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Wollaton Rd to Villa StVilla St - Stoney StSouth Side1908 Renumbering
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The High Road in Beeston - Villa Street to Stoney Street

The frontage on the north side of the High Road, between Villa Street and Stoney Street as was typical of much of other sections of the High Road, was not fully dedicated to retail shopping until the second half of the 19th Century, when the block at the Stoney Street end, specifically built for that purpose was added. It joined, older development on the Villa Street end, initially more mixed in character. During the 20th cenury, the frontage as a whole gradually coalesced to become entirely dedicated to retail use. Our story will explore this transition and tell the story of the personalities who lived and traded in this central part of the High Road.

High Rd - Villa St to Stoney St

This photograph, dated from about 1910, shows the frontage onto the High Road, between Stoney Street (on the right-hand side of the picture) and Villa Street (which is in the middle-distance, just before the building with the distinctive group of four gables). The individual properties, right to left, were then numbered 49 to 65 but had been 7 to 23 respectively before the renumbering of the High Road in 1908 1. We will use the present numbering sequence principly when refering to individual properties.

At the time of the Enclosure in 1809 2, the north side of the High Road, then the Nottingham to Sawley Turnpike, was virtualy entirely undeveloped with open fields extending to the north of the village. Enclosure - the widespread transfer of the open fields into the freehold holdings of thse indivduals who historically had rights in the open fields - changed the future of the village, enabling it to diversify away from a largely agricultural economy and it was in the post-enclosure era that industry began to appear. This ready availabily of land attracted incomers with the vision to provide purpose-built factories and, over the next forty years, the area around Villa Street became an important centre for lace making industry - led by William Vickers, William Felkin and others (see more) Villa street itself became part of this industrial transition, becoming a focus for those operating many small and medium sized lace making workshops who emerged as pioneers and, later, ancilliaries to the factories.

Inevitably, the development of Villa Street and its surrounding area, spilled onto what is now the High Road and it appears that the development of what became numbers 49 to 57 had occured by the middle of the 19th century and it is that area of the High Road frontage that will be our initial focus.

49 High Rd

49 (previously 7) High Road - this property on the corner of Villa Street became the base for a painting and decorating business as well as the home of the Barnes family at some time in the 1870s. William Barnes, its founder, was born in Beeston in 1831 3, was one of at least eleven children of John & Ann (née Townrow who settled in Beeston following their marriage in Nottingham in 1825 4. While several of his brothers followed their father to trade as a plumber, William was to spend all his working life as a painter and decorator. In 1850, he married Julie Ann Taylor, originally from Bramcote, Notts, but tragically she died in 1853, aged only 22 5. In 1855, he married Sarah Hutchinson, the daughter of Thomas Hutchinson of Cross Street part of the community of lace makers that were then living and working in that area. They were to live at various addresses in Beeston, including on Chapel Street and Union Street 6 before moving to this High Road property. It was here that he traded, assisted by four of his five sons, for the remainder of his life and, where is eldest son, William Walter Barnes was to continue the business after his father's death in 1903.

During this period - and before and after - the Baptist Church had a strong following in Beeston, an important part of the strong Non-Conformist mix that shaped Beeston during this period and since. Its origins went back to 1804 when a chapel was built on Nether Street, west of what is now Station Road. John Clifford, who emerged from this community, went on to gain national and international status, particularly for his campaigning for non-dedominational education. Baptist followers in Beeston were centered around Villa Street and played a major part in the growth of the lace trade. William Barnes was himself part of a Baptist family - both his father and his mother are buried in the Baptist chapel graveyard 7 - so it is not surprising that he choose the Villa Street corner location to live near to his fellow Baptists and as a base for his business. Although we have no specific knowledge of the building's original owners, it is known that adjacent property was owned by Baptist followers so it is entirely likely that this and the adjoining property - where both occupiers were tenants - were developed and owned originally by Baptists. In the event, however, this was to change in about 1886 when this group of two shops was acquired by Samuel Watson, the then silk mill owner and benefactor of the Parish Church.

The couple's six children, all born in Beeston, included just one daughter, their eldest, Emily Hind Barnes. who was born on 8 July 1859 8. For her, the location of the home and shop was to become particularly significant as, on 24 July 1884, she married 'the boy next door' - Isaac Thornhill, the son of William & Eliza (née Wibberley) Thornhill. 9. Isaac, as we will see when we look at 55/57 High Road, continued his father's prestigeous tailor's business after he retired.

