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Old Ledbury

Golden Crown Chinese Restaurant
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Bye Street

1980s - Golden Crown Menu
[Golden Crown ] [Golden Crown ]
( Tony FOX Collection )
( 2012 October )
Tony Fox - some one wanted a bit of info on des. the golden crown chinese restaurant in bye st i found these tucked away in my folders & look at these prices

Sali Mustafic - Amazing. This was my introduction to Chinese food and i still love it. We lived just down the road in Bridge Street at the time. We were so shocked by what happened to Des and his restaurant.

Chris Ponter - Des was great always smart. He never missed a trick either we used to go in every saturday night after the pub and i was 2p short one saturday.I had a curry which was a Β£1 and i only had 98p he let me have the curry. The next saturday we went in and i ordered a curry again. Thats Β£1.02 says Des no its a Β£1 Des i said.He said 2p from last week!!!. A legend god bless him

Pauline Preedy - He let a lot of people have food on tic, i wonder how many owed him xx

Karen Devereaux - What happened to the restaurant?

Tim Smith - On a sunday night I would have chips and barbecue sauce. The sauce was absolutely lovely.

Pauline Preedy - There was a gas explosion, Des had gone in the cellar to check and he was killed, along with one of the people in the flat above. It was awful, the loud bang, then the smoke, everyone was out wondering what had happened. Then the news came that Des had died, everyone loved him. No one could beat his food , i loved spannish omelette xx

Karen Devereaux - That's really sad!! Is that where Odd Bods is now?xx

Pauline Preedy - No, it was right at the end of the row xx

Chris Ponter - Although we haven't used it much when you go in there now its the Indian its seems tiny although its the same size outside. Des's counter in the corner used to to seem a long way from the door back in those days in reality it's tiny inside. Dont know how he used to get tables in there aswell.

Chris Ponter - Great Pic Tony who'd have thought you would be able to look at a Golden Crown menu 30 years on.

( 2015 October )
Paul Lane - if it wasnt for my brothers doctor martin boots laces coming undone and stoping to do them up he and my cousin would of been inside when it blew up.

Janet Morris - A really nice guy what a loss that was xx

Sam Jones - How lovely to see this

Ade Nicholls - Des best food in town still remember the day

Sandie Fox - Gosh I remember des,s well he was such a Lovely man, always remembered my birthday gave us a table with a flower on and wouldn't take the money for the meal

Deena Morris - No one did Maryland chicken like des x

Ledbury Reporter and Worcester Evening News
Front page headlines
1983 January 23
Restaurant horror blast kills two Mr San Wei CHAN ( Desmond ) and Mr Douglas EVANS
[Golden Crown][Mr San Wei Chan]
Local Press
The scene in Bye Street
[Golden Crown]
( 2012 October )
Terry Wilkins - First time i have ever seen Wood pierce solid Brickwork on the opposite side of the road,,, such was the blast

Dee Ehrlich - devastating such a sad day.,

Laura Jones - wondering who was working at the fire brigade then? certainly wasnt the sort of thing i would think any one in the fire brigade would have to tackle

Anthony Groves πŸ™

Brian E Morris - I was actually driving a lorry up the homend on my way back to Hereford from Malvern when I heard the blast. I thought it was my load falling off. Didn't know what it was until I spoke to my mother that night.

Rosie Dyer - We lived at Bosbury House at the time I was stood in the garden and heard it from there

Terry Wilkins - Bosbury House,,, my mums good friend Betty Page lived there,,, lovely lady,,,

Sammi Hobby - Was this the chinese that blew up on bridge street?

Elaine Evans - Yes my Dad was one of the fireman and my dad remembers it still, I can remember standing and watching

Robert Greening - The night I went to the cinema to see E.T.....

Rosie Dyer - Betty Page lived next door to me Terry she was a lovely lady, provided my lunch many a day she used to look in lunch bowl (usually soup from the main house and say come on in) and I would be presented with a beautiful meal - a gem of a lady

Paul Ponti - we also went to see E.T.. in Hereford that afternoon..

