Crooked Alley

by Steve Goodchild
Mustard House
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Crooked Alley is long gone, but was once a main thoroughfare between Barton Street and Oldbury Road. This was in the days, two hundred years ago, when there was no road where Nelson Street now is; just a series of alleys.

Crooked Alley is named for its layout, not its character. It was an alley which had changed route, for long-forgotten reasons, and had two right-angled bends. Presumably, two alleys had been joined and modified. It was unique in Tewkesbury.  The entrances can still be seen. The Barton Street entrance is a doorway on the left of the Mustard House (Kellands Financial Management) with a sign, ‘13a Barton Street’, above it. The Oldbury entrance was through the entrance now called ‘Nelson’s Court’ behind Ginger’s hairdressers.

The alley seems to have been typically overcrowded and insanitary. There were regular concerns expressed about the condition of the drainage and the state of the well. Crooked Alley was hit particularly hard in the Cholera outbreak of 1849. Six people, from four households, died in August: Samuel Hawkins, 54, Stocking maker; Ann Hawkins, 49, washerwoman; James Farmer, 40, Rope-maker; Sarah Weaver, 50, Shoe-binder; Ann Weaver, 6, Shoe-binder; Elizabeth Edgewick, 65, Fortune Teller. Though improvements were made, there were continuing problems with drainage and water, and in 1914 it was reported that the nuisance of having insufficient WCs had at last been resolved. 

Crooked Alley 1880
Crooked Alley 1880

As well as houses, there was industry. Mr Holland had a hat manufactory and Mr Davies had a stocking-frame-smith’s workshop. There was also a retail coal-yard and in 1881 Edward Sage applied for a licence to open a slaughterhouse.

In 1875, long after Nelson Street opened, John Potter and William Knight, being owners of nearly all the property in Crooked Alley made an application for it to be stopped up, so ending its role as a public highway and right of way. Despite some objection, the order was granted. Crooked Alley became Alexandra Court (from Barton Street) and Alexandra Place (from Oldbury Road). Alexandra is a departure from normal naming practice. It seems probable that it was named for Princess Alexandra of Denmark, who had married Edward Prince of Wales (later Edward VII) in 1863. Locally, though, people stuck doggedly to Crooked Alley. Even the census continued to use the old name.

Crooked Alley 2010
Crooked Alley 2010

The stopping-up was intended to allow Potter and Knight to make ‘great alterations and improvements’. In Alexandra Court, most of the property seems to have been demolished to create a garden, but Alexandra Place remained unimproved. By 1918, there were problems with dereliction and a series of attempts to get improvements made. Paving was a particular problem, and having had no success in persuading the property owners, by now Mrs Pullin and Mr Holbrook, to carry out the work, the Council took the unusual step of using the Private Street Works Act to do it themselves and recharge the owners. It must have been very bad!

There were the all too familiar tragedies during the First World War. The Collins family were more involved than most. Their son, Private F J Collins, 2nd Gloucesters, was killed by shrapnel in February 1915. In March 1917, son-in-law Corporal Jack Matty, 1st Gloucesters was killed in action. Son Jesse fared better in the Royal navy, though. He survived the battle of Jutland unscathed.

The alley just faded away. The final demise came after Nelson Street was widened thirty years ago, with property in the vicinity being emptied long before that. In recent years, the area of Alexandra Place has been redeveloped to create a modern version of a court, now named Nelson Court.

Census Data 1841-1891

1881
14 Barton Street
1881-c81019
Thomas Collyer; Head; Married; Male; 31; Joiner & Manager Of Working Mans Institute; Houghton Reigester;beds
Sarah Collyer; Wife; Married; Female; 35; Manageress Of Working Mans Institute; Spratton;nhants
Ada S Collyer; Daughter; ; Female; 4; Scholar; Tewkesbury;glos
Arthur F Collyer; Son; ; Male; 2; ; Tewkesbury;glos
Charles Collyer; Son; ; Male; 7; Scholar; Harrow;middx
1891
14 Barton Street
1891-c91024
Frederick Farbrother; Head; Married; Male; 38; Coachman Dom Serv; Great Rollright; Oxon;
Louisa A Farbrother; Wife; Married; Female; 39; Dressmaker; Tewkesbury; Glos; Working On Own Account
Henry Davis; Lodger; Unmarried; Male; 19; Gen Lab; Tewkesbury; Glos; Employed
Number of records found: 2