Although we cannot identify most of the individuals specifically, in the photograph (above) taken outside the shop, probably in the mid-1890s, it is likely that William appears, standing with legs apart and hands in pockets, right of centre, with the distinctive beard. Around him are his five sons and, probably two other employees. It is believed that the man standing second left, with his hands on his hips, is William and Sarah's eldest son, William Walter Barnes who was born in 1861 10. In 1890, he married Annie Upton, originally from Coventry and they set up home on Ireton Street in Beeston's fashionable area of Imperial Park where their two children, William Carey Barnes and Emily Hutchinson Barnes were born 12. After taking over the family business following his father's death in 1903, he and his family moved back to live at the shop premises at 49 High Road 13. In keeping with the long term family association with the local Baptist church, he served as a Trustee of its Beeston chapel and graveyard, from his appointment in December 1909 until his death in 1938 14. William and Sarah's second son, Herman Barnes was born in 1862 15. He married Hannah Hoole, originally from Selston, Notts in 1888 16 and the set up home in Harcourt Street,also in the Imperial Park area of Beeston, where their two children Nora Barnes (who married Winfred Isaac Ward, who ran a popular family butcher's shop at 144 Wollaton Road, Beeston, on the corner of Cyprus Avenue for many years) and Laurence Herman Barnes were born 17. Hermon died in 1928 followed by Hannah in 1937. 18 John Alfred Barnes, their third son, was born in 1864 19 and married Elizabeth Wilson in Melton Mowbrey, her home town, in 1885 20. They also set up home on Harcourt Street Beeston, near to his brother's family, where their three children, Bertha Barnes, Nellie Hind Barnes and Herbert Afred Barnes, were born 21. John Alfred died in 1930 22. Judson Barnes, their fourth son, was born in 1865 23 and became the third brother to set up home on Harcourt Street, Beeston after his marriage to Edith Grecock from Swepstone in Leicestershire in 1892 24. Sadly, their life together was cut short when he was admitted to Nottingham City Asylum in November 1900 and died there in January 1902, aged only 37 25. William and Sarah's youngest son, Charles Edwin Barnes was born in 1867 26and married Florence Mary Lanes, from Kirton, Lincolnshire, in 1902 27 and appear to have had no children. They set up home at 7 Park Street, Beeston, later moving to number 19 where they remained for the remainder of their respective lives 28. He was the exception amongst the brothers as he trained as a joiner and went on to trade successfully as a builder and joiner throughout his working life. Like his eldest brother, he too served as a Trustee of the Beeston Baptist Chapel and Graveyard on Nether Street, from December 1909 up until when the property was sold in 1938. He died in 1948, aged 80 followed by his wife, in 1962, aged 89 29.

The death of William Walter Barnes in April 1938 and his widow's subsequent move to live with their daughter until her death in 1945 30, meant the end of the Barnes family living and trading at this address. His father and he had traded and lived there for about 60 years. The business had provided a living for both of them as well as for three of William Walter's brothers and for others in the community, keeping its homes and buildings neat and trim, inside and out, but they had not made a fortune - William senior left an estate valued at 393 when he died in 1903 31 while William Walter appears not to have left enough to need probate. William and William Walter, together with William's wife Sarah as well as Judson Barnes, are buried together in Beeston Cemetery where a memorial survives 32.

Following the closure of the their business, the property was eventually acquired by The Nottingham Co-operative Society and, by the 1950s, the site of 49-53 had been developed as a purpose-built modern store. More recently, the site as a whole was redeveloped again and is now consists of three units occupied by branches of The Halifax, Holland & Barrett and Ryman respectively.

51 (previously 9) High Road - This property, being adjacent and, quite likely, adjoined to number 49. had a similar early history, as a building, to its neighbour. As such, we first see signs of its occupation just before 1881, when the property was occupied by Charles and Eliza Robinson and their family of four young children 33. Charles, who was born in Sneinton, Nottingham in about 1849. was then working as a commercial traveller but his wife Eliza, born in Hyson Green Nottingham in 1846, the daughter of William Gadd, a lace manufacturer and his wife Eliza, was then described as a shopkeeper. Whilst it appears likely that it was a shop at that location, it is not at all clear what type of shop it was. Whatever it was, it would have undoubtably have been difficult for her with a young family to care for - though she did have assistance from a domestic servant. Whatever, the circumstances, they were not there long and had certainly left to live in Radford, before 1885, when their fifth child was born there 34.

Samuel Skipworth The next known occupant was Samuel Skipworth (shown left in about 1908) who was to live and trade there as a grocer, along with with his wife and two daughters, for about twelve years and elsewhere in Beeston for the remainder of their lives. Samuel was born in Billinghay, Lincolnshire in 1856 35 the son of John Skipworth, the local Particular Baptist Minister and his second wife, Mary Ann (née Wells). After school he was apprenticed to a local grocer and draper 36. In 1873, when he was aged about 17, his father died. By 1881, he had taken a job with a large grocery store in York and was living in staff accommodation 37 but, at some point in the next few years, it seems likely that he took a position in Nottingham as, in January 1885, he married Charlotte Priscilla Lord at the church in New Basford, Nottingham. Charlotte, born in Nottingham in 1861, was the daughter of Robert Lord and his first wife, Mary (née Booker). Remarkably. after Mary Lord died in 1872, Robert had, at some point, either before or after his marriage to Ann Barnes in 1877, opened a confectionery shop in Nottingham - in complete contrast to his previous employment as a locomotive engine driver. By 1881, Charlotte was working in the shop as a 'waiter' 38.

