Lower Westgate Street

Of the four streets that have survived from Gloucester’s Roman origins, albeit not exactly in the Roman form, Westgate Street is the most historic in terms of the number of listed properties located along it.

The now largely pedestrianised street runs slightly north of its Roman antecedent, in a straight line from The Cross in the city centre, where the four ancient cardinal streets meet, down to the River Severn. It passed through the long since dismantled Roman city wall – which ran along the line of modern day Berkeley and College Streets – and crossed a now vanished channel of the River Severn (variously named Old or Little Severn) at Foreign Bridge, where today’s St. Oswald’s Road runs. From there the street ran to the east channel of the Severn we know today, which it crossed via the gated Westgate Bridge, where the modern-day bridges span the river.

Westgate Street is home to fifty-six listed sites located on or just off it. This article covers the twenty-seven found along the stretch running outside the original city walls. Some of them mentioned in this article, such as the Folk Museum, are or soon will be fully covered in separate articles.

The more recently built properties went up in the 19th century, but may incorporate elements of earlier structures. The 15th century of Shakespeare’s day peeps through at Nos. 64 and 66, the latter looking every bit the street elder with twin gables and tudor-style overhang. No. 66 had, by 1998, become structurally unsound, to the point that it was placed on the Historic England Buildings at Risk Register. The issue was addressed in a 2009 renovation which also recreated the historically authentic rendering over the previously exposed timber framing.

Two doors down, No. 70 – flanked on either side by two of the only three non-listed properties on this stretch of the pedestrianised street – was built c.1754, when North America still comprised thirteen colonies of British subjects.

Across the street, Shire Hall is largely a modern building notable for being fronted by its predecessor’s portico and flanking wings. These were designed by the architect of the British Museum in London and originally installed 1816, the year after Napoleon’s final defeat at Waterloo.

After the pedestrian zone ends, the average age of the listed buildings increases by two centuries, as if to compensate for the modern, non-listed developments that begin to line the street. This is where the street’s only grade I listed buildings can be found: Dick Whittington’s – the 15th century merchant’s house believed to have been built for the mayor of London – and its neighbour, the 12th-century Church of St. Nicholas with its pronounced lean.

Across the road, later alterations disguise the 15th- and 16th-century origins of Hyatt House, Nos. 117–119 and the Lower George Hotel (now inn), but the timber-framing and Tudor overhangs of the Folk Museum make its two street-front properties look every bit the 15th and 17th century of their origins.

The final listing on this stretch of Westgate street before it crosses the River Severn and becomes the A417 is the Almshouses. These continue the hospice tradition of the site begun in the 12th century by St. Bartholomew’s Hospital, which the Almshouses replaced in 1790, around the time France was descending into revolutionary chaos.

Included in this article are the originally 15th-century, timber-framed buildings (Nos. 5–11) that line College Street, just off Westgate Street, and their younger neighbour, the brick-built No. 3, put up in 1825.

See also

A Street Through Time: Gloucester’s Westgate Street is one of the Blackfriars talks produced for the Gloucester History Festival 2020, in which city archaeologist Andrew Armstrong both talks and walks us through the history of the street, from its Roman origins to the present day.

In September 2020 it was announced that up to £1.9m in new funding has been allocated to Westgate Street as part of the Heritage Action Zone initiative delivered by Historic England. The Gloucester Cathedral Quarter High Street Heritage Action Zone will invest in Westgate Street to repair historic buildings and shopfronts and convert vacant upper floors for new uses. The project website – https://www.cathedralquartergloucester.uk/ – was launched March 2021.

Listed Sites

  • 1245908 – Nos. 5–11 College Street – 15th-century range of properties along College Street, leading from Westgate Street to the cathedral

  • 1245907 – No. 3 College Street – House on College Street, now part of shop, 1825

  • 1245084 – Shire Hall – Portico and flanking wings of the original Shire Hall, designed by Sir Robert Smirke, whose work included the British Museum in London. Retained from the original 1816 building when Shire Hall was substantially rebuilt 1960–1970.

  • 1245226 – Nos. 60–62 Westgate Street – Early 19th-century shop and dwelling on the corner of College and Westgate Streets, largely rebuilt in similar style 1947

  • 1245227 – No. 64 Westgate Street – Late 15th/early 16th-century shop and former dwelling, re-fronted late 18th/early 19th century

  • 1245228 – No. 66 Westgate Street – Originally built 15th century as a merchant’s house with gabled front added late 16th/early 17th century

  • 1245229 – No. 70 Westgate Street – Shop and former dwelling originally built c.1754. Late C19 alterations

  • 1245230 – Nos. 74–76 Westgate Street – Properties remodelled c.1900 but incorporating remains of a late 14th-century merchant’s house built on a 13th-century property and significantly altered in the early 16th century

  • 1245231 – No. 78 Westgate Street – Early 19th-century dwelling, later shop, with 20th-century alterations

  • 1245232 – No. 80 Westgate Street – Early 19th-century dwelling, later shop, with 20th-century alterations

  • 1245234 – No. 82 Westgate Street – Early 19th-century dwelling, later shop, with 20th-century alterations

  • 1245236 – Nos. 84–86 Westgate Street – Early 19th-century dwellings, later shops, with 20th-century shop facings

  • 1245233 – Old Crown (east side) – Early 19th-century shop and dwelling remodelled with the neighbouring property as the Old Crown 1989–1990

  • 1245235 – Old Crown (west side) – Early/mid 18th-century townhouse which in the 19th century served as a shop and dwelling. Remodelled with the neighbouring property (above) as the Old Crown 1989–1990.

  • 1245074 – Dick Whittington Tavern – Late 15th-century merchant’s house, possibly built for the famous mayor of London, with 16th, 18th and 19th-century alterations. Converted to a pub mid-20th century.

  • 1245083 – Church of St. Nicholas – Originally built 12th century

  • 1245071 – Folk Museum (Bishops Hooper's Lodging) – 15th-century merchant’s house

  • 1245075 – Folk Museum – c.1645 townhouse
  • 1245073 – Folk Museum (Pin factory annex) – mid 16th-century barn, later pin factory

  • 1245076 – Nos. 109–111 Westgate Street – Early 19th-century shops/dwellings with late 19th-century/early 20th-century alterations

  • 1245078 – Nos. 113–115 Westgate Street – Early 19th-century shops/dwellings with late 19th-century/early 20th-century alterations

  • 1245079 – Nos. 117–119 Westgate Street – 15th-century house, now two properties. Re-fronted early 19th century and 20th-century alterations.

  • 1245080 – Lower George Hotel – 16th-century merchant’s house with 18th and early 19th-century alterations

  • 1245081 – No. 123 Westgate Street – Early 19th-century dwelling then shop, probably built with the re-fronting of the Lower George Hotel

  • 1245085 – Westgate Galleria – Almshouses completed 1790 on the site of the St. Bartholomew’s Hospital founded early 12th century

Awaiting photo​

  • 1245237 – Hyatt House – 16th-century townhouse, converted to shop and dwellings 19th century. Restored and converted to flats 1990.

  • 1245070 – Nos. 93–95 Westgate Street – 18th-century shops and dwellings with 19th and 20th-century alterations

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