Gazetteer of Shops, Pubs, Businesses, Churches and Schools in Castlefields and Ditherington
This listing has been compiled by Peter Dunhill as part of the Walking Past Project. It does not claim to be comprehensive and may not be wholly accurate, relying as it does on memories that can be disparate. There are lots of gaps where Ditherington is concerned.
If you think you can add to the lists or correct mistakes please contact Peter Dunhill – 01743 246574 firstname.lastname@example.org This is an evolving document.
A barber’s shop – facing the Canal Tavern
Hester’s the Cobblers – shoe/boot repairs – near the canal and gasworks – he had a gammy leg and, if the weather was fine, would work outside in front of his shop
Ralph’s butcher’s shop – Cadran Place
Povey’s (pronounced Puvey) fish and chips – top of Gas House Lane (101, New Park Road)
Steeley’s Fish and Chips – (near the New Inn)
The Post Office – next to the New Inn
Mrs Price (sweets) – top of Water Street
Morris’s – corner of North Street – quite a grand grocer’s, one of a small chain in the town – the manager was Mr Holder – his son became a concert pianist with Gracie Fields
Howard’s – next door to Morris’s
Griffiths’ – general grocer’s – Mr Griffiths thought his shop was grander than Morris’s – top of North Street
Hegarty’s Butcher’s – top of Benyon Street
There was a butcher’s on this corner from at least 1871 including Mr Nevitt (1871), Mr Rowlinson (1880-1896), Mr Holl (1896-1930s), Mr G Lewis (1930s-1950s), Mr Hegarty (1950s-closure in 1971)
Darlow’s – general grocer’s – New Park Road (about where New Park House is now)
Mr Reynold (blind ex-serviceman) – made sweets at home on corner of Queen Street and John Street – sold them in the market in town
(Joe)Turner’s Newsagents and also barbershop, umbrella repairs and (on the quiet) a bookie’s agent – 1, Benyon Street
Powley’s the Electrician – Queen Street
Assafs’ (an Armenian family who came over after 1918) sweetshop, next to the All Saints Church on North Street. Smelt of paraffin and the ‘east’ –allegedly sold balls that came over the wall from All Saints Infants’ School behind them
County Stores – corner of North Street and Queen Street
Mrs Knott’s – sweets and small grocery items – Dorset Street also known as ‘the little shop’
Miss Ellis – ????? New Park Road (where???)
Cooperative Stores – Castle Foregate or Castle Gates?
Roberts Fish Shop – halfway up North Street – 1930s
Lyons Sweetshop – 1945 to the 60s (?) – between the Canal tavern and the New Inn, next to the Post Office
Mr Swift’s Shop (sweets, small groceries) – on the corner of Linley St and New Park St (left hand side looking down Linley St) – closed in the 1960s
Harris’s Groceries – top of John St opposite the Gospel Hall
Ron’s Shop – occupied the premises in the precinct with a frontage on to New Park Rd, the entrance was at the side. Ron Middleton ran the first newsagents, Post Office and sweetshop in the new precinct built in the 70s
Besants’s Hairdressers – 20 Victoria Street advertised ‘Violet Ray Treatment’ in the front window. Women’s hairdressing was in the front room while men went into the room at the back
Practically every disease of the scalp and hair, as dandruff, falling hair, etc., can be traced to the improper circulation of the blood flowing through the scalp. The roots are fed through the blood, which flows through small capillaries in the scalp almost microscopic in size. Because of their smallness, they become clogged very easily, as a consequence of which most persons are affected with some form of scalp disease. To overcome scalp disease, it is first necessary to remove the cause, and as this is poor nutrition due to faulty circulation, the Violet Ray naturally suggests itself as the ideal remedy.
For treating the scalp we have a special comb electrode which conforms to the shape of the head and pulls easily through the hair. Millions of tiny electric sparks came from the applicator to the scalp, carrying with them pure ozone which acts as a germicidal agent and destroys any foreign organism which may be present. The tiny nerve and blood vessels are gently massaged, the blood starts flowing and nourishment is brought to the roots of the hair.
By the first treatment a warm, glowing, healthy feeling is brought to the scalp, and with a few successive treatments great improvement will be noted. The hair very quickly takes on a natural, glossy and healthy appearance. The use of The Violet Ray for a few minutes each day will make the hair thick, healthy and beautiful.
