Harold Webb (coal merchant of Tivoli Place) had sent a number of coloured lamps to glimmer around the edge of the grassed plots, not to mention the flags inside the Hail”. (83)
The Hall was the venue for much parish entertainment and provided “the enlivenment of the district in which it was situated, by the occasion of its being used as a place of rational entertainment” mainly organised by the Temperance Movement. The CLO obviously took an interest in this new parish amenity and a few years later suggested that it might be better for users of the Hall if a light could be placed outside the entrance so as to warn people of the spiked railings which stood between the gate and the door and over which one could easily fail. Up to the 1930s the land to the east of the Hall was still called Tivoli Gardens stretching as far as Tivoli Road. The Hall was sold in the 1970s as being too expensive to maintain and has since served as a Nursing Home but has recently (2003) been converted to private houses.
As early as 1886 plans were being considered for the provision of a day school in Tivoli, a school in which the Church would take the initiative. It was a happy 14th October 1889 when 73 children turned up for the opening of the St Stephen’s Infants’ School in the Memorial Hall. The Vicar acknowledged that many of the Parish children attended other schools, mainly Christ Church, but he pointed out that there were many children in Tivoli still running the streets and getting into bad habits. The first Headmistress was appointed from the staff of the Cheltenham Ladies’ College and she was assisted by three teachers. Considerable help with the timetable and the curriculum was provided by Miss Dorothea Beale, Head of the Ladies’ College, and she became a regular attender at any function in which the children were involved. She also agreed to inspect the school from time to time. The fees were based on voluntary contributions, the Headmistress’s salary being found by the parish. By 1890 there were 90 children on roll “some mere babes who are taught to like coming to school and who are brought under mild but effective discipline”. (84) The school was forced to close in 1920 unable to compete with the free education offered and provided by the State schools.
A former resident of the parish, Mrs. Dollie Ellis nee Cox was born at 6, Princes Terrace, Princes Road in 1914 and has very clear and vivid memories of her early years in Tivoli. Dollie’s father was a gardener and when she was about two years old, the family moved around the corner to 2, Dagmar Road. On dustbin day the men used to have to walk right through the house with wicker baskets on their shoulders to collect the rubbish. Dollie attended St Stephen’s School in Albany Road until she moved up to Christ Church School. She was also a member of the Sunday School and well remembers the Reverend Hodson. Dollie has a sister who married the great great grandson of the Mr. Brown who carved the Montpellier caryatides.
Dollie recalls that in a house in Princes Road which faced the entrance to Dagmar Road, lived a Mrs. Roberts who was the ticket seller and gate keeper to the Montpellier Gardens, working in the little kiosk there. She also has memories of milk deliveries by Frank the milkman. As soon as his cart was heard, out one went with a jug and he measured out the required amount of milk. There was too, old Mrs. Minchella with a walnut wrinkled face who came round with her cart selling ice cream from door to door. Other memories recalled by Dollie are of Mr. Ottoburn the dentist who lived second house down in Oakfield Street, and Mr. Painter who was landlord of the Royal Union. At number 3, Dagmar Road lived a Mr. Bee who was a tailor with his ‘shop’ in his back garden, really just a shed. Nearby lived Mr. Tuck a tram driver and Dan Lewis who lived in Tivoli Street whose son committed suicide by putting his head in the gas oven. At the top of Tivoli Street as you turn in from Princes Road was Mrs. Rutland’s sweet and grocery shop and Dollie well remembers the bakehouse in Lypiatt Street. On what is now the Tivoli Green stood the house named Crossways and Dollie can clearly remember the high brick wall with which it was surrounded. In 1924 Dollie and her sister moved with their parents to Uckington.
