St Michael & All Angels, Bishops Cleeve - with Oxenton, Woolstone, Gotherington, Woodmancote, Cleeve Hill & Southam

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Archive Photos: the Ernest Freebrey Collection

Ernest (Ernie) Joseph William Freebrey was born in 1908 in Edmonton, London. He moved to Winchcombe as a child and came to Bishop’s Cleeve in 1927, where he worked as the village shoe repairer until he retired in 1973. In 1983 he recorded a long reminiscence of life in the village, and in 1987 he died at the age of 79. During that time he gathered a large collection of photographs of the village, and on his death they passed to the church.

Freebry's reminiscences are available at (part of the wide-ranging Images of Bishop's Cleeve website; his work is also included in the excellent local books History of Bishop's Cleeve and Woodmancote and In and around Bishop's Cleeve by David Eldred and Tim Curr. The Images of Bishops Cleeve website uses small versions of some of the photographs; our intention here is to reproduce the whole collection in a larger format.

Click on any of the photos for a larger version.


Bishop's Cleeve Fire Engine outside the Tithe Barn, about 1936

The note on the back tells us this fire engine was about 100 years old when the photo was taken.

tn_200_Roundabout_Cleeve_-_Fire_Engine_Front_tidied  tn_200_Roundabout_Cleeve_-_Fire_Engine_Back_tidied


Bishop's Cleeve: Royal Oak and Elm Pubs

In the early 20th century there were two pubs in Church Road: the Royal Oak (still there today) and The Elm. The Elm occupied what is now the Air Training Corps / Youth Club, visible as the white wall in the photograph: also visible here are the two cottages which were demolished to make a larger entrance to what is now Tesco's car park. The larger dark brick house has since been incorporated into the Royal Oak and these days is painted white.




Ernest Freebrey's Shoe Shops

Ernest Freebrey occupied at least three premises in Bishop's Cleeve. The photos here show the first and second - in reverse order since he refers to 'the shop above'.

Second shop, 1927-29:


First shop, up to 1927, when he moved to 'the shop above':




Workmen at Tarling's Yard, 1912

The notes on the back identify the men as Allen Aldridge (Carpenter); James (Jim) Tarling (Proprietor); Geo. Davis; Ernest East (Carpenter); Arthur Agg (Smith); Tom Cook (Smith). The yard was a general workshop for metal and wood products including wheelwright skills - as evidenced by the tools seen here and the surviving cooling pool visible today at Tarling's Yard.



Railway Bus

The bus used to run between Bishop's Cleeve and Winchcombe before the railway line was connected.



Bishop's Cleeve Railway Station

This photo is on a postcard, so presumably it's correct - but the land seems too flat for the Bishop's Cleeve station and it certainly doesn't reflect what's down at platform level these days. 



Bishop's Cleeve & Woodmancote Conservative Association Outing, 1948

The photograph shows the Association on a visit to Westminster. The tall man in the middle is the Member of Parliament for Cirencester and Tewkesbury, William Shepherd Morrison.

Ernest Freebry (originator of this photograph collection) is 4th from the right in the photograph, marked with a cross.

William Morrison was born and educated in Scotland but in 1929 became Comservative member for Cirecncester and Tewkesbury. Over the next 15 years he held various ministerial positions and later became Speaker of the House of Commons. After leaving the the Commons in 1959 he was made Viscount Dunrossil, and in 1960 despite ill-health he went on to be Governor-General of Australia. Click here for the Wikipedia article on William Morrison, 1st Viscount Dunrossil


The first photo is dated 1946 on the back; the second is dated 1948, though they appear to be much the same photo.


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