Pubs in Castlefields:
The Rainbow (20, North Street, facing Benyon Street) sold Bass – gone
The Dog and Pheasant – Severn Street – still going strong
The Plough – about three quarters of the way up Severn Street (now no. 45) on the left – gone
The Castle Vaults – Beacalls Lane/top of Severn Street, next to the egg packing station (back of Dulux?) – gone
The Canal Tavern – top of Gas House Bank/ New Park Road – still there but closed
The Bowling Green – next to Lewis’s Bakery on New Park Road (no. 55) opposite and a bit further down from what is now New Park House, and adjacent to what was Canal Buildings (Poplar Terrace/Sidney Avenue)
The Park Inn – top end of New Park Road, no. 33 New Park Terrace – gone
The Telegraph – New Park Street – still going strong
The Telegraph was opened in the late 1860s by John Hughes, a retired police superintendent. His son Charles started the ‘pop’ factory behind the Rainbow. George J Holt bought him out in 1889. The pub was then tied to Holt’s beer.
The New Inn – close to the Canal Tavern at the top of New Park Road (no. 24) – gone
There were probably numerous unlicensed informal ‘ale houses’, set up in people’s front rooms to bring in a few extra shillings
Pubs in St. Michael’s Street/Spring Gardens/Ditherington:
The Red Lion – 53 Castle Foregate
The Eagle and Tun – Howard Street
Coal Wharf Inn – 17 Castle Foregate
The Plough – corner of Gas House Bank/ New Park Road and Castle Foregate/St. Michael’s Street – still there but closed
The Dolphin – near the fire station opposite Primrose Terrace – still there going strong
The Post Office Inn – on the corner of St. Michael’s Street and Crew Street. Closed – now a hairdresser’s
The Golden Ball – on St. Michael’s Street, by Factory Bridge, by Golden Ball Farm and on Canal Bank – closed and demolished
Robin Hood – near the Golden Ball – closed and demolished
The Sultan, Haughmond Square in front of the Maltings – opened in 1876, de-licensed 1918 – Sultan Road is named after it
The Coach (formerly the Comet) – Spring Gardens – still there going strong
The Six Bells – Ditherington Road – was on or near to site of Tesco convenience store
The Compasses – 45, Long Row, Ditherington – sill there going strong
(Relatively recent) Businesses
Motor Factors on Beacalls Lane – now house number???
Egg Packing Station – top of Severn Street/Beacalls Lane (now back of Dulux)
Soap factory – Ditherington where?
Arbella – clothes factory – Spring Gardens – demolished
Midland Red – Spring Gardens – now demolished
Painters Funeral Directors (still alive!) – Spring Gardens – also once incorporated a repair garage and petrol filling station
Banana Warehouse on site of Morris Oils – access from Beacalls Lane??
Holt’s beer and pop bottling plant – in Howard Street Warehouse (Buttermarket)
New Park Farm – owned much of land down by riverside
Moore’s milk delivery (from the house at the corner of New Park Road and New Park Close). Also Mr Gregory delivered milk but he may have been from Greenfields
Accumulator Battery Recharging – top of North Street – of great service to amateur radio enthusiasts; would loan battery while yours was on charge
Dancing lessons – small room off the Dana (a shilling a session)
Lewis’s Bakery – opposite and down a bit from New Park House
Owens – Mr and Mrs John Owen lived at Lancaster House (14 Beacalls Lane). In the late 1800s he was a local undertaker and builder (funerals 1 guinea). Mrs Owen ran a grocery shop from the house (1896).
Silhouette Factory – top of Albert Street in the former egg packing station that had once been The Castle pub, making ladies foundation garments – there was another small factory in Monkmoor (in the Tankerville Church Hall at the top of Tankerville St) before the whole enterprise moved first to Chester St (the old waterworks) and then up to Harlescott (next to the BT offices), where it later closed
Dorset Farm – this was run in the 50s and 60s by ‘Ma’ Jones who sold and delivered milk in the area
Churches/places of worship
All Saints Church, North Street – built in 1879 – on site of a temporary iron ‘mission hut’. Also All Saints Institute (church hall) on Queen Street (1899) + tennis courts and bowling green (1922)
Wesleyan Chapel – on New Park Road opposite Canal Tavern – built in 1837 – now demolished (1973) – Dulux paint shop occupies the site
Methodist Free Church top of Albert Street, built in 1853-5 after schism in Wesleyan congregation on St. John’s Hill. After it closed it became a furniture warehouse and was then converted into squash courts. It has now been made into flats.
The Gospel Hall (now St. John’s Church) on the corner of John Street and New Park Road built in 1880 by wealthy dentist – Charles Gibbs Nightingale of Severn Bank. It ran a Sunday School popular with local children because they handed out biscuits in return for attendance at illustrated talks about the Holy Land
St. Michael’s Church – access from Crewe Street, designed by John Carline, consecrated in 1830, chancel added in 1873. Now deconsecrated and is a Freemason’s Lodge
Primitive Methodist Chapel – near Long Row. Built 1841 – now long since demolished.