1884 had seen the formation of the Church of England’s Temperance Society and this met originally in rooms above one of Barnaby Bendall’s Furniture Repositories, occupied today by the Tivoli Institute. It was here in 1884 that the St Stephen’s Cricket Club was founded, under the chairmanship of the then Vicar, a club still functioning and respected in Cheltenham today. Their first ground was the rented Hatherley Field in Hatherley Road. In 1890 the Vicar and Churchwardens took over the lease of the Repository and the adjoining cottage, the cottage becoming the home of the manager of the Coffee Tavern which was transferred from 2 Tivoli Buildings. In the following year the Institute’s facilities were made available to anyone who wished to use them regardless of their allegiance or non-allegiance to the Temperance Movement. Eventually the Coffee Tavern could not compete with the facilities offered by the Institute, billiards, cards, draughts etc., and as both were running independently of one another, it was decided to buy the Institute premises on behalf of the parish and Church in 1904. Church clubs all used the newly acquired premises but by 1955 running costs were so high, and taking into consideration the fact that that the Church also owned the Hall in Albany Road, it was decided to sell the property for £1,200.
CHURCH AND PARISH PERSONALITIES
The Church’s attempts to provide for all classes within the parish met with some success, especially amongst the very young. At the annual children’s flower service in 1891, over 500 youngsters were present. However as youngsters grew into teenagers, frequent complaints about their behaviour and street-hanging were made. The Vicar tried to resolve the problem of lads idly roaming the streets with nothing better to do and he rented the cottage still standing, Lypiatt Cottage in Tivoli Walk, as a young men’s Reading Room at an annual subscription of 1/- (5p), but this had only a very short life. However it was probably the first ‘Youth Club’ in the parish. The Church and Parish were the venue for some celebrity weddings soon after its opening. One wedding caused “quite a little sensation” in the new church. (85) The sensation was caused by the numbers and the well-to-do status of the participants. Miss Leslie of 19 Lansdown Place was marrying Mr. F C Collins. The Chancel of the Church had been decorated with palms and other choice exotics, and the Church was quite full with friends and well wishers. There were eight bridesmaids dressed in light salmon coloured dresses, the bride being dressed in white moire silk. After the signing of the register, the couple left for Lansdown Place, the home of the bride’s mother, for the usual refreshments and congratulations before their departure for London. This happy occasion took place in 1887.
Such occasions were probably attended by on-lookers from within the Parish who had no connection with the families involved, although some would no doubt have been employed in the domestic preparations prior to the ceremony. However, the homes of local gentry were frequently used for parish and church functions to which everyone was invited, especially those connected with the church. One such event was the Annual Cottagers’ Show in the grounds of a large mansion at the entrance to The Park named Ferniherst. This house was the home of Major General Muspratt Williams, first Vicar’s Warden at St Stephen’s 1884-1893. Originally named Virginia Water, Ferniherst dated from The Park houses of the 1830s. When sold in 1841, it was named Boteler House. There were large grounds with several ornamental lakes and many shrubberies and arbors. For the Annual Show three tents used to be erected in the grounds and fruit and vegetables were proudly displayed, supplemented by a collection of grapes and peaches from Mr. Moorman’s Nursery in Tivoli Road. There was a band to provide entertainment and an excellent afternoon was always enjoyed by everyone.
Major General Jackson Muspratt Williams died at Ferniherst in 1902. He had been born in 1832 and joined the Madras Fusiliers at a very early age. On retiring from active service in 1879 he came to live in Cheltenham and started attending St Stephen’s in 1884. The Major General was twice married, his second wife being the widow of Rear Admiral Cumberland. She predeceased him by one year. They left three daughters to mourn them and the funeral took place from Leckhampton in which parish they lived. The Major General and his lady presented to St Stephen’s interior the statue at the west end, of Christ in the act of benediction and the exterior statue of St Paul above the south Porch. Virginia Water’s beautiful lake which still exists today, and the fountains, coupled with the many lakes and water gardens developed in the grounds of The Park houses and St Stephen’s Manor probably contributed towards the adoption of the name Tivoli for the area as suggested earlier.