Census Data 1841-1891

1841
Crooked Alley
1841-c41101
Thomas Bennett; Head; ; Male; 65; Lab; ;y
Diana Bennett; ?wife; ; Female; 55; ; ;y
Eliza Bennett; ; ; Female; 15; ; ;y
Jane Bennett; ; ; Female; 11; ; ;y
Sarah Bennett; ; ; Female; 14; ; ;y
1841
Crooked Alley
1841-c41102
Joanna Gaines; Head; ; Female; 60; Stocking M; ;y
1841
Crooked Alley
1841-c41103
Samuel Simons; Head; ; Male; 50; Stocking M; ;n
Elizabeth Simons; ?wife; ; Female; 50; Seamer; ;y
Mary Whittle; ; ; Female; 80; Widow; ;y
1841
Crooked Alley
1841-c41104
Thomas Bool?; Head; ; Male; 40; Lab; ;
Mary Bool?; ?wife; ; Female; 35; ; ;
Henry Bool?; ; ; Male; 0; ; ;y
James Bool?; ; ; Male; 5; ; ;n
1841
Crooked Alley
1841-c41105
Elizabeth Tovey; Head; ; Female; 35; Seamer; ;y
Lydia Tovey; ; ; Female; 15; ; ;n
Mary Tovey; ; ; Female; 7; ; ;y
Sarah Tovey; ; ; Female; 14; ; ;n
Sarah White; ; ; Female; 20; ; ;y
Charles White; ; ; Male; 1; ; ;y
1841
Crooked Alley
1841-c41106
Charlotte Hardiman; Head; ; Female; 75; Stocking Maker; ;y
1841
Crooked Alley
1841-c41107
Sydney Smith; Head; ; Male; 35; Chairmaker; ;y
Ann Smith; ?wife; ; Female; 35; ; ;y
Harriet Mills; ; ; Female; 15; ; ;y
Mary Mills; ; ; Female; 12; ; ;y
Charles Smith; ; ; Male; 6; ; ;y
Elizabeth Smith; ; ; Female; 3; ; ;y
Sydney Smith; ; ; Male; 10; ; ;y
1841
Crooked Alley
1841-c41108
Joseph Collins; Head; ; Male; 45; Bricklayer; ;y
Alice Collins; ?wife; ; Female; 40; Stocking Maker; ;y
Edwin Collins; ; ; Male; 5; ; ;y
Jane Collins; ; ; Female; 14; ; ;y
1841
Crooked Alley
1841-c41109
John Jeynes; Head; ; Male; 30; Lab; ;n
Jane Jeynes; ?wife; ; Female; 25; ; ;y
Ann Jeynes; ; ; Female; 5; ; ;y
George Jeynes; ; ; Male; 4; ; ;y
Thomas Farmer; ; ; Male; 40; Lab; ;y
Jane Farmer; ; ; Female; 40; ; ;n
Albert Farmer; ; ; Male; 14; ; ;y
Jane Farmer; ; ; Female; 5; ; ;y
John Farmer; ; ; Male; 11; ; ;y
1841
Crooked Alley
1841-c41110
Maria Hooper; Head; ; Female; 25; Stocking Maker; ;y
James Hooper; ; ; Male; 4; ; ;y
Sarah Hooper; ; ; Female; 2; ; ;y
1841
Crooked Alley
1841-c41111
Charlotte Hawkins; Head; ; Female; 40; Chairwoman; ;y
Samuel Hawkins; ; ; Male; 5; ; ;y
Thomas Hawkins; ; ; Male; 9; ; ;y
William Hawkins; ; ; Male; 7; ; ;y
Ann Cole; ; ; Female; 25; ; ;y
1841
Crooked Alley
1841-c41112
Edmund Attwood; Head; ; Male; 50; Lab; ;y
Ann Attwood; ; ; Female; 20; ; ;y
Maria Attwood; ; ; Female; 15; ; ;y
Martha Attwood; ; ; Female; 12; ; ;y
1841
Crooked Alley
1841-c41112a
Benjamin Parker; Head; ; Male; 55; Stocking Maker; ;y
Charlotte Parker; ?wife; ; Female; 50; ; ;y
Charles Parker; ; ; Male; 7; ; ;y
Henry Parker; ; ; Male; 16; ; ;y
