Old photographs: Westwood

Westwood, Bradford on Avon, Wiltshire

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Red Cross Hospital, AvoncliffThe building on the Westwood side at Avoncliff was probably built in about 1795 as a dormitory complex for workers at the nearby woollen cloth mill. In 1835 it was converted into the Bradford Poor Law Union workhouse and remained as such until 1917, when it became a Red Cross Hospital for injured troops returning from the front in the First World War. In the postcard photograph (left) the hospital is seen from the Winsley side of the valley. On its left is the track of an inclined tramway which brought blocks of stone from Westwood Quarry to a masons’ yard and siding on the main line railway. The lack of trees on the hillside, now densely wooded, is startling.

The Old Court Hotel, AvoncliffIn March 1923 it was purchased by Walter Tyrell Morres and Harold Lyon Cuthell and converted into a well-appointed country house hotel called The Old Court. War again intervened and the hotel was requisitioned to become offices for the British Museum, much of whose collection was stored in the underground quarry. Cuthell regained it after the war, but put it up for sale in 1948. Since then it has been a complex of flats and afterwards converted, with additions, into a row of twelve houses called Ancliff Square.

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The Cross GunsBetween Ancliff Square and the much reduced mill lies the Cross Guns public house. The part with the two gables dates back to the 17th century and there had been a pub here since early in that century. This view is from the 1930s, but little has changed externally since. The brick and stone chimney to the left was a late addition to the mill.

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Westwood National School, c1905Westwood National School was built in 1841 and extended in the 1890s to become Westwood with Iford School. Becoming more and more cramped and overflowing into the old Baptist Chapel, it closed in 1976 when the present new school had been built. Two years later it was converted into a house. The photograph was taken in about 1905.

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Lower WestwoodThe village is in two parts- Upper and Lower; this postcard photograph from the 1920s is of Lower Westwood. The children in the road are standing outside the village school. In the background is a pump which supplied water until the coming of mains water in the 1930s.

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Royal Enfield staff magazineThe photograph shows the Royal Enfield hostel that was erected to house people who had been brought in to work at the factory during WorldWar 2. It contained a tea bar and restaurant and entertainments were held there. It and brick-built housing- the “Red Bungalows” -were demolished by Wiltshire County Council for building new houses.

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