The Churchwarden who took over after the death of Major General Williams died in 1908. He was Major General de Courcy Hamilton VC. He was a Crimean veteran and died at his home at Marle Hill aged 83. Born in Scotland of Irish descent, he saw service at Alma, Balaclava, Inkerman and Sebastopol. He gained his VC in the trenches at Sebastopol in 1855 in a battle in which the enemy outnumbered the English 10-1. He retired in 1874 with the honorary rank of Major General and came to live in Cheltenham. He was a magistrate and in St Stephen’s parish, he took a great interest in the Gordon Boys Brigade. Many of his friends from the congregation at St Stephen’s were present at his funeral at All Saints in which parish he lived and died and he was buried at Cheltenham Cemetery where the family maintained a vault.
Another Officer who was closely connected with St Stephen’s was Commander Walter Hailstone RN, of 21, Lansdown Terrace. While on holiday with his family in Germany in 1913, the Commander fell ill and decided to return to Cheltenham where he died two days later. He had joined the Navy in 1862 at the age of 14, and had been actively engaged in the suppression of the slave trade. He retired in 1893 with the rank of Commander and moved to Cheltenham. He was a skilled photographer and artist and had many other interests. His funeral was from St Stephen’s and he was buried at Cheltenham Cemetery. The fourth window in the north aisle of the Church was given in his memory by his widow and the third window in the same aisle is in memory of their son killed in Palestine in 1917. Many young men from the parish fought and died in the Great War and their names are recorded on the walls of the Memorial Chapel in St Stephen’s. Those who served both in the armed services and on civilian duties are listed in the Liber Vitae near the entrance to the Chapel.
Other residents of the area who are worthy of mention are Mrs. Launder, the Tivoli Post Mistress who retired after twenty-four years in 1905. It was in her premises that the Coffee Tavern had first been opened. Three years later, Mrs. Williams of Tivoli who had been cleaning the church since the Chancel was started in 1873, decided to retire after thirty-five years service to the Church of St Stephen. This followed on the retirement of Mr. W H Tinker of 4, Hatherley Street who had been Church Verger since the opening of the completed Church in 1883, a period of twenty-four years. The local press obituaries of 1904 recorded the death of Mrs. Mary Marchant of 5, Tivoli Place, “the oldest resident of Tivoli, if not of Cheltenham itself.”
The newspapers of 1912 reported the presentation to Mr. G Hyett of the Imperial Service Medal in recognition of more than thirty-eight years service to the Post Office. (86) Mr. Hyett lived at 9, Alexandra Villas and began his Post Office duties just one year after the opening of the Chancel in 1873. Mr. Hyett’s good news was in sharp contrast to the distressing news which appeared in the local papers in February of that same year. The deaths were announced of Mrs. Davies and Mrs. Sophia Barton of 11, Tivoli Street, the same house in which Mrs Smith had died as a result of her fall in 1887. Mrs. Barton owned numbers 10, 11, 12 Tivoli Street and Mrs Davies was an old age pensioner. They had lived together for some time. A neighbour found the pair, Mrs. Barton on a couch wearing only one garment and Mrs. Davies lying undressed on some loose flock. Mrs. Barton had last been seen on the previous Monday when she had attempted to buy or beg some coal from a neighbour. Both women were known to be fond of drink and probably through lack of food and the coldness in the house where many window panes were broken, The house was in a dreadful condition and when discovered, and some time back Mrs. Barton had had proceedings taken against her for allowing her house to be overcrowded. At that time there were several women living in the same house. In January 1912 the Public Health Committee had reported that the house was unfit for human habitation and a closing order was made. Mrs Davies said she was unwell and refused to go to the workhouse infirmary. Mrs Barton had received treatment there but had discharged herself. (87)
The period of the First World War is well documented and details of those whose lives were curtailed as a result of enemy actions are recorded in an excellent, recently published book, “Leaving All That Was Dear,” by J Devereux and G Sacker. In the period after the war there was a lot of illness in the town and Tivoli particularly suffered with an outbreak of tuberculosis, three residents of the parish dying as a result. In 1923 many people were to be seen walking the streets of Tivoli wearing white armbands to signify that they had been inoculated against smallpox, scarlet fever and diphtheria, all of which were prevalent in the parish.