Terry Wilkins - Rosemary,her son John now lives in Cumbria,,and yes a lovely lady,,very handy with the "needle n thread" if i remember correctly
Five minutes after the massive explosion
[Golden Crown]
Firemen soon after a massive explosion ripped apart the restaurant
[Golden Crown
[Golden Crown]
The smouldering scene of devastation
[Golden Crown]
Firemen take a short rest
[Golden Crown]
Restaurant's sign lies amidst the wreckage, miraculously intact
[Golden Crown]
Kam Ming Yaeung, Chef aged 20 had a miraculous escape
[Golden Crown]
Teenager Shaun WEBBER one of the local heroes who helped haul survivors from the rubble
[Golden Crown]

( 2012October )
Tony Fox - a great bloke as you can all agree but was sadly taken 23rd jan 1983

Jessie Gough - yes i agree always made you welcome it was the one place i could get john to go always good food sad day when it happened

Kim Dowding - I was in the same class as his son Tony at primary school. mum and Dad said they heard the explosion all the way down deer park and nanny Evans said her house shook in longacres/queens way.

Terry Wilkins - It happened either 1.00pm or 2.00pm exactly,, i was just down the road at mums for dinner,,, was pressing the Tele Button to watch the Grand Prix and BOOM,, the whole house shook,, went up in the car with Tessa my daughter.

Jon Green - He was a ace bloke always gave the kids bags of sweets at christmas remember the day sad as hell rip des

Cherylin Smallwood - Very sad

Sali Mustafic - We loved him.

Carole Phillips - very sad we all loved Des got newspaper cutting of this

Sandra Dew - lovely happy chap- great food too

Helen Caroline Bloise - poor old des he was a nice man..

Tony Saunders - You could have a shop full on a sat night and he knew exactly who had ordered what and who had payed and who was on tick lol !

Janet Jones - I will never forget this tragedy as it happened on my birthday,

Deb Wolfe - i was in the kitchen and my mum was cooking dinner and we heard one heck of an explosion. my dad had to tear off to the exchange as it all kicked off.......poor desmond.......

Helen Caroline Bloise - I remember our windows vibrating from the explosion .... bless him he was such a lovely man!!!!

Hilary Hilsy Williams-Jones - my dad and alex whitson had just installed gas central heating at no 4 queensway and were testing the system when the almighty boom sounded. Poor mum was beside herself she thought they had done something wrong and caused the blast!

Terry Wilkins - I thought it was a plane crash,,,,

Jessiejo Bloise - I was talking to his son very recently,lovely young man too!

Brian Haines - Not forgetting Douglas Evans, who also died in the blast. I used to work with Douglas at the Jam Factory. RIP both..

Dee Ehrlich - everyone loved des....

Pauline Preedy - I remember the service his family had on the site, there were loads of people there, he was a lovely man, very sad day that was. xx

Jenny Lawrence - best takeaway I have ever had. I live in Mathon and we heard the bang there. I thought it was my nephew messing about. What a waste a lovely bloke

Sharon Fletcher-Hood - i remember it too lived in belle orchard and could see the flames from the edge of the rec

Sam Jones - Elieen who had the Seven Stars at the time set up a soup kitchen with bigs urns of soup, Debbie Lancett & myself stayed up all night serving the police and firemen with hot soup, it was horrible when they bought the bodies out, so sad. Such a lovely man.

Joanne Isaacs - Best chicken & chips with that sauce on.....myself, Roy and Pat Lilly, Linda fox and Micheal Widdows delivering his menu's when he first opened he payed us by given us the first meal there.

Laura Jones - on a saturday night dad used to have a drink at the horseshoe with either len wood or gordon moore then hed get a chow mein for himself and me and mum had a chicken maryland never had one like it since breaded chicken gammon chips pineapple and peas.

Hayley Daniels - Dad (Robert Daniels) was working under the bonnet of Sharon's car in their yard when the Chinese exploded, sucked the window out of the house in the front room where Dicko and Rose were sitting. Dad ran over and pulled a man out.

Sandra Dew - Hayley Daniels -is your mum Angela? if so I shared a flat with her in Ledbury many moons ago πŸ™‚

Jessiejo Bloise - I never knew there was another chap that died too! Who was Douglas Evans?