(NB up to around 1935 many schools required a small daily fee of a few pence. Often the higher the fee meant the higher the status)
The Lancasterian School – originally located beneath the Castle (from 1812), then moved to premises by the Union Wharf Canal Basin until 1851 and then on to Beacalls Lane behind the prison. It was extended in 1889 and 1906. It was known as Shrewsbury British School from 1896, closed in 1988. Joseph Lancaster pioneered the monitor system where older children were taught and passed on their knowledge to younger children sitting on a bench (or ‘form’, hence the use of the word ‘form’ meaning class). The ‘Lancs’ was a ‘low aspiration’ school in its later life and pupils were not expected to go on to grammar schools. The last head teacher was Mr Harper, by all accounts a very kindly man The school was subsequently taken over by the prison for workshops. There is some uncertainty about whether it forms part of the prison ‘estate’
All Saints School – established not long before All Saints Church was built in 1879 between the church and New Park Street. Latterly, it became the infant feeder school for the ‘Lancs’ and was also used for school dinners though most children went home for dinner.
St. Michael’s Street (Board) School – built in 1897, infants and juniors primary school closed in 1980s. Children who crossed the disused canal instead of going the long way round over the bridge were spotted and made to remove their shoes before coming in to the school
School of St. Mary and St. Michael – occupied what is now Derfald House opposite the Fire Station from 1832 until ?. Between 1935 and 2000 Derfald House was a ‘municipal lodging house’ or homeless men’s hostel. It has now been converted into flats. Maps show other schools in the vicinity near or around St. Michael’s Church and on the site of the Fire Station. During the war, the modern frontage of Derfald House was a ‘British Restaurant’
Ditherington Infants’ School – established 1890s – survived slum clearances and after closure in 1980s(?) became a Community Centre with children going over the railway to the Mount Pleasant School(s)
Shrewsbury Cathedral Catholic Primary School – formerly St. Mary’s was built in 1970 and took over from a now demolished catholic primary school (to make way for garages) on Town Walls near the Cathedral
Martin Wilson School – built in 1988 to take children (and some chairs and a clock) from the ‘Lancs’ and St. Michael’s Street. Martin Wilson was an energetic Shropshire County Councillor who took a great interest in education
There were probably a number of private schools in the area, some quite short-lived. Census returns reveal one at 1 Benyon Street for half a dozen girls, and a girls’ boarding school at 1 Severn Bank, run by Mrs Elisabeth Jones, a widow. In 1891 it accommodated 36 girls between nine and eighteen and three governesses.
Places of Entertainment
Gress Lewis’s ‘Ballroom’ – popular for dances and occasional film shows – New Park Road, next to the bakery, opposite and down a bit from New Park House. During the war, servicemen with bad facial burns were bussed in late at night and local girls volunteered to dance with them
The 123 Club – various venues over the years – a social club
The Two Rs Club – various venues over the years – a social club
‘The Hut near the allotments’ – a sort of youth club with a record player
Midland Red Club – next to the Bus Depot on St. Michael’s Street – now demolished
Castlefields Community Hall – New Park Street – owned by Shrewsbury Town (formerly Borough) Council and leased to a local committee, built in 1970s
Ditherington Community Centre – Long Row – formerly Ditherington Infants’ School, converted in 1980s(?)
Railwaymen’s Club – off to the right going down the steps to the river just beyond the prison at the top of Victoria Street. The site is very overgrown now but you can still just make out the ‘platform’ on which it was built – it went right up to the bridge
Road and Street names
(mostly extracted from Shrewsbury Street Names by John L Hobbs)
Albert Street – see Victoria Street
Ann’s Hill – a named house at the entrance to Simpson Square, opposite the old St. Michael’s Street School – named after John Simpson, a builder and industrialist and friend of William Hazeldine, the iron master. Ann’s Hill was named after one of his twin daughters, while the other twin had Jane’s Place on Coton Hill named after her and his son was commemorated in John’s Row in Ditherington
Beacalls Lane – the Beacalls were an old butchering family. Hugh Beacall was granted a lease for ‘a piece of void ground on the Old Heath for the purpose of erecting a barn there’ in 1563. Subsequently, Richard Beacall had a 21 year lease in 1688 and William Beacall lived in fields near the Wharf in 1800
Benyon Street – The Benyon family had lived in Shrewsbury since as early as 1582. The brothers Thomas and Benjamin were wool merchants who teamed up with William Marshall and Charles Bage (designer) to build first the iron framed and therefore fire proof Flaxmill (subsequently Maltings) in Ditherington and then a similar factory in Castlefields. This latter business failed and was sold in 1837 to make way for housing. Benyon Street lies on the footprint for the main mill
