And The Surrounding District

Pink Cottage

From  Shirley Dalley

1939 - The Dalley family - Charlie and Alice took over the running of the Tea Rooms - but this property was owned by The National Trust. They left in 1953. It was mai

nly the family who ran the business until 1953 with occasional help from family visitors. The Thatched roof that was in place when the Dalleys took over the business later caught fire and the Dalley family fought the fire between them, managed to stop the blaze and get it under control but too much damage was done and Charlie requested a tiled roof following the many rogue spark incidents from 'wild fires' on the hills. The tiled replacement for the building was agreed by the National Trust , Charlie organised a local builder to do the replacement works and Charlie assisted the builders. Geoff Dalley recalls 'wild fires' on the hills on numerous occasions and watching his dad Charlie extinguishing the thatched roof as passing fern embers landed on the roof. The thatched roof that was on when the Dalley's took over was not the original. The Old photo's of the stepped thatching is a far earlier era. It is now privately owned.

Geoff Dalley informs me that the stipulation by the National Trust when they moved in was that the tea rooms should be open 7 days a week, making it a very well used business. Refreshment wise - the Bread was always delivered from the bakery - Peter Price from Castlemorton - the bakery was near to the Robin Hood pub - he provided bread to many households. Occasionally Geoff had to put the bread delivery van - a 3 wheeled Reliant back on it's three wheels - it came to grief on a few occasions travelling to and from the Pink Cottage. Originally the Pink Cottage had a board on the top gate that informed walkers that it was The Pink Cottage Tea gardens. There was a large tea room for wetter days. Regularly through the war the Ellerslie School girls visited the Pink cottage for afternoon tea after walking the hills and The Dalley family always received letters from the School staff thanking them for their hospitality. Charlie and Alice made their own cakes and even occasionally bread on demand in a large oven at the back of the cottage. As for the milk situation - (which had to be collected on a daily basis) - Geoff and another family member would travel 3 miles on foot to Old Castle Farm in Colwall - the farm being owned by Bernie and Les Owen to get the milk which was a two gallon churn. At the weekends this was a six mile round trip, school days it was brought back at the end of the day after school - always two having to carry the churn. It got a bit easier when they acquired a bicycle. Later on after the family aquired a Motor bike Geoff and a brother would travel across the hills down to Colwall to collect the churn. The pillion passenger would be in charge of holding the churn on the bike but occasionally they would come off and some of the milk would be lost. When this happened and the churn was still half full it got filled back up with water from Wombwell in the News wood.!!! They were discovered having made the replacement on only a few occasions! After that they made sure none of it got spilled! Malvern Hills Conservators gave permission for the transportation across the hills at that time which would of course not be granted today. General groceries were from Colwall mainly but these were only delivered as far as the British Camp car park and they had had to be collected from the car park by the Dalley family again by foot or bike and carried back across the hill to The Pink Cottage. They also had to cycle down to Hollybush to catch the Gloucester Green bus on numerous occasions, travelling into Ledbury for more urgent supplies. In those days the service ran every hour. Dad said they were hard times but also fun times.

This bike is Geof Dalley's 1929 - Raleigh 250. He would take rides on it across the hills and up the Herefordshire Beacon (I presume this is what the hill was called before becoming Herefordshire/Worcestershire). He would collect drums of milk from Old Castle Farm Colwall and take back to the Pink Cottage along the hill route. This was taken in about 1948/1950. —

Photos Shirley Dalley