Wedderburn Road Started out as Two Fields
In the beginning, Wedderburn Road was not! And even when it did begin, it was called Barbers Hill rather than Wedderburn Road.
The whole area was farmland until the beginning of the 1900s. Early maps show some field boundaries following the course of what would become Wedderburn Road. The 1744 Foley Estate Map also shows Bellars Lane running parallel to the track way connecting Guarlford and Barnets Green. This particular area stretched down to Guarlford, beginning at the pool near The Bluebell, while the area around the shops in Barnards Green was called Merry Vale in 1744.
On the 1831 Foley Estate Map, the area of the future Wedderburn Road is shown as belonging to the “Moat Estate”. This is presumed to refer to Moat Farm in Sherrards Green.
The origin of the name Barbers Hill is not completely clear but it appears as a field name on the 1841 Tithe Map for Malvern next to one called Barbers Meadow. The boundaries of these fields coincide with those of our present day neighbourhood, as illustrated by overlaying the boundaries in the tithe map with the 1937 map of the road.
Looking at older documents and maps, the name Barbers Hill and Barbers Meadow appear on maps and documents back to the early 18th century. John Barber is mentioned in a land dispute in 1548. This is when Henry VIII was selling off the land which had been donated to Great Malvern Priory and the dispute is about whether the land donated should return to the families who gave it. The Barber family appear in the parish records for the next 100 years, John Barber dying in the 1570s, so the name probably dates from then.
Barbers Hill field was used for arable purposes – it is on a slope and drains well. Barbers Meadow is flat, at the very bottom of the slope of the Malvern Hills and slow to drain and, unsurprisingly, was permanent pasture.
The First Houses are Built
Houses were first built on the road in 1901 according to the date inscribed on two houses near the top of the road. The 1904 OS map clearly shows the first 10 houses on the southern side, the last of which was where the road ended (today the house is No 24). The only other property was an agricultural building, later used as a slaughter house, on the Bellars Lane boundary.
The 1904 map calls the road Barbers Hill. Legal documents from land sales in the early 20th century, as well as birth certificates, make it clear that Barbers Hill belonged to the civil parish of Guarlford. This parish came within the Rural District of Upton upon Severn and had been formed in 1894. Guarlford Parish boundaries changed again in 1934 and this area returned to Malvern.