Despite its name, New Street is one of the oldest streets in Ledbury. It is part of the planned medieval town, developed by the bishops of Hereford in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries. It wasprobably the latest phase of that development.
New Street always seems to have had quite a different 'feel' from Bye Street. It was not as built up as Bye Street and until the early 20th century retained a number of orchards. During the 19th century, although there were brickyards at the western end of the street, near the canal, and some craft workshps nearer the High Street, it had not such a workaday feel as Bye Street. An analysis of the census enumerators' books gives a glimpse of the residents every ten years. This information can be supplemented by details from the tithe apportionment survey of 1839, the Land Tax assessment of 1910 and many entries in trade directories.
In 1851 New Street was an area populated by professional people, such as vetenerary surgeons, general practitioners, chemists, accountants and clerks, as well as modest manufacturers such as a coach maker. Many other people made smaller items or provided other services. There were bootmakers and basketmakers, blacksmiths and tailors, as well as a cooper. At this time the recently established Police Station was in New Street, with its resident officer. Little had changed in 1861 and only a few of the influx of workers for the railway line which was a-building lived in New Street. By 1881 the manager of the Gas Works was living next to the premises at the junction of New Street and Little Marcle Road. Fewer 'labourers' were lodging in New Street by 1891. In 1901 the make up of the street remained a mixture of professional men with small tradesmen and shopkeepers, the largest employer being Hopkins' coachbuilders. Many of the families remained in the street for between thirty and fifty years.
The following buildings are discussed in more detail:
Content generated during research for two paperback books 'Ledbury: A Market Town and its Tudor Heritage' (ISBN 13 : 978-1-86077-598-7) and 'Ledbury: People and Parish before the Reformation' (ISBN 13 : 978-1-86077-614-4) for the England's Past for Everyone series