Skipworth children For a while, the couple lived in Nottingham or its immediate suburbs, presumably with Samuel continuing in his employment, and it is there that their two daughters were born - Annie Evelyn Skipworth in 1885 and Ethel Marion Skipworth in 1887 39 - believed to be in the photograph shown left, taken in Nottingham at the studio of J B Smith & Son on Portland Road, Nottingham. By 1891 however the family had moved to Beeston and opened their grocery shop at this location 40. There they were to continue until 1902 when they sold the business to a Sarah Church with Samuel agreeing, as was later shown, not to compete against her for four years. In April 1904, she sought damages from Skipworth through the courts for breach of the contract, claiming that he had opened a business 'close by' after just six months. The action was withdrawn when Samuel agreed to an injunction 41 42 and continued there for upwards of 15 years although, by the time Charlotte died in 1925, they were living on Mona Street, Beeston 43. Samuel died in March 1937 and was buried with his wife in Beeston Cemetery where a memorial survives. He left what was then a sizeable estate of 4,111 44. Each of the daughters married, Annie Evelyn to Sidney Levers Price in 1905, with two children born to the couple 45. Sadly Sidney was killed during the Somme advance on 1 July 1916 - Click for details and Annie Evelyn remained a widow, living out her life in Nottinghamshire until her death in 1968 46. Ethel Marion married Frank Hopps, a telephone engineer, in 1915. They had no children and lived in various parts of the country until her death in 1975 47.

By 1908, the premises had been acquired by The Nottingham Co-operative Society and had become the butchery department, part of a departmental counter style store, typical of a co-op, then and in the between-wars era. John H Smith was the groceries manager, Miss Annie Wildgust was the draperies manager and Frederick Broughton was in charge of the butchery 48. The double-fronted structure of its main building, with bay window above and imposing gable-ended roof, built on the site of numbers 53, can easily be seen on the main photograph above. The blind on number 51, then its butchery department can be seen just beyond that. Most certainly, the opening of a store of this type marked a change in the everyday shopping experience that proved popular amongst many shoppers - not least for its payment of a 'divi' based on how much was spent - but this began to fade after the arrival of self-service shopping in the 1950s.

As we have seen when we looked at 49 High Road next door, by the early 1950s, this property had become part of a redeveloped Co-operative store and was redeveloped again relatively recently to form the three unit building we see today.

53-57 (previously 13-15) High Road - was, thoughout much of the 19th Century and beyond, the home and business premises of the Thornhill family. There, three generations of high-quality tailors made top-quality clothing for local gentry and others. Their remarkable story - involving not only their tailors' business but their contribution to the development of housing in Beeston, was one of the first to appear on this site and may be seen and read here.


Thornhill premises

The second William Thornhill is shown in the centre of this photograph, alongside his second wife, Rosa (née Markham, previously Boot), in front of their High Road premises, decorated to celebrate Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee in 1897. The two younger men are Rosa's sons, Maurice Markham Boot (left) and Edward John Boot (next to William). While the names of most of the others are unknown to us, the dapper man in the boater and high boots is believed to be Henry Amos Price, the printer and stationer, of whom we will learn more when we take a look at his shop at 61 High Road.

At the time of the photograph the building stood in front of yards and outbuildings to the rear opening to Villa Street which are known to have been used by William junior's father, Robert Thornhill, in the 1820s when he was part of the frenzy of lace making on frames that were housed in small workshops in that area in the 1820s 49. It also had space on its west side which, in 1899, was sold to The Nottingham Co-operative Society and became the site for its main store in the town - as has already been discussed. By then, Isaac, who, as we have seen, had married Emily Hind Barnes in 1884, had taken over the tailoring business from his father and was to operate it for about 50 years. In retirement, William and Rosa had moved to a house they had had built on North Street in Beeston's Imperial Park, a development that William had promoted 50,and it was here that they were to live out their lives.

Isaac and Emily had two sons Isaac junior (b. October 1895) and William Hugh (b. October 1897) - and two daughters Emily May (b. April 1900) and Constance Barnes (b. September 1902) and there was a clear expectation that one or both of the sons would continue the family business in due course. Both boys received an excellent education, boarding at the Moravian School in Ockbrook, Derbyshire and, in due course, both began to take their place in the business. But life changed for everyone in 1914 when war was declared and, for Isaac's family a terrible tragedy was about to unfold. Isaac junior and William Hugh were amongst the first to enlist for war service, in December 1914 even though William Hugh, aged only 17, was still underage. The brothers were very close and that continued throughout what proved to be a tragically short time in the 7th Battalion, Kings Royal Rifle Corps and when, in July 1915, after only eight months service, with little more than basic training and no previous battle experience, they found themselves, side-by-side, part of a counter-attack against the enemy at Hooge Chateau. Tragically after the battle, William Hugh was recorded as missing and Isaac was injured (Click for more details).