Dee Ehrlich - Desmond's chicken maryland was the best ever, still miss it

Clare Turner - My girls worked for des in his kitchen, he always sent them home with goodies, he was famous for his food and a real gentleman.

Hayley Daniels - Yes that's right my mum is Angela.

Sandra Dew - tell her I said hi please, we both were marcle -ites πŸ™‚

Hayley Daniels - She says 'hi, back and hopes your well πŸ™‚

( 2015 October )
Kate Hoare - When we had a fire at home (chip pan!) Des looked after us until the kitchen was made safe. Not sure how he heard about it. Really one of a kind, lovely man.

Rosie Dyer - My Golden Retriever "Sam" you to sit outside waiting for chicken and rice and he always got some no wonder he was such a pudding!!!!!!

Helen Bloxsome - Oh I remember Sam so well 😊

Chris Hencher - Great shame great food he would toss a coin with me double of nothing losses every time

Dee Ehrlich - lovely man

Sharon Payne - Lovely man

Carole Phillips - Only one Dessy he was the best, no one ever comes close to his meals.

Sally Farr - To true best ever x

Sally Sturge - Really lovely man. A true gentleman.

Claire Ellis - He has his photo on his headstone in Ledbury Cemetery. Always brings back fond memories whenever I see it. Good old Des. x

Natasha Geoghegan - It must be about 30 years? Can Remeber it I was in the swimming pool at time and we had to vacate everything was so loud x

Claire Ellis - I was pregnant with my son & he's almost 32. Seems crazy that it was so many years ago.

Natasha Geoghegan - Thought it was around 30 ish years, where the chippy is by it what was there 30 years ago? I think I can remember a tool shop? X

Claire Ellis - GT tool hire I think. Some photos on here somewhere of when Basher Brace had a shop there.

Natasha Geoghegan - Thanks thought it was, god don't realise where time goes!

Claire Ellis - We heard the report on the news & thought it was a restaurant in New Street, the Snooty Fox! Went tearing up there in the car and no one around. Drove down the town to go home (Lower Rd in those days) and stumbled on the total confusion in Bye Street. Should think half of Ledbury plus TV cameras were in attendance.

Janet Morris - A really nice man xx

Julian Davies - This was a real tragedy, I used to go in there regularly when I was home on leave or weekends. His chinese food was amazing. Just like we used to get in Hong Kong. A lot of the chinese takeaways in the UK were not as good. If I remember it was a gas leak.

Lesley 'Jane' Turner - Just seen the photo.. I thought he is the gentleman who owned the Chinese takeaway down near the brewery pub.

Sallyanne Starke - i remember my nan phoning us up as she lived by the community center, she said their is a toilet on my lawn, it was so sad , we watched as they walked with insence sticks to say their goodbyes, so moving

Julie Williams - he was a true gent,and hes chicken maryland was like nothimg ive tasted since , never forget that day our house shock then we spotted the smoke terrible loss of a lovely man xx

Brian Gwynne - I used to look after his car when I worked at wt brookes always a complimentary meal whenever i went in,a really nice man missed by most of the town

Johnny Chan - He's my dad! and I am still in Ledbury. I was 9 when the accident happens. I will see if I can did out some old photos. Sadly, I am not a good cook. My mum is though.

Brian Gwynne - I can remember you johnny

Johnny Chan - Sunday 23 January 1983 about 1:40pm the accident happened. It was a gas explosion and I was nearly there, but too tired to go. The last thing I said to him, "dont forget the dustbin" as the water was being turned off where we were that evening. Thanks for everyone who still remember him.

Claire Ellis - Johnny Chan, as you probably realise, your dad was a Ledbury legend and loved by many. πŸ˜ƒ

Jo Edge - Does anyone remember when Desmond gave out keyrings in the shape of a Β£1 pound note? I think I still have it in my small treasure box!!!!

