Tewkesbury, Gloucestershire

Tewkesbury, Gloucestershire is famous for its alleys, walks and courts. Alleys and walks are the small passageways that go from one street to another. Courts are areas between the streets that have only one entry.

This map shows some of the buildings, lanes, streets, roads, alleys and courts in Tewkesbury in the mid 1800s when William Wilkes and Elizabeth Hunt were raising their family there.

Because of the Industrial Revolution, Tewkesbury became overcrowded especially in the alleys and courts. There was no running water until about 1870. Sanitation was extremely poor, with open trenches draining sewage into the rivers and streams. Many families would share one hand pump for water and each alley would have one shared non-flushable toilet.

Under these unsanitary conditions, diseases such as cholera and typhoid fever would flourish. In 1832 and 1849 serious epidemics of cholera took many lives in Tewkesbury.

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Old Avon

Mill Avon

Mill Street
The flour mill at the end of Mill Street with the abbey in the background





Tolsey Lane in 1930
Tolsey Lane in 2004

Back of Avon

High Street

Oldbury Road

East Street

Cotteswold Road

Gravel Walk

William Wilkes, second child of William Wilkes and Elizabeth Hunt married Elizabeth Haines 18 March 1846 in Tewkesbury. In the 1851 census they were living in Workhouse Alley next door to his parents. He was a stocking maker. While they were living there they had a daughter they named, Eunice who died in 1848. They also had a daughter, Sarah born in 1850.

In 1852 they were living in Gravel Walk, which was built on an area of gravel deposits. Their son John was born there 3 October 1852.

William was still working as a stocking maker. John suffered from a "paralytic stroke" at age seven months, which crippled his right arm and left leg.

William immigrated to the United States in April 1855 on the William Stetson. Elizabeth, Sarah and John immigrated to the United States on the Caravan in February 1856.

Barton Street

Workhouse Alley

Front from left to right: James Wilkes, Elizabeth Hunt Wilkes, William Wilkes Sr. and Elizabeth Wilkes Cleal. Back from left to right: Mary Ann Wilkes and William Wilkes Jr. William Jr. immigrated to the United States in 1855, then went back to England as a missionary in May of 1879 and returned on the ship Wyoming. This picture was probably taken while he was on his mission.

William Wilkes and Elizabeth Hunt were living in Workhouse Alley when the 1841, 1851 and 1861 censuses were taken. During that time the following children died; Henry age 2, 1835; Samuel age one month, 1844; Helen age 7, 1845; Sarah Ann age 11, 1846; Harriett age 3 ,1849; Thomas age 1, 1849 and married daughter Hannah Fincher age 28, 1853.

The alley is not there any more, but was where #69 & #70 Barton Street are today.

Just east of the alley is a place called Peachey's Alley or Court. It was named after a Mr. Peachey who was a carpenter and lived there as early as 1840. It was accessed directly off of #71-72 Barton Street, and was demolished in 1969.

In the 1871 census there were seven families comprising thirty-six people living in Peachey's Court. William and Elziabeth Wilkes lived there with their daughter Mary Ann, Eliza Cleal age 11, a granddaugher, and Clara King age 4 a lodger.

The 1881 census lists four families living in Peachey's Court. William and Elizabeth Wilkes are still there. Living with them are their daughter Mary Ann, Clara King age 14, the lodger they had in 1871, and a nephew, Ernest Davis age 4.

Finchers Alley

Fincher's Alley was named after John Fincher who had a bakery in the alley in 1840. It is not used any more but was where #57-58 Barton Street is today.

Swilgate Road

Tewkesbury Abbey

Gloucester Road

Union Workhouse

At various times, laws were created in Britain to care for the poor. The Poor Law passed in 1834 mandated workhouses also called Houses of Industry, be set up throughout the British Isles. These would contain a kitchen, dining halls, dormitories for sleeping, a bakery, laundry, sewing spinning and weaving areas, school rooms to teach children to read and a nursery for babies. Inmates were given specific jobs to make the workhouse self sustaining. Men, women and children wore uniforms and were kept separated.

The Union Workhouse in Tewkesbury was built in 1792. The building was made of brick, consisted of three stories and was located on Gloucester Road.