The news was heartbreaking for the family though there was some comfort when Isaac survived and recovered from his injuries and they were able to cling to the possibility that their younger son would be found but, sadly, this was not to be the case as, in May 1916, his death was officially acknowledged. Then, in September 1916 the agony continued when, Isaac was wounded again, this time so severely that he was invalided out of the Army. It seems that it was while he was receiving treatment at a Norfolk hospital that he met his wife to be, Hilda Irene Seppings. They married at Great Plumstead Parish Church, Norfolk on 22 October 1918 51 and settled in Beeston where Isaac resumed his career alongside his father. Sadly, Hilda died on 10 September 1920, about a year after the birth of their son, Isaac Edward Hugh. In 1928, Isaac married again, to Constance Cragg, the sister of his brother-in-law, Raymond William Cragg who had married Emily May Thornhill in 1923. Isaac and Constance went on to have two children 52.

Isaac continued to trade from and to live at the High Road location - sometimes, as had been the custom in his own and previous generations, sharing the living quarters with other family members, a tradition that began to change after Isaac acquired a pair of fine, spacious houses on Broadgate now numbers 44 and 46, named Holly Bank and Ivy Bank respectively that had come on the market in 1917 as part of the estate of William Roberts 53. It seems that Isaac junior and his family were the first to live at Holly Bank although, it seems, he moved back to the High Road family home after his wife died in 1920. Ivy Lodge became the home of Raymond and Emily Cragg and it remained their family home until the death of the elder of their two sons, Raymond Anthony Cragg, in 2007.

Pictures of the family on the occasion of the marriage of Raymond Cragg and Emily May Thornhill in August 1923 may be seen here.

Emily Hinde Thornhill, Isaac's wife, died on 4 October 1932, age 73. Sadly, she had not enjoyed good health since the devastating news of the death of her younger son in 1915. By the mid 1930s, Isaac retired and Isaac junior - widely known as 'Ike' - took over the business. In retirement, Isaac and Constance, his unmarried younger daughter, moved to Holly Bank where, in February 1940, he died. Constance, who remained unmarried, continued to live at this address up to her death in October 1974 54.

Isaac junior continued to trade and to live with his wife and family at the High Road location until the early 1950s when, as we will see, the shop frontage was remodelled for conventional retail use and he and his wife Constance moved to live at 26 College Road, Chilwell, Notts, where he was living up to his death on 3 February 1973, aged 77. His widow died in March 1993, having moved to live at 112 Sisley Avenue, Stapleford 55.

With the exception of William Hugh, who is remembered on the Menin Gate Memorial to the Missing, most if not all are buried in Beeston Cemetery were memorials survive 56.

Steeples shopA feature of the Thornhill premises is that they were set back from the street-line - something that was ideal for the family when it was their home and used as workrooms with its presence as a shop was secondary. Now though, things were changing and the value of a shopfront at the site was clear. Accordingly, by 1955, the open space had been filled with a ground-level extension, forming the entrance to a fully-formed retail shop. As can be seen (right) its first occupant was a mensware shop, J C Steeples (Nottm) Ltd run by James Charles Steeples with the assistance of his wife Doris Yvonne who lived on Bramcote Lane, Wollaton 57. The company had traded on Radford Road, Nottingham and at Daybrook Square for some years before opening in Beeston, where they became a popular addition to the High Road.

In later years this position became the site for Beeston's first McDonalds and then had various uses, including a furniture shop, before being transformed into what is now the Bendigo Lounge Café Bar - where, for those who know what to look for, the shape of the building can still be seen to follow its early profile.

The remainder of the block, running up to Stoney Street, is the site of a group of four retail shops - now numbered 59 to 65 - which are all part of a single development - shops with two stories of living accommodation above - that appears to have been built in the 1880s. While it is difficult to identify any of the occupants of the site of this block up to the time it was built, it looks likely that earlier occupants there were Thomas Price and his second wife Sarah (née Wilcox). Born in the Rylands area of Beeston in about 1814, he first worked as a framework knitter and first married Sawley-born Sarah Levers in 1834 and they had three children by the time of Sarah's death in May 1853 58. Within weeks he married Sarah Willcox, also from Sawley, Derbyshire and, by 1861, they had opened a provisions business in this area of the High Road 59. At some time around 1870, their business changed completely and, by 1871, they were trading as book sellers, from the same position on the High Road 60. After Thomas's death in April 1873 61, Sarah continued the business there, with increasing input from her step-grandson, Edward William Cox Price, who had lived with his grandparents since he was born in 1858, the illegitimate son of Elizabeth Price, the daughter of Thomas Price and his first wife Sarah 62. Known generally as Edward Cox Price, he was able to use the Beeston business, which had developed a printing capability, as a basis for a career in sports publishing and journalism of some note.