Sara Johns - Me and Teresa Pitt worked for him on Saturday night's he would pay us Β£3.00 each and whatever food we wanted. I can remember when they first moved to Ledbury and June Taylor looked after Johnny he was the most cutest little boy . He certainly looks like his dad now
[Golden Crown]
( Sent in by Sam JONES from the Gwen DAVIES Collection )
( 2017 August )
Julie Burgess - Remembering hearing this explosion at home. I lived in The Langlands. Very sad

Hilary Roberts - I'll never forget that day - so very sad

Nicola Craven - I remember hearing the explosion too.

Hilary Roberts - We were supposed to be at the market theatre that evening but of course it was all closed off course

Craig Taylor - Desmonds?

Craig Taylor - Remember it well sat in Corinne's flat up lawn side when it went up!

Janet Chester - Ann Meredith we were swimming in Ledbury pool

Nick Rudd - That was Des's place, very sad, he always used to give me a can of coke when me and my dad picked up our Friday night Chinese.

Sandra Dew - i was living in a flat near the cottage hospital when the gas cooker stopped working and had to walk to the phone box to ring mum and ask if I could finish cooking at hers- didnt realise at the time what had happened πŸ™

Jenny Lawrence - We heard the explosion in Mathon. Never had such a good Chinese curry since then.

Lin Heath - I remember that well.

Mandie Ing - Was at bishops frome horse riding & we heard it from there

Brian Gwynne - Loved visiting des's especially when he brought his car to Brookes garage where I worked always treated me to a free meal when I worked on his car lovely chap loved by all

Zena Clueit - Can't believe it was 34 yrs ago....Used to love Desmonds ,such a lovely man

Clare Turner - My two girls worked there...always came home with something nice...Des was a smashing chap...people came from all over the 3 counties for his food,

Kathryn Balch - Remember that v well we were walking round Dog Hill with our dog when we heard the explosion and could see the smoke. 😒

Sandra Wood - Ann Bates this is the one dad used to tell us about wasn't it ? He attended ? Xx

Karen Gorin Williams - Remember it well. Tragic day for the family πŸ˜”

Dee Ehrlich - i remember this day, so very sad πŸ˜₯

Leigh Basson - Can't believe how long ago this was! Very sad x

Katie Brown - The garage was being built that day.

Darren Barker - this made my mum go into labour with my sister

Rosemarie Smith - So sad

Deena Morris - That was such a sad time. He did the best Maryland chicken ever

Catherine Hall - Sad day. Des was a very nice person.

Maria Fox - O.m.g that long ago, Des, was a lovely man.

Nikki Diebelius - Remember so well, Chinese men on their beds looking startled.

Helen Louise - I remember this so clearly It was a Sunday lunchtime, I was playing tabletop snooker with my brother. Des was one of life's finest ... R.I.P u are missed by many!

- Anna Morris - Remember this well too. Had just been to look at the new show homes in Robinson's Meadow and walked back that way. Was also an elderly man who died in the flat above too?

Andrew Crokey - I was 17 and working at GT Tool hire which was next door at the time. Every day Des would walk around the whole area picking up the litter that some of his customers had dropped. About 8 months before the blast he had a new cooker installed and a large stainless steel chimney that came out from his building in the ally way between the two buildings, every week he would knock at the back door and ask if he could borrow a ladder to check it, which we always let him do, I used to stand at the bottom of it for him. One of the saddest things I've ever had to do was cleaning up the next day and finding all his personal effects such as pictures of him and his family as well as large amounts of cash. He was a great man who would help you if he could and also had a great sense of humour and pride for his restaurant, he is sadly missed and will always be remembered with great effection. RIP Des.

Natasha Geoghegan - Remember this well , me and Tonya Gurney was in the swimming pool πŸ™ˆ

Amanda Banner - Remember this I was on the rec, sad day loved his chicken Maryland,

Jenny Cockeram - Wow!! This was my Dad's place. I was 4 at the time so my memory is vague at best. It's really touched my heart to read all your lovely comments above about what a great guy he was. And it's made me giggle to hear how his Maryland chicken is still remembered!! I'm so proud to be Desmond's daughter. Xx

Sam Jones - Jenny, he was a lovely man with such a beautiful soul. There aren't many people that could make a claim that no-one had any thing bad to say about them. Your Dad was one of those rare people. Everyone who knew him loved him, one of life's true gems and taken far too early. And his Maryland spring chicken was the best, as was the gravy/sauce you could get with the chips in a brown paper bag! Such a sad day for Ledbury but he was an absolute legend and his memory will live on forever x

Jenny Cockeram - Sam Jones thank you!!

