Old Photographs: Hodnet

Nostalgic Photographs

These photographs were made available by Janice Parker – the webteam are very grateful for her contribution.

Two images of The Square, Hodnet – the first is almost certainly a sketch which was later turned into a postcard. These days the street lamp has been removed and most people know it as the junction of Shrewsbury St., Drayton Road and Church St. In the first image two properties are clearly thatched, whilst in the second they are tiled. Thatch fires became common with the introduction of steam-driven vehicles and it is known that fire destroyed the roof of the Hundred House. When it was restored with tiles, two new windows were added on the second floor. This is how it looks today and in our website’s logo which was drawn by Anne Andrews. If you look carefully at the second image it is possible to make out a water pump in the bottom left-hand corner. The layout of the railings around the pump suggest that it was for public use.

The first image of the next set is also of the Square and was taken from the bottom of Church St. looking down Drayton Rd. The porch of the Hundred House can be seen in the left foreground, the building beyond it is now the Rocking Horse Workshop and  The Bear pub is on the right. Behind The Bear there is the gable end of a black and white house. The next two pictures are of that house after it had become a petrol station – note there are no pumps visible in the view from the Hundred House. The petrol station closed many years ago and the building reverted to a private house. The fourth picture is of “Old Cottages, Drayton Street” and whilst again the thatched  roof has been replaced and second floor windows added, these cottages are still in existence on Drayton Rd. between the garage and the Lyon Hall.

The first picture below is a little further down Drayton Rd. and the cottage on the right is very recognisable as Dr. Mehta’s surgery before the medical centre was added. Look closely at the two cottages across the road – the second one has a tiled roof with two windows in it. The second image is of these two cottages and shows the thatched roof of the furthest one on fire. It is not known if this fire led to the tiling of the roof and the addition of the two windows, but it makes clear that this picture was taken before the first one. The nearest cottage is no longer standing, but the larger one is still there.

Below is the old Police House and this is also still in existence – it is the final black and white house on the right of Drayton Rd. when travelling towards Wollerton. (It can be seen in the background behind a tree in the picture on the left above.) David Burton has contacted us to say that the poster on the gate next to the house was a recruitment poster for the KSLI – King’s Shropshire Light Infantry. He also thought that the man in the picture could be Sgt. Langford, though he was not sure. Today the house is taller than when this photograph was taken, with extra beams and panels having been added to all sides.

Police House, Drayton Road
Police House, Drayton Road

Below are various scenes from Shrewsbury St. Whilst it says “High St.”  on the card, the first is easily recognisable today. It is looking up to The Square and The Bear, and today’s Rocking Horse Workshop can be identified at the top whilst the closest shop is the presently unoccupied “Supply Stores”. Notice that  transport at the time was commonly by horse and cart. The next photo is looking south along Shrewsbury St. from a position across the road from the bottom corner of the shop in the previous one. The block on the left is still painted black and white though the circular patterns are no longer maintained. The archway in this block is partially obscured by a bush. The properties further away look very much the same today. One clue to when the original photograph was taken is the small van parked on a very quiet A53 – yes, this was before the by-pass!

The third scene is looking up Shrewsbury St. towards the Square, from a point just below the van in the second picture. Again the most prominent vehicle is a clue to the period in which this photograph was taken. How many people would leave a bicycle propped up on the kerb today? The final image was taken just above the junction with Station Rd. The building in the foreground is still standing, whilst the further one has been replaced with a modern house built perhaps on the footprint of its predecessor.

The next set of photographs are very similar to each other and taken from a little closer to Station Rd. than the last image above. The cottage in that picture can be seen in both of these, but the man and two boys in that one have been replaced by two young girls on the Christmas card below. The thatched cottage they are outside no longer exists. In the second picture the large brick building next to the thatched cottage has also been demolished. In the bottom right-hand corner of this picture was the local police “lock-up” – quite a distance from the Police House on Drayton Rd. (see above). This too fell out of use and is no more, but the first cottage on Station Rd. is thought to still have some of the brickwork from the rear of this structure visible in its gable wall.

Three images of St. Luke’s Church – need we say that the coloured one is a sketch. However, can you spot a significant difference between the church in the sketch and in the two photographs?

If you did not spot it, the sketch was done before the erection of the Heber Chapel which was built in 1870.

Hodnet Railway Station – two images from different ends of the station and from very different eras.

The final pair of images are only together because they fit nowhere else. The large house is easy to identify as Hodnet Hall, but it was taken before the third floor was removed. The horse-drawn, flag-waving parade is thought to be celebrating one of Queen Victoria’s Jubilees, but which one we are not sure.

In December 2017 Dr Philip J Naylor, grandson of James Naylor who was the Dispensing Chemist in Hodnet between 1934 & 1937, sent us the following images from his late father’s collection of family photographs.

This more recent photograph of the Bear Hotel, at what was often called “the top of Hodnet”, was taken on Sunday 21 July 1963. This was well before the construction of the bypass and consequently the photographer, Geoff Fletcher, noted in his diary, “I had to wait ages for a gap in the traffic.”

The Bear Inn, Hodnet July 1963