As a fitting conclusion to this tour of Tivoli, there follows an edited version of the reminiscences of a resident of Tivoli who died in 1993. His memory was vivid and he had an ardent love for both his Church of St Stephen and the parish of Tivoli in which it was situated. Jack Crook, of Teresaville, Tivoli Street recalled….
We moved to Tivoli in March 1923. We had not been in our new home, 22, Tivoli Street for more than a couple of hours when the Vicar was on the doorstep. I was invited to come to the Vestry on the following Friday evening to enrol as a choirboy and the Monday afterwards to enrol at the Church Hall as a member of the Church Lads Brigade. This was run by a Mr. Hope who was also a teacher at Christ Church School which I was to attend. All these things I did and so began my association with the Church and Parish of St Stephen, Tivoli.
Andover Road remains much as it was when I was a boy. The shops were very attractive and provided a much wider selection of provisions than they do today. Our biggest loss was the Post Office with its box outside. It stood for some time at the end of the row of buildings where Tivoli Trading is at present, but some years later it was moved to the centre of Tivoli Buildings roughly where the printer now is. On the left hand side of the entrance to Tivoli Lane was Mann’s the coal merchant and where the soft furnishing shop is was Saddler’s, a high class grocery and wine store very much patronised by the gentry from The Park, Lansdown and the Christ Church areas of the town. Apart from the three people serving, two cyclists were also employed to effect deliveries to the homes of the customers. Further along came Waghorne the butcher. Mr. Waghorne lived in Princes Road and was assisted in the shop by his business partner. They too employed a delivery boy cyclist. Next came a most important supplier at the time, Sewel’s the corn merchant and animal feed shop. Mr. Sewel was a very popular member of the Men’s Club at the Institute, and used to deliver with his cart, bales of hay and straw to the aforementioned gentry who possessed their own horse and carriages. Those who did not own their own would call upon the services of Park Mews and Stables in Lypiatt Street. Mr. Hall was among their employees and he lived in Hatherley Street, worshipping with his wife and daughter in St Stephen’s where he was a sidesman.
Within Tivoli Street lived another coachman, Mr. Bell and at number 19, Mr. Bullingham who was coachman for Mrs. Drew at Hatherley Court. For his convenience she had a coach house and stables built at the rear of number 19, both of which are now gone. Making the corner of Tivoli Place and Tivoli Street was the Tivoli Ale and Porter Stores, now the Phoenix (Tivoli). The first shop on the opposite corner was another butcher, Whitmore’s and later on, Probert’s. There followed the Tivoli Inn next to which was a double fronted shop accommodating Rouse the upholsterer mainly occupied today by Tivoli Trading. Incidentally this row of shops had a peculiarity which existed until 1991 when redevelopment took place. On the right hand side as one looks at Tivoli Trading there used to be a little recess which was in fact a lane running down to the workshops of Strange, the iron and heating firm. This moved to Montpellier Walk after which the double fronted shop became Enstones, another grocery and general store run by Mrs Enstone and her husband. Next came the entrance to Morris’ Building Yard and finally the last shop, selling in the twenties, curtains, silks, lace and other soft furnishings.
The other house of note in Andover Road was Crossways, standing on the grassed area behind the tiled, glazed lamp standard. This was lived in during the thirties by a Mrs. Bell-Howarth who moved there from Gonia at the entrance to the Park, upon the death of her husband. But to return to Tivoli Street, in the 1920s. On turning into the Street on the corner where was the Tivoli Ale and Porter Stores, what is now the extension to the Phoenix (Tivoli) was in fact two old buildings with shop frontages. For many years these were very popular for the fact that they sold fish and chips as well as fresh fish off the slab for home cooking. This was collected early each morning from the station and was attractively laid out on the window slab ready for opening time. Called Owen’s it was a quaint shop and also displayed vegetable boxes outside. In what is now Oliver’s Antiques there was another fruit and vegetable shop run by a Mr. Slater. When he retired it was taken over by a Mrs. Fletcher, not a Cheltonian, who was a war widow. She soon had built at the back of the shop a sizeable bake house the remains of which are still there with a sad, badly worn sign, “Cheltenham Catering,” still visible in Tivoli Lane. She must have been a very capable woman for not only did she succeed with her production of high class cakes, pastries and confectionery in Tivoli, but before she left the town in the 1930s, she had opened two more shops in Cheltenham.