In 1881, he married Sarah Fletcher Wharton, the daughter of Samuel Wharton and his late wife Sarah (née Fletcher) 63 and, by 1891, they were established at 109 Arkwright Street, Nottingham as the proprietor of 'Midland Sport, Athlete Cyclist's Gazette' 64. Having also become established as a Football League referee, he and his family moved to London where he continued with his sports journalism. By 1908 however, a series of misfortunes had affected his health and, with accumulated printing debts, he set out to find a buyer for his then current publications, 'Athletic World' and 'Football Chat' and approached Joseph Stoddard who told him he wasn't interested but suggested they start a new venture together - 'Football Sport', a new publication which featured a prize competition. Price became involved in the venture, which was based in Holland using existing and purchased mailing lists totaling some 68,000 names and it appeared to be having some success. Stoddard, however. maintained that it was losing money and insisted the Price should make up the prize money and even made him assign the potential benefits of a sale agreement of his earlier publications to him. Under more pressure from Stoddard, he then provided his brother-in-law's Leicester address which was then used to provide a fake winning entry. By late 1908, the setup came under investigation and, in January 1909, Stoddard and an associate, Frederick Catling, appeared at The Old Bailey, charged with conspiring to defraud with racing and football coupons, using bogus winners. After a trial lasting 22 days during which Price, clearly a broken man, and his wife, who supported him valiantly, both gave evidence. Stoddard was found guilty and sentenced to 18 months hard labour and was required to pay the costs. Catling was acquitted on the main charge 65.

It had been a desperately difficult time but, somehow, Edward was able to carry on as the editor of an athletic newspaper and as an author, continuing to live in Camberwell, London with his wife, their four children and his step-grandmother, Sarah Price, who had meanwhile moved from Beeston 66. Happily, it seems, his fortunes turned once again as, by 1939, still working as a journalist, he and his wife and a daughter were living in a fashionable area in Iver, Buckinghamshire 67 and later retired to Sidmouth in Devon where he died in 1951, aged 93, followed by his wife in 1955, age 94 68.

We will now follow, in turn, the history of each of the four shops that had been built on the site in the 1880s and which survive, some with recent structural modification, to this day:

59 (previously 17) High Road - the first tenant at this location was William Jones who traded there for more than ten years as a greengrocer/fruiterer. In doing so, he was typical of a number of people in Beeston, in similar circumstances, who were to use selling greengrocery as a way to advance in the world. Born in Nuneaton, Warwickshire in 1839, he started work there as a ribbon weaver 69, then a trade that was in distress in that area, before getting a job on the railways, which brought him to Beeston to work as a railway porter 70. By 1877, he had met and married local girl, Ann Martin, and they set up home on Chapel Street where Ann had lived with her lacemaker father, John Martin, and mother Ann and near to the Wesleyan Methodist chapel where they were members 71. By 1891, however, they had found the courage to set themselves up as greengrocers at the High Road shop 72 and were to continue there until about 1905 when they moved their business to 24 High Road, one of the new shops that were built in front of the silk mill around that time, but chose to make their home on Wilkinson Avenue 73. William died in 1921, just months after his wife, earlier that year. Their only child, Urban Percival Jones was born in 1884 and was to go on to become head dispatch clerk at Beeston Boiler Company 74. Curiously and for some currently inexplicable reason, he was born in the Mapperley district of Nottingham, while his parents were still living over the High Road shop.

By 1910, the location had become a drapers shop run by Edith Amy Edwards, trading at first as 'Miss Edith Edwards'. On the face of it, it was a brave move, given that the nearby Co-op also had a drapery department. Nevertheless, she does appear to have developed a viable business. Born in Nottingham in 1888 75, she was the daughter of Arthur Edwards, then a sewing machine salesman but who had previously traded as a draper on Alfred Street in Nottingham, and his wife Lucy (née Thompson). In April 1911, the family were living at 44 Broadgate, Beeston 76 and it was in that month that Edith Amy married Edmumd George Taylor, then serving with the Royal Marines Light Infantry and stationed at Chatham, Kent 77. After he left the Army, the couple settled in Beeston, for the most part at 100 Dennison Street and two children were born early in their marriage - Gladys in 1912 and George in 1914. Edmund worked as a postman and died in 1944, aged 59 78. At some point between 1913 and 1920, Edith changed her trading name to 'Mrs Amy Taylor' and appears to have left the business in the early 1920s, She died, apparently in Beeston, in 1976, aged 87 79.