Janet Jones - He was great man your dad Jenny. xx

Clare Turner - Des was a good and honourable man...Jenny...So good to hear his family are still around ....

Jenny Cockeram - Clare Turner Yep! I'm in Worcester, my older brother is still in Ledbury and my younger brother teaches in Dubai.

Chris Ponter - Des was a lovely man always very smartly dressed and proud of his business .The best curries you would ever taste. He also had a very good memory i will explain😊 Every saturday night me and Lee Vine (Wooty) from Lee Motorcycles would go in for food after a night touring the local pubs. Wooty always had a Beef Curry and boiled rice which at that time was Β£1.80. On this particular Saturday night all that Wooty had left after our night out was Β£1.60 so Des took that saying you owe me 20p Lee. The following Saturday we go in and order as usual Des comes out with Wootys and says Β£2 please. Wooty says no its Β£1.80 Des. Des says no you owe me 20p from last weekπŸ˜€ A great memory i will never forget

Janet Jones - Yes this was a terrible day. . I will always remember because it was my birthday. Very sad. xxx

Donna Jackson - Such a sad day, Des was a lovely man,

Julie Trigg - Alison Yorke, do you remember I was at your house when it happened & the house shook X

Alison Yorke - I do remember it Julie, it was the most shocking thing that had ever happened in Ledbury and very sad xx

Julie Trigg - Yes it was Alison,he was such a nice man X

Mary Winfield - I remember it well. It was so sad for Mr Chan and the family.

Shirley Simcock - Oh my! Remember Des went in every Saturday night for chicken Maryland Sad day he is greatly missed!

Andy Gurney - The pressure from the explosion forced my attic trap door down. The noise of the trap door hitting the wall caused my cat ( Scrumpy ) to break the world record for a dash across the landing and down the stairs.

Sandie Fox - Remember this well..was up dog hill paddocks at the time. Such a boom and all the ground shook .never heard anything like it.then the terrible News we had when we came back to town.RIP Des your never be forgotten xxxx

Paulandkath Crew - My dad and grandad were just turning into longacres when it happened blew the car on to two wheels. A chinese form des was my nan and mine treat on a Saturday I always had banana fritters xx he will always be remembered with love x

Georgina Mills - It was so sad what had happened Des was a very good man xxπŸ’™

Adrian Gittens - Remember we were having dinner and the windows rattling

Deanne Davies - What a lovely man. Is chicken maryland was to die for. RIP des. X

Mike James - Was a regular customer. Des worked very hard in his business and this was a terrible thing to happen.

Tim Smith - He was a great man, terrible day that was. Me and Dad were working up bank crescent when we heard the explosion, we got there just as they were pulling the staff from the rubble.

Matt Ehrlich - I was only 6 at the time but remember the power going off at Margaret Road where we were living. Mum and Dad always speak fondly of what a lovely man he was and that his was the best Chinese food Ledbury has ever had. I just can just about recall the chips as a treat on a Saturday, they were good.

( 2019 August )
Mike Ruttle - Just seen this. Remember it happen, my dad used Gt tool hire next door on many occasions.

Julie Jones - I can remember feeling the explosion when we lived down Bridge street. How are you Mike?

Lesley Scott - I remember this so well, so sad, so tragic !!

Heather Bagley Ne Roberts - Thanks for putting this on, have been told about Desmond many times. Very sad.

Mike Burrowes - Remember dad being called out to thisπŸ˜₯πŸ˜₯

Pauline Halford - Remember des well had lots of lovely meals there and take out too loved his pineapple fritters he was a lovely man and a lovely family such a tragic loss of life that day

Clive Jones - Lived down Bridge St at the time... Everyone went up there to see what had gone off!!!

