Beer and Skittle
The newest and most southerly of our local hostelries is the Golden Valley Hotel, which was built about 1970 when the Golden Valley By-pass first opened. A house called Stoneleigh used to stand there. The site enjoyed a period of fame in the late 1970s when it was used for filming exterior shots for the TV soap opera 'Crossroads', before a different site in Staffordshire was chosen. Heading north the next pub is at Coronation Square. It was opened about 1962 and was originally called The Royal Toby. It has been called 'The Lion' for a couple of decades and is operated by Banks' Brewery.
On the corner of Orchard Way and Tanners Road is 'The Umbrella'. The site was set apart for a public house before the War when development in Orchard Way began. A temporary bar ran from what is now the Skittle Alley during the 1950s before the main building was constructed. The pub was renamed briefly as the Tanners Arms before the name was changed back again. The name itself is said to commemorate the umbrella of Prime Minister, Neville Chamberlain.
In Hesters Way Road, with most of the estate now in place, a pub was built around 1960, originally called The Tankard and Castle. It was renamed around 1988 as The Goat and Bicycle, and recently renamed again in 1997 as Winners No. 1, this being the result of a competition for regulars to find a new name. The name reflects Cheltenham's reputation as a horse racing centre.
At the far north of the estate stands our oldest inn. The Cross Hands dates from the stagecoach era. There was certainly an inn of this name here by the early 1800s. Travel in those days was slow - in 1773 it took 26.5 hours to reach Cheltenham from London. By 1826 improved roads had cut the time down to 10.5 hours. These coaches continued through Cheltenham to The Cross Hands, and from there either to Gloucester or Birmingham. The name of the inn most likely refers to a road sign or milepost at the junction there, which had crossed 'finger' posts. Locals remember the inn as a noted regular meeting place for the Cotswold Hunt. The place was completely redeveloped around 1959 to operate as a motel, with the new building slightly further back from the roadway.The thatched cottage opposite the inn, now called Apple Tree Cottage, was once a smithy. No doubt they did a good trade in horseshoes with all the passing traffic. However it is alsoquite possible that in the 1600s and 1700s the smithy sold refreshments to passers-by, as was not unusual, and it could have served as a shop for the villagers of Swindon and Arle.
Margery Hyett, David Edgar and Phyllis White for compiling the text.
Mr. A. D. Baker, The Cox sisters, Mr. M. Fletcher, Mr D. Gabb, Mrs. D. Hulbert, Mrs F. Moss and Mrs R. Roberts for their reminiscencies, and a special thanks to Mr G. T. Wood for the loan of important documents and for his patience.
The late Dr. A. E. Bell, former Head of Cheltenham Grammar School, for his writings on the controversy about the playing fields
Cheltenham and Gloucester Reference Libraries.
Glos. County Records Office.
Gloucestershire Echo and Chronicle.
Chris Green for editing, design and pre-press production.
Anne Brinkhoff, Cheltenham Borough Council and others involved in the production.