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Cider Mill and The Alley

Painting of the Cider Mill by John BirdIn the 1940s the Cider Mill would have been difficult to miss on Badsey High Street. To children at the time it was a place to avoid unless you were feeling brave. You first noticed the smell and then the clanging noise of the cider press. Outside there was often a great pile of discarded apple pulp being eaten by geese. Dozens of wasps were attracted by the smell.

The cider mill provided a service to local apple growers who could bring their fruit and have it made into cider. The mill closed down about 1950 and became the Poplars Garage run by Ted Wheatley. The building, which was on the right side of Gladstone Cottage, was demolished and the site has become Poplar Court.

Here is a photograph of Poplars Garage.

Plan of The AlleyBetween Gladstone Cottage (G) and the Cider Mill (C) was The Alley which led to four of five cottages (A). The cottages were all on the left of the alley but their privies (P) and other outbuildings were on the opposite side. At the end of the alley was a warehouse for electrical goods used by S J Wheatley. Originally this building had been a Reading Room (R) which opened in 1894. The Alley is named on the 1881 census.

The map is based on the 1883 Ordnance Survey map of Badsey.

Cottage on The Alley

The Addis family had lived in the second of the four cottages for many years. Pete Addis, who supplied the colour photo, recalls that it was occupied by his maiden aunts, Daisy (Daisy May, 1900-1987) and Phil (Hannah Phillis, 1893-1975). 

The window on the left belonged to their living-room and the second one along was their kitchen window. The door and window on the right belonged to their next-door neighbours in the third cottage. The cottages were two-up, two-down and the stairs went up from the living-room.

 The sisters continued to live there until the cottages were demolished, around the 1960s or 1970s, they then went to live in a bungalow on High Street. 

The three photographs below, taken in the 1940s, show The Alley. They were loaned by Mrs Wendy Beasley (née Tomkins), who was born at The Alley in 1940. 

The four cottages were in a row: in the first was the Chamberlain family, then the Addis family, then Wendy’s family, then Wendy’s grandmother, Mrs Ellen Tomkins.

The Alley

The photo above was taken about 1941 and shows Wendy with her step-sister, Hazel Barrand, standing on the cobbled pathway. 

The cottages were situated to the left (out of view) and the gardens and toilets to the right (the toilets were bucket toilets with two seats, one small and one large). On the right-hand side (out of view) was an old boiler. The occupants of the cottages each had a specific day on which to do their washing, and they all got together on one day to boil their Christmas puddings. The building at the back was what was known as the "The Reading Room", but was then used by Wheatleys as a store for electrical goods.

The Alley

This second photo, taken about 1947, shows Wendy with her brother, and a German prisoner-of-war who stayed on after the war. The cottages can be seen to the right, and the building at the back is the rear of Gladstone Villa. There was no back entrance to the cottages, which backed on to Barnard’s orchard at the back of "Vine Lodge" (or "Meadway House" as it has recently been renamed).

The Alley

This last photo, shows "Granny Tomkins", who had been born Ellen Beatrice Hartwell in Aldington in 1880. She is standing next to a Mrs Wheatley, who moved into the cottage after Wendy’s family moved out.

John Bird, who's painting of how the Cider Mill may have looked appears at the top of this page, says "I can remember the presses inside squeezing the apples, and the workers carrying out the waste pressings in mats, and getting them over the wall, you can see them piled against the mill ready to be taken away. I will always remember the smell during cider making, you could smell the pressings all the way along the High Street for weeks. The position of the mill was approx 5 feet from Gladstone Cottage. Ted Wheatley used the mill as his first garage by knocking out the end wall, and also putting in a inspection pit in the floor. The rest of the site, which is now occupied by Poplar Court, was the site of the garage from about 1945. There was a 3ft. wall running from the cider mill along the front to Brewer's Lane corner, going round past the chestnut tree about 20 yards, also about half way there were a pair of wrought iron gates and pillars opposite The Poplars [Wheatley's butcher's shop]. There was always chickens in the road and on the wall, as there were never any traffic."

Further information has come to light about The Alley in this document about Thomas Hall who lived at one of the cottages. The following document is in the possession of Ed and Karen Mountney, who live at "Bredon View", Badsey. It was included with documents relating to their own house. The reason for the documents being together, is that Theodore James Hall, who was the first owner of "Bredon View", was the son of Thomas Hall.

Here is a transcription of the document, together with a scanned image of the original document.

Dated 6th December 1883
Mr Thomas Byrd to Mr Thomas Hall
Conveyance of life Interest in a Cottage and hereditaments at Badsey in the County of Worcester

This Indenture made the 6th day of December 1883 between Thomas Byrd of Badsey in the County of Worcester Gentleman of the one part and Thomas Hall of the same place Yeoman of the other part Witnesseth that in consideration of services rendered by him the said Thomas Hall for many years as an overlooker for the said Thomas Byrd on his estates in Badsey and Aldington and in pursuance of a verbal agreement in this behalf He the said Thomas Byrd hath granted and by these presents doth grant and convey unto the said Thomas Hall All that or those the Cottage or Tenement Garden Pigsty Hovel and Privy adjoining thereto situate in the Village of Badsey in the County of Worcester now and for some years past in the possession of the said Thomas Hall and which said premises measure 33 feet from North to South and 27 feet from East to West or thereabouts and are bounded on the North by a garden belonging to Mr Phipps on the East partly by a Building used as a Reading Room and partly by an Orchard both belonging to the said Thomas Byrd on the West by a Cottage also belonging to the said Thomas Byrd in the occupation of George Hunt and on the south by the road leading to the said Reading Room To hold the said Cottage hereditaments and premises with the appurtenances unto the said Thomas Hall and his assigns for and during the natural life of the said Thomas Byrd if he the said Thomas Hall shall so long live In witness whereof the said parties to these presents have hereunto set their hands and seals the day and year first above written

Signed sealed and delivered by the above named Thomas Byrd in the presence of
Geoffrey New
Solicitor Evesham

Signed sealed and delivered by the above named Thomas Hall in the presence of
Geoffrey New
Solicitor Evesham

Conveyance of life Interest in a Cottage and hereditaments at Badsey in the County of Worcester

Notes compiled by Maureen Spinks and Richard Phillips.