Old Photographs: Avoncliff

Westwood and Winsley, Bradford on Avon, Wiltshire


Mills at Avoncliff, Westwood and Winsley

The weir at Avoncliff, with mill buildings on both Westwood and Winsley sides. Part of the Westwood mill is without a roof, while the main building, glimpsed on the far right, still rises to its full height.

Avoncliff Mill, Winsley

Red Cross Hospital, Avoncliff

This group of buildings 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  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, Avoncliff

In March 1923 it was  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. The hotel did not re-open after the war, but was put 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

The Cross Guns pub, Avoncliff, Westwood

Between 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 the pub claims to have been here since early in that century. The photograph is probably from early in the 20th century, perhaps even before the turn of the century.

The Cross Guns

Another photograph of the Cross Guns pub at Avoncliff. This from the 1930s, but little has changed externally since. The brick and stone chimney to the left was a late addition to the Westwood mill.