Richmond family Next to occupy this shop was Mrs Elizabeth Richmond who also traded there as a draper. Her story was to be a triumph over an earlier life of considerable hardship and difficulties. Born Elizabeth Davis, in Nottingham in 1886, she was one of six children born to Thomas, a framework knitter and Betsy (née White) Davis. Tragically, Thomas died in 1891, leaving Betsy to do the best she could to continue to care for the family in their home in Sneinton, Nottingham. By 1911, only her two daughters, Elizabeth and Emmas, were left at home with Betsy working as an office cleaner and her daughters working as blouse machinists. In 1914, just as war broke out, Elizabeth married John Richmond, whose father had also died when he was young. Born in 1889 in Gamston, Notts, he was the son of Henry Richmond who had made is is living as a carter with a horse that he had managed to own. His death in 1904, left his widow Mary alone in the world except for their son John who was also able to make a living as a carter. Now that John and Elizabeth were married and war was dominating everyone's lives, things were to change for all those involved. Just over a year later their daughter, Winifred Emma, was born and John, at what should have been a happy time for both of. needed to leave for war as a Gunner with the Royal Garrison Artillery, joining 101st Seige Battery on the Western Front. This tiny but poignant image of the family (shown right) shows John in his uniform and Elizabeth with their baby daughter, a record of what was probably their last time together. Tragically, John was killed near Ypres on 20 September 1917. He is buried in the Wieltje Farm Cemetery, West Vlaanderen, Belgium. In their own words, Elizabeth and all of his family had lost 'one of the best'. Then, sadly, in 1919, her mother died.

It is probable - and understandable - that, in the immediate post-war years, Elizabeth concentrated her attention on raising her daughter. But, sometime between 1920 and 1925, she made a bold move that appears to have given her and other family members the financial stability that was needed. Certainly by 1925, she had taken over the drapery business at 59 High Road and had moved there, with her daughter, to live above the shop. Then, or very soon afterwards, she was joined by her sister Emma and her brother Wilfred, then a widower, who, it seems helped her in the business. This arrangement continued until at least 1932 and, by 1939 they had moved to 81 Peveril Road Beeston, then a relatively new development on the east side of the town. After the war, the family group gradually dispersed, seperated, first by Winifred's marriage to William Glazebrook in 1950 and then the deaths of Wilfred and Emma. Elizabeth herself died in April 1965 having moved, in her last years, to live at 1 Station Villas, Beeston.

Alec Buxton By 1939 this shop and living accommodation were occupied by Albert James Ablett and his wife Ada Eliza. Albert had previously operated a successful and popular shoe shop at 40 High Road and this now continued, as best it could throughout the difficult war years until his death in January 1946.

Next known at this address was a bakery and confectionary which opened in about 1946, operated by Alec Stewart Buxton. Born in Derby in 1909, he was the youngest of four sons of Frederick Luke Buxton and his wife Mary. Frederick, who alongside his sons had operated shops in various parts of Derby and its surroundings, died in 1944 and it is possible that, to Alec, this now felt like a time to move on to a new venture in a new town and selected Beeston (shown right). He had previously been married, in Derby, to Emmeline Norah Maddocks and they had two children but this marriage, it appears, was now at an end and now, having started anew, he married Irene Piggott in 1946. The business appears to have supplied a local need and was a success, but Alec's relatively early death, in 1967 age 58, was to mean its closure.

Now these premises are the site of a remainder book shop which has operated now (2020) for around 20 years.

61 (previously 19) High Road - for over 50 years this was the site of a newsagency, stationers and printer, founded and for most of this time run by Henry Amos Price. Born in 1869 in Hampton in Arden, Warwickshire, he was the second child born to Edward (born Hampton in Arden, 1842) and Elizabeth (née Bragg, in Sheldon, Warwickshire in 1841) Price. When he was old enough, Edward was apprenticed to a cordwainer in Solihull, Warwickshire and was working in that trade when he and Elizabeth married in Aston, Warwickshire in October 1866. Four of their children, including Henry Amos had been born in Hampton in Arden before the family moved to Beeston in about 1873/4, Edward having taken a job with the railway as a signalman, a position he was to hold at Beeston for the rest of his working life. Until the 1890s, the family lived on Wollaton Road, where five more children were born. By 1901, they had moved to live at a cottage at 36 Middleton Street where Edward and Elizabeth were to live for the remainder of their lives and where, in 1916, they were to celebrate their Golden Wedding - the photograph (below left) shows them, surrounded by their family, on this occasion. Elizabeth died in July 1922 followed by her husband who died on Christmas Day in 1927. They are buried together in Beeston Cemetery.

