The Old Bell & Tigers Eye - The Old Bell & Tigers Eye
Two bars, lounge and restaurant
Our History


The Building Description

Merchant's house, now shop (No.9) and restaurant (No.9A) above. 1664/5 with C18, C19 and C20 alterations. Built for Thomas Yate, apothecary and alderman of Gloucester. The date 1650, inscribed on a chimney piece, may be several years earlier than the construction of the house. Restored 1992 for Gloucester City Council. Timber frame and brick with timber panelled facade, tiled roof with hipped dormers. C17 timber-framed front block; rear wing to left rebuilt in brick in C19.

EXTERIOR: three storeys, attic and cellar; on the front a C20 shop-front, the upper floors of three bays jettied at first and second-floor levels with
moulded timber cornices planted on the bressumers, and with a moulded timber crowning cornice. On each upper floor three large C18 sashes with glazing bars (4x4 panes) in original openings; on the first floor the openings have moulded architraves flanked by carved drops, and a continuous sill board; below each window a pair of raised panels and above a shallow pediment with a carved tympanum; on the second floor carved drops placed centrally between segmental-pedimented windows with single panels below carved in an oval pattern of strapwork; on both floors pilasters at either end of the front. Two hipped roof dormers each with a pair of leadlight casements. Mid C19 2/2-pane sashes to rear wing.

INTERIOR: on the ground floor no visible features of interest in shop. Entrance passage to right leads to C19 staircase. Upper floors remodelled in C19 and C20. First-floor front room has decorative plasterwork with cherubs and cartouches to ceiling; bolection-moulded panelling and frieze with lozenges and lions' masks; mid C19 moulded fire surround framed in magnificent carved surround with cherubs, cornucopia etc and segmental pediment to overmantel broken by arms of Yate crossed with Berkeley and date 1650 (see historical note below). Mid C17 dog-leg stair rises from first to third floor, with turned balusters to closed string and large turned finials to newels. Second floor panelled room, with lozenges to frieze and bracketed cornice and very fine carved stone fire surround which has addorsed lions flanking sheep in nowy-headed tympanum, frieze with foliate and floral carving and bracketed cornice. Attic has butt purlins to central truss and timber-framed side walls.

HISTORY: of principal note for the outstanding architectural quality of its carved and panelled timber facade; fine traces of colour in the grain show that this woodwork was once painted an orange russet colour. Thomas Yate was a younger son of the Yate family whose family home was at Arlingham, south of Gloucester: the date on the overmantle commemorates the date of his first marriage in 1650. Pat Hughes has suggested that the first four sons are portrayed as cherubs in the plasterwork and that the other heads show Thomas and his two wives.

In the C19 the property was known as the "Old Blue Shop", when it was the property of a bluemaker named James Lee; traces of a dark grey-blue substance have been found on the facade and under the floor board.  Blue makers made and sold pigments and dyes such as cobalt smalt, this was used in colouring earthenware and making glass.  Some of the later "blues" may have been used for laundry rather than colouring pottery and glass. 

Open time line in new window.

Some Old Pictures

The follwoing two pictures are from the Gloucester Civic Trust and firstly show the first floor bar when it was still used as accommodation and then what is now the second floor bar when it was used as a bedroom.

Now the main bar.

The second floor bar.

An early picture of Southgate Street facing north, you can still "Tea Stores" on the wall behind the light.

Pictures from the start of last century showing Southgate Street in the first instance from The Cross and then from Southgate Street showing the bulding to the left and the Bell Hotel centre right.

On the left you can see the Bell Hotel and The Old bell slightly to the left, in the second picture you can see the Old Bell right of centre (Bright white walls and scaffold props right of centre) and the waste land occupied by the two cranes is the so called "Progress" of 1966/7 where the magnificent Bell Hotel once stood.

The following two pictures are from the 70s showing the result of "Progress" firstly from the bridge linking the multi-story car park in Lady Bell Gate Street to the new Eatstgate shopping centre, the second is from the cross and in the background you can see the bridge with the pedestrian walk way bellow (They knocked this down thank God).

For more old pictures of Old Gloucester please click on the link.

The Old Bell
The Tigerseye
Gallery - History
Chit Chat