Britannia Place – off Castle Foregate, formerly Picken’s Court named after Picken’s Laundry (1840). The Britannia Inn at the entrance gave the new name, first appearing in 1896
Burton Street – first appears in 1871, named after Robert Burton, a banker of Princess Street who became a burgess of Shrewsbury in 1829 and was a member of the Burton family of Longnor
Cadran Place – Castlefields, named in Bagshaw’s Directory 1851
Castle Foregate – the term covers both the highway leading to Derfald and Old Heath and the whole district ‘without’ the walls of the town to the north. The main road itself was known as Haughmond Street. Industrialisation, the canal and the railway changed the area dramatically and split it into two distinct areas. Factories and artisan dwellings sprang up in profusion and the various courts and squares (Bell Passage, Dolphin Row, Picken’s Court, etc.) were laid out after the making of the canal in 1796. Much of the property was very bad with high levels of mortality and sickness prevailing in the narrow insanitary streets
Crewe Street – first mentioned in 1888 and appears as Meadow Terrace in earlier directories and Derfald Street in the OS map of 1789
Dana Steps – (pronounced with a short ‘a’ as in can) also known as Castle Walk, Castle Terrace, Terrace Walk, Dana Walk and The Dana. It was made in 1790 and named after Rev Edward Dana (Vicar of Wroxeter) who had much to do with laying out the walk
Derfald Street – the name comes from the old English words deor (animal, especially deer) and feld (a stretch of unenclosed land/field)
Ditherington – first appears in 1802. The area developed rapidly as a result of the Marshall/Benyon/Bage Flaxmill, which made linen yarn. Horseman’s Square became Haughmond Square around about 1896 – Horseman was a local councillor and factory owner in the 1830s. There is a popular belief that Ditherington refers to people ‘dithering’ on their way to the gallows at Old Heath which makes a good story but is probably not true.
Dorset Street – first appears in 1861 but ‘Dorset’s Barn’ appears in Hitchcock’s plan of 1832 and ‘Dosset’s Barn in St. Mary’s registers in 1809.
Ercall Place (Spring Gardens) – formerly Kent’s Row until 1900
Heathgates (Old Heath) – The gallows for the execution of felons was situated here as early as 1591 and last used in 1794. The road into town was known as the Causey (Causeway) on account of the surrounding land being soft and marshy due to all the springs. Over the years it was gradually built up which explains why the Comet Inn (now the Coach) seems to be below the road
Howard Street – named in honour of John Howard (1726-1790), the prison reformer. The alignment was changed when the railway and station were constructed
Lindley Street – first appears 1882
Long Row (Ditherington) – formerly known as Dog Kennel Lane – the dog kennels were at what became Mount Pleasant – a terrace of grandish houses which are still there
New Park Road – takes its name from New Park, part of the ancient Derfald (deer fold/field). The portion from Castle Foregate to Beacalls Lane was formerly known as Gashouse Lane after the Gas Works built pre-1850
North Street and West Street – first appeared in directories in 1871 – the names related to their position in relation to the Benyon’s iron framed Castlefields Flaxmill which was demolished in 1837
St. Michael’s Street – formerly Haughmond Street and Old Heath Rd, the name was given after the building of St. Michael’s Church (1829-30). Rows and terraces along it include Primrose Terrace, Simpson’s Square, Akers Houses (after C Akers – a painter living there in 1882) and Robin Hood Terrace (named after the pub on Crewe Street. An 1853 report states the area was ‘in a disgraceful state….no proper drainage… dirt of privies overflowing the doors…many houses with no back doors….38 houses were one-roomed and known as cellar-holes
Severn Street – first occurs in directories of 1856
Spring Gardens – Partly built on before 1803 on land previously known as Childs Furlong and named after the numerous springs in the vicinity.
Sultan Road – This road and its houses were constructed in the 1920s and took its name from Sultan House or the Sultan Inn, which stood in Spring Gardens in front of the Flaxmill.
Sydney Avenue – commemorates Sir Philip Sidney, soldier, poet and courtier who attended Shrewsbury School as a boy
Victoria Street – this and Albert Street were named in honour of the Queen and her consort. They were built prior to 1856 and were originally named Dykes Street and Evans Street
Wingfield Gardens – this estate contained the first council houses erected in Shrewsbury and was built between 1910 and 1914 in the ‘garden city’ style. It was named after Colonel Wingfield, the mayor at the time.
The Fire Station for the area was originally where the top of Woodhall Close is now, off New Park Road as it goes down to Sydney Avenue by the river. It was a ‘retained’ fire station with volunteer fire fighters. Once a week the fire station siren was tested. It closed in the 1950s(????).
The modern Fire Station, covering the whole of Shrewsbury is on Derfald Street, off St. Michael’s Street and Crewe Street, just south of the Dolphin pub. Its offices and mess quarters were rebuilt in 2012.