Price family Each of their children was to play their part in Beeston life. An outline of each follows, except their second child, Henry Amos. who will be described in detail below: Charles Edward Price was born in Hampton in Arden, Warwickshire in 1868 and worked in the lace trade all his working life, having starting as a boy in Beeston as a threader. For a time he sang in the choir at the Parish Church and was active in the formation of the Church Institute. In 1892, he married Mary Ann Morley, born 1872 in Beeston, the daughter of Thomas and Mary (née Bennett) Morley, at Beeston Parish Church, set up home on City Road, Beeston and went on to have three daughters. By 1911, they had moved to Long Eaton where much of the lace making work had moved to at that time. In 1922, he went to America but returned to Long Eaton in 1928. He died in January 1933 in Long Eaton and is buried in Beeston Cemetery. For almost 50 years, he had been a member of Manchester Unity of Oddfellows and was a Past Grand of the Order. Mary Ann died in 1945, in Long Eaton. Edith Amy Price was born in Hampton in Arden on 4 November 1870. On 10 August 1889, at Beeston Parish Church, she married William Thomas Morley, born 8 June 1869, the brother of Mary Ann who later, as we have seen, later married Edith's brother Charles. William Thomas was a joiner who worked for Foster & Pearsons, often working at stately home around the country installing greenhouses and conservatories for the firm's customers. The couple raised their family - seven children in total - at The Poplars, off Wollaton Road, Beeston, before moving to Wollaton Road itself. Later they moved to nearby Cyprus Avenue where they lived out their lives. William Thomas died in 1947, aged 78, and Edith Amy in November 1957, aged 87. Frederick Stanley Price was born in Hampton in Arden in 1873. After school, he started work as a card puncher in the lace trade - making the cards for the Jacquard machine that defined the patterns on the lace machines - and continued in that job all his working life. In July 1898, he married Ellen Lee and they went on to have four daughters, continuing to live in Beeston, first on Clifton Street, then Montague Street before moving finally to 68 Denison Street. Ellen died in 1942, aged 66 and Frederick Stanley in 1956, aged 83. John Robert Price was the first of Edward and Elizabeth's children to be born in Beeston - on 27 February 1875, followed shortly by his baptism at the Parish Church on 25 April. He started his working life as a joiner, probably, like his older brother, at Foster and Pearsons, and it may have been while working at a installation at one of the grand houses that was typical of the places where Foster & Pearson installed its horticultural buildings, that he met his wife to be. Ethel Mary Skrine was born in Glastonbury, Somerset, she had had no previous connection to Beeston and had been working as a servant in a boarding house in Buxton, Derbyshire. They married at Beeston Parish Church on 14 October 1902 and their first of two sons was born in March 1905 by which time, John Robert was, it seems, working as a carpenter with the Humber Company as shortly after this, the family moved to Coventry, likely to be when that company moved its entire operation there in 1908. John Robert continued to work in the motor industry in Coventry and their second son was born in 1912. They were to live out their lives in Coventry, where John Robert died in February 1950, aged 74 and Ethel May on September 1972, aged 94. Louis Price was born in Beeston on 3 May 1877 and was baptised at the Parish Church a few weeks later on the 22 July. In his early career he worked as a plumber and then an electrician but later worked as a tool maker at Ericssons Telephones. In March 1902 he married Ellen Giles, originally from Ilkeston and the daughter of a baker. At first they made their home at 26 Mona Street, Beeston before moving to 70 Denison Street, Beeston. They were to have four children, two boys followed by two girls. Sadly, Ellen died in March 1927, aged only 48, and a year later he married Mary Ethel Start. By 1952, they had moved live at 42 Inham Circus on the Sunnyside Estate in Chilwell. Mary Ethel died in 1957 followed by Louise in May 1958. For many years he had been active with the Beeston Friendly Societies Council. He was buried with both of his wives in Beeston Cemetery where a memorial survives. Margaret Price was born in Beeston on 26 September 1878 and baptised at the Parish Church on 10 October. After school she became a dressmaker and, in April 1903, she married Edward John Boot, the son of the late Maurice Boot and his wife Rosa who was now the second wife of William Thornhill, who we have discussed above, as an occupant of 55/57 High Road, with Edward John standing next to his step-father in the photograph. At first, the couple set up home at 118 Chilwell Road, Beeston and two daughters were born to these couple in the early years of their marriage. Edward John traded as a plumber, a business that developed with some success into both plumbing and electrical contracting, interrupted only briefly by Edward John's brief service with the newly formed Royal Air Force in 1918. Later, the couple moved to live in Chilwell, at 5 The Close off of Hurts Croft and were still living there when Margaret died in October 1948, followed by Edward John in 1957. Thomas Walter Price was born in Beeston on 16 September 1883 and baptised at the Parish Church on 21 October. He too became a joiner, working on greenhouses and other horticultural buildings for Foster & Pearson, both in their works on Station Road and on customer sites around the country. In April 1911, at the Parish Church, he married Mary Jane Winblett, originally from Gloucestershire, who lived with her parents, just around the corner from him and his parents, at 24 Montague Street. Their fathers would have known each other well, as both were signalmen on the railway. In the event, the couple made their home at 40 Montague Street where their only child, a son, was born in 1913. Thomas Walter died in June 1957, aged 73. In the last years of her life, Mary Jane went to live at The Hassocks, then an old persons home on Queens Road, Beeston and was living there when she died in December 1973, aged 88. Gertrude Price, the last of Edward and Elizabeth's nine surviving children, was born in Beeston on 29 September 1885 and baptised at the Parish Church on 8 November. After school, she worked as a commercial clerk before her marriage to Fred Bates in May 1915 at the Parish Church. The couple set up home at 18 Enfield Street, Beeston and their only child, a daughter was born in 1916. Fred worked at the local Ericsson Telephone works, originally as a instrument maker and later as a toolmaker. By the time of his tragically early death, aged only 48, in February 1931, he held the position of foreman in the Model Department, having worked for that company for 24 years, During that time he had proved an extremely capable and expert craftsman who won the confidence and esteem, not only of the management, but of the whole of his work colleagues. These sentiments were fully expressed as his funeral at Beeston Cemetery, attended by very many relatives, friends and colleagues as well as Ericsson management. Gertrude Ellen was to live on for a further 37 years before her death in 1968, aged 82.