Two coachmen have been mentioned as living in Tivoli Street. A third was Mr. Flint. His daughter was very proud of the fact that they had moved to Tivoli in retirement, from the Duke of Beaufort’s Estate where Mr. Flint had been the Duke’s coachman. At the time, the Duke had become interested in the motor car and he wanted Mr. Flint to become his chauffeur, but Mr. Flint was not very kindly disposed to this suggestion and ‘took early retirement’. In 1985 Miss Flint was still living in the house between the Phoenix (Tivoli) and Olivers. Continuing up Tivoli Street at number 12 was a Gentlemen’s Barber, the business being run by Mr. Edward Lucas. Although it is now a private house, the fixing brackets for the barber’s pole can still be seen today. On the opposite side of the street at the Andover Road end, was part of Whitmore the butcher, next to which was Burrow’s the newsagent, which served the parish and the surrounding district until the 1980s. Next to this was the Tivoli Coffee Tavern, the name by which it was known well into the 1920s and this was run by a Mrs. Rutland who had a little shop at the top of the street where the stable of Mann’s the coal merchant had previously been sited, stables which had existed long before Mr. Mann took them over. Eventually Mrs. Rutland sold her shop and became full time caretaker of the Institute, the name by which it became increasingly known after its sale to the Church.
Moving into Lypiatt Street the off-licence and grocery store at the Princes Road end was very much like it is today. (2005, a Tax office) Just a little further down on that side was the bakery owned by Mr. Dan Lewis. He was a great friend of Mr. Moon the chimney sweep who lived at 6, Hatherley Street. Mr. Moon was also a sidesman at church and rented a pew in the north aisle. As well as chimney sweeping which occupied him for most of the time in the summer months, he also ran a kennels at the back of his house where he used to breed foxhounds. In the winter he was a very colourful man himself, for he had a hunting horse and rode with one of the Cotswold hunts. He was also keen on badger hunting with his own bull terrier. Being connected by family, I accompanied him, together with Dan Lewis, on two excursions to Dowdeswell Woods for a spot of badger hunting. Mr. Moon had a pony and buggy carriage and as a lad of twelve the prospect was exciting. However the experience was not that thrilling for it is a cruel sport for both dog and badger, the dog often coming off the worst. The access lane between Hatherley Street and St Stephen’s Road was known as Moon’s Lane as Mr Moon seemed to make most use of it. Recently a nameplate has been erected at the Andover Road end, bearing the inscription ‘Inkerman Lane’.
Another character of the period was Mark Tucker the cobbler. He lived in one of the cottages on the site of the Royal Union Skittle Alley. His bench was in the one downstairs room and he always seemed very busy. He had quite a unique reputation for at certain times of the year he would collect, cook and eat snails. Some he used to take round to the Tivoli Inn which he frequented and if anyone was so inclined he was more than willing to share his delicacy with them.
Looking at old maps makes one realise how difficult it must have been for the delivery services and postmen to find the right house for there were, and still are, several cottages scattered about which were in un-named streets. Fairlight Cottages still exist between Hatherley and Lypiatt streets and on turning into Tivoli Lane are two more inhabited cottages. A Mr. and Mrs. Trantor used to live at the top of the Lane when I first came to Tivoli. Mr. Trantor was the last of the town’s bathchairmen. This same house was used as the street fire-watching post at the outbreak of war in 1939. Most of the many cottages in this lane were demolished when they became vacant in the thirties, the smallest still with communal facilities in 1938. When we arrived in 1923 a very old lady whom my mother befriended remembered these cottages being occupied by cowmen and farm labourers and being surrounded by open fields. Unlike Prinbox Lane, (88) Bakehouse Lane and Moon’s Lane, Tivoli Lane was adopted and surfaced with tarmac just before the war.