THIS SUNDAY marks the 150th anniversary of the opening of Bromsgrove’s New Road, which takes residents from the High Street to the railway station.
The development came after a lot of arguments but, once work started, it was built extremely quickly, taking just a year for completion.
Despite concerns, the majority of Bromsgrove people back then were delighted there was a direct road to the station, instead of having to go a long way round, climbing up the narrow steep Station Street, and what is now called Old Station Road to get to Aston Fields.
There was much celebration of the original opening, including a long procession led by the members of the town board in a brake drawn by four horses that was provided by the innkeeper of the Golden Cross.
Some extraordinary vehicles followed that, including a decorated chariot containing a stuffed lioness, and another with a live pet lamb with a wreath of flowers and ribbon round its neck. It was accompanied by five little girls dressed in white, as shepherdess and maids, all representing ‘Innocence’.
The Town Crier of the town was in the procession, as were members of the Odd Fellows and the Foresters (national societies formed to act as insurance for their members).
As the procession of, it is said, some 350 people moved up New Road towards the station they past buildings covered in flags and bunting – though most of the road at the time was lined with fields that had not yet been sold for house building. The only houses already built were Oak Cottage, Sunny Lawn and the college, which later became Elmshurst.
The one big change at the opening of the New Road was that the old inn – The Hop Pole – had been taken down to make way for the road.
It was to be rebuilt after negotiation by Dr Collis, headmaster of Bromsgrove School, at the side of the road not quite as it was originally, and is now known as Tudor House.