The New Bear Inn, Silver Street House

Silver Street, Bradford on Avon, Wiltshire


Silver Street House

Silver Street House is a large early Georgian house of five windows in width and three storeys; the central bay, containing the entrance, has a narrow window on each side of the main opening, arched on the middle and top storeys. The second windows from the left and right of the first floor are topped by triangular pediments and the central window by a segmental pediment. There may have been a stone balustrade across the top, above the heavy cornice.

During restoration of the building, elements dating from before the Georgian period were found, showing that the present house incorporates some parts of a previous one.

The building may be one of the properties that Walter Graunt was holding in 1629 in what was then St Olave’s Street, Frances Graunt, widow, was recorded later. It was presumably the home of a well-to-do merchant or clothier.

By 1724 Samuel Baber was leasing it and the property was then known as the Angel, beginning its long career as an inn. It remained in the Baber family until 1810, during which time its name changed to the New Bear Inn. Babers also held the next building uphill, which is now known as the Bunch of Grapes public house.

It functioned as a pub, hotel, assembly rooms and meeting place, with a fairly large brewery -that of John Spencer sr, succeeded by his sons George and Thomas- on the hill to the rear. The brewery overreached itself and became bankrupt, was bought and closed down by Usher’s of Trowbridge in 1914, but the New Bear continued until 1958, when it was sold off and converted into flats. Bradford on Avon Preservation Trust purchased it in 1974 and carried out a thorough restoration, selling off the flats, but keeping the freehold.