West Street

West Street was established before 1249. It was the main route out of the town towards Wales, along Bargates.

By the 1400s, there was a small suburb along this road, but all traces of the buildings were destroyed by the construction of the ring road. For those coming in from villages to the west of Leominster to trade their goods, the Street gave direct access to the medieval marketplace. Burgage plots were laid out on either side of the road.

In medieval times, such town plots were owned by the lord (in Leominster’s case, the monastery) and rented out. In the 1879 Kelly’s Directory to the town a great variety of businesses were listed: a baker, a builder, a plumber, a renowned hat maker (Samuel De Vall) a cooper (who made wooden barrels), a saddle maker, a crockery dealer, a cabinet maker, a foundry, a dressmaker, a solicitor, a bonnet maker, and several pubs including the Talbot and the Black Swan.

8 West Street

 Melia’s grocery opened on this site in March 30th 1928. 


The building at 8 West Street is not particularly old, and certainly not as old as many of the buildings around it. However, it has had a variety of uses over the last 140 years, and the appearance of the shop front has changed little.

In 1889, a bakery and sweet shop was opened there. By 1920, the ladies outfitters run by the two Misses Colwell that had been in the shop was offering a closing down sale. The premises were being sold in 1927 and were bought by Melia’s. This was a grocery business, started in Manchester by Daniel Melia in 1896. At its peak, Melia’s had over 300 shops around the country. It was a popular chain until the 1960s. 

This photograph of Melia’s grocery in West Street must have been taken after March 30th 1928, which is when the Leominster shop opened. There were lots of special offers. In 1929, the shop offered life free gifts and life insurance vouchers to customers. They reduced the cost of their goods in the economic Depression of the 1930s.

10 West Street

Now Martin's Models

A 1950s advertisement for the toyshop at
10 West St.

The timber frame of this building dates from the 1600s, and a wooden gable can still be seen exposed at the back. The brick front was added in the late 1700s or early 1800s, and the front door and windows in the early 20th century.

Newspaper advertisements from the 1950s show that the shop has been selling toys for the last 70 years, but it has also sold other goods in the past, including televisions, radios and bicycles, as well as offering repairs.

Image Acknowledgements

Images of advertising sourced from British Newspaper Archive (www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk) and The British Library Board.
© 2022 Findmypast Newspaper Archive Limited.

Images of Leominster shopfronts with kind permission from Herefordshire Museum Service.