Simon Haines - I was in swimming pool and saw parts of the roof fly past

Deb Jones - I was also in the swimming pool , I remember the bang

Simon Haines - I'm sure the roof lifted and remember seeing most of the roof of the Chinese fly past we ran to wreck to have a look and was debris everywhere

Deb Jones - all I remember was the swimming pool literally shaking and we all had to get out , my memory of the aftermath is pretty poor , devastating news I remember my mum being really good friends with Des always having her curry on a tab πŸ˜‚ and paying after working on the land

Simon Haines - yeah they got us all out fearing the gas turbines might go up I certainly made a bang I can remember the banana fritters from there they were lush

Deb Jones -best Chinese ever 😁

Carole Phillips - we used to go there alot Deb ,get meals & eat on the rec ,x

Shaun Mason - It was a sunday afternoon

Simon Haines - I cant remember tbh I know I was in swimming pool they evacuated us cos of the gas turbines heating it

Robert Greening - The day I went to see E.T. at the cinema, the town was shut down.

Sara Manns Pedlingham - He was such a lovely man... Such a tragic thing to happen πŸ˜”

Sam Jones - It was about 2pm Sunday 23rd January 1983. Such a sad day, he was a lovely chap and his gravy and chips was amazing. RIP Des

Sue Morris - Brimmell - They were the best always remember RIP

Deena Morris - Best chicken Maryland ever. ❀️

Zena Clueit - Lovely man Des and his chops were amazing.. πŸ’”

David Stokes - Best chicken curry ever.

Terry Fleetwood - Along with his smile you always had quality food R I P des

Michele Morris - Wow how sad remember hearing this on the news ,while living somerset,

Stuart Jones - He really was a lovely bloke ! Such a shame

Andrew Manns - I heard the explosion in Dymock. I was in the back garden of our house. I walked past there every morning on my way up town. Back then I had to walk up to the train station as I worked at Ledbury Welding. It was shut off for a while so i had to go another way.

Hayley Daniels - My dad Robert Daniels Who’s parents lived in what now is Pughs (opposite) helped pull out a man from upstairs who was still in his sleeping bag.

Dame-Claire Pyett - My first ever chinese meal was from Des. I was resistant to tasting "foreign food", but after I took the plunge I was hooked. It was Sweet and Sour Chicken with fried rice, the chicken was a flattened out breast fillet, fried in breadcrumbs and sliced up ready.

Jessie Gough - Lovely man and always pleased to see you food gold star every time

Ann Marsh - Lovely man Desmond you always had lovely food from there Friday & Saturday nights were always very busy the local lads taught Desmond a lot of swear words which sometimes he used in the wrong places we always had a laugh in there while waiting for our takeaway you were lucky if you were able to get a seat to have a sit down meal in there . RIP Desmond xx

Jane Williams - Loved his special fried rice. Lovely man.
( 2021 January )
Spencer Lane - We always had Chicken Maryland and pineapple fritters as a treat! It was delicious!

Sara Manns Pedlingham - Chicken maryland was my favourite too 😊

Pauleen Baldwin - Went there every Saturday night after Ledbury disco. Have never tasted Chicken Maryland the way Des made it. You remember Shirley Simcock only talking about this a few months ago

Shirley Simcock - Pauleen Baldwin oh my! Every Saturday chicken Maryland nothing has ever beaten it !

Pauleen Baldwin - Shirley Simcock don't think anyone ever will

Bryony Jenkins - Helen Long, you loved your chicken Maryland from Des’s

Helen Long - Bryony Jenkins I have never tasted better.

Janet Morris - Ledbury was so lucky to have had The Golden Crown otherwise known as Des’s. Went there with my hen party. Des was a gentleman, food was the best, service was always with a smile and the kitchen door was often open on to the street during the day and you could clearly see as you went passed that the kitchen was immaculate. Never been anything to compare. Gone but will never be forgotten!

Johnny Chan - Thanks for a nice tribute

1897 - 1980 A Retrospect Tilleys Almanacks - Herefordshire History
Photographs are credited to the owners where possible
Edited Comments in italics are from the Old Ledbury Facebook Group
Cuttings from Old Ledbury Reporter Newspapers