John Parker; ; ; Male; 13; ; ;y
William Rudge; ; ; Male; 20; Lab; ;y
Ann Rudge; ; ; Female; 20; ; ;y
Charlotte Rudge; ; ; Female; 1; ; ;y
Eliza Rudge; ; ; Female; 2; ; ;y
1841
Crooked Alley
1841-c41113
Richard Firth; Head; ; Male; 50; Lab; ;n
Ann Firth; ?wife; ; Female; 45; ; ;y
Charles Firth; ; ; Male; 20; ; ;y
Esther Firth; ; ; Female; 5; ; ;y
John Firth; ; ; Male; 9; ; ;y
Mary Firth; ; ; Female; 7; ; ;y
Richard Firth; ; ; Male; 14; ; ;y
Thomas Firth; ; ; Male; 12; ; ;y
William Firth; ; ; Male; 15; ; ;y
Ann Harvey; ; ; Female; 25; Stocking Maker; ;y
1841
Crooked Alley
1841-c41114
John Coldrich; Head; ; Female; 25; Lab; ;y
Alice Coldrich; ?wife; ; Female; 20; ; ;y
Benjamin Coldrich; ; ; Male; 4; ; ;y
1851
Crooked Alley
1851-c51019
Benjamin Parker; Head; Married; Male; 69; Frame Work Stocking Maker, Pauper; Tewkesbury;glos
Charlotte Parker; Wife; Married; Female; 58; Frame Work Stocking Maker, Pauper; Tewkesbury;glos
Charles Parker; Son; Unmarried; Male; 15; Boat Builder; Tewkesbury;glos
Henry Parker; Son; Unmarried; Male; 22; Day Lab; Tewkesbury;glos
John Parker; Son; Unmarried; Male; 20; Day Lab; Tewkesbury;glos
John Stevens; ; Widowed; Male; 64; Day Lab; Apperley;glos
1851
Crooked Alley
1851-c51018
Mary Gurney; Head; Married; Female; 28; Laundress; Bredon;worcs
Edward Pilley Gurney; Son; ; Male; 2; ; Tewkesbury;glos
Emma Gurney; Daughter; ; Female; 8; Silk Throwster; Kidderminster;warks
William Gurney; Son; ; Male; 6; ; Longdon;worcs
1851
Crooked Alley
1851-c51019
Benjamin Parker; Head; Married; Male; 69; Frame Work Stocking Maker, Pauper; Tewkesbury;glos
Charlotte Parker; Wife; Married; Female; 58; Frame Work Stocking Maker, Pauper; Tewkesbury;glos
Charles Parker; Son; Unmarried; Male; 15; Boat Builder; Tewkesbury;glos
Henry Parker; Son; Unmarried; Male; 22; Day Lab; Tewkesbury;glos
John Parker; Son; Unmarried; Male; 20; Day Lab; Tewkesbury;glos
John Stevens; ; Widowed; Male; 64; Day Lab; Apperley;glos
1851
Crooked Alley
1851-c51020
Ann Ursell; Head; Widowed; Female; 79; Frame Work Stocking Maker, Pauper; Tewkesbury;glos
1851
Crooked Alley
1851-c51021
Samuel Simons; Head; Married; Male; 42; Frame Work Stocking Maker, Pauper; Westmancote;
Elizabeth Simons; Wife; Married; Female; 40; Pauper; Tewkesbury;glos
1851
Crooked Alley
1851-c51022
James Rice; Head; Married; Male; 22; Brick Maker; Tewkesbury;glos
Displaying the 20 property records. There are more, but the search output is limited (paging has not been developed).
Number of records found: 21


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