As we have seen, most of the Price sons choose one of the careers common to many others in Beeston - the lace trade, Foster & Pearsons, Humbers and Ericssons - and they were able to make a full contribution and, in turn, it served them and their families well. Edward and Elizabeth's second child, Henry Amos Price, was the exception, taking a different path. As we will see, he was to trade as a printer, stationer and newsagent on Beeston High Road for over 60 years and became a familiar figure in everyday life in the town.

Price premises

Henry Amos Price - often known as Harry - was born on 27 February 1869 in Hampton in Arden in Warwickshire and was baptised in the Parish Church of St Mary & St Bartholomew on 11 April. The village is part of the area east of Birmingham but still retains much of its rural character while surrounded by a the now largely urban area near Solihull, close to the airport, NEC and the motorway network, but then part of rural Warwickshire. As we have seen, Edward Price and his wife Elizabeth had lived there for about eight years following their marriage in 1866 and during that time, Edward had started a career on the railway as signalman. By 1874, a transfer within the Midland Railway system brought him and his wife and then four children to Beeston where they set up home on Wollaton Road and where a further five children were born. By 1891, Henry had decided on his future career and had taken the tenancy of what was then 19 (later 61) High Road part of the block of four retail shops with two floors of living accommodation above that had recently been built between Thornhill's shop and Stoney Street. The shop that he developed on that site is shown above in its heyday.

On 12 May 1892, Henry married Amy Frances Johnson at Beeston Parish Church. Amy had been born on 17 January 1870 in Nottingham the fourth of what became ten surviving children of Thomas and Ellen (née Suffolk) Johnson. The family had moved from Nottingham to the Canal side at Beeston Rylands in about 1875. Thomas had found work in the lace trade, first as a warehouseman and later as a salesman and commission agent and, in turn, the children mostly found work in the trade as winders and carders. By the time that Henry and Amy met, Amy was working as a cotton winder.

Price postcard After there marriage, the couple set up home above the shop and just over two years later, on 13 August 1894, their first, and what was to be their only, child was born - a son, Francis Leslie Price. Accordingly, he was to have the benefit of their full attention and, what was then, an extended education. In due course he was to have a career in banking.

The shop certainly prospered, providing a popular place for buying stationery items, books and newspapers - even some houseware items - and was the go-to place for small printing jobs, like wedding invitations and such and was also, at one stage said to be involved with the printing of the local newspaper - The Gazette & Echo. Certainly, at some stage he was the local agent for accepting advertisements and suggested news articles. Of particular interest to us today is his self published postcards which are a welcome addition to those produced by nationally based publishers. Always with an eye for publicity, he and his wife managed to appear on at least one of the many published in the years immediately before the Great War. They are seen on the right at the shop entrance in part of one such card.

At some point during the 1920s, Henry and Amy gave up their 'above-the-shop' life and moved to live at 35 Park Street and the rooms above the shop began to be let for residential use to others, a change that became more and more the norm in space above shops of this type. Henry was to live at the Park Street address for the remainder of his life and was to die there on 10 December 1948, aged 79. He is buried in Beeston Cemetery. At some point around this time, the business was taken over by Walter Hayes who was, by that time, emerging as a clear competitor from his shop on Chilwell Road just off The Square. For a short time, he continued to operate the Price business in addition to his own, before its final closure in the early 1950s.

Amy lived on as a widow for a further eighteen years, eventually moving to live with her son's family in Loughborough, where she passed away on 3 January 1966, aged 95.

Henry and Amy's son, Francis Leslie Price, was to interrupt his banking career to enlist with the Royal Navy in July 1917 during the Great War, and was transferred to the Royal Air Force in January 1918 as an Aircraftsman. He was promoted to Corporal in July 1918. In 1921, he married Winifred Edith Nevett, Their son had become the Right Reverend Stuart Hetley Price, Bishop of Ripon by the time of his death in March 1977 at the early age of 54.

63 (previously 21) High Road - the first tenant at this location was Evan Edward Jenkins, a chemist and native of Bridgend, Glamorgan, who had moved to Beeston, with his wife Eliza and their three children, by 1886, from the Pancras area of London where he had been trading as a chemist. During their relatively short time in Beeston, he was able to establish himself as a chemist and was also elected as a member of the Beeston School Board in December 1886 for a three-year term and was reappointed in December 1889. It seems likely too, that it was he who set up the interior of this little shop and its traditional chemist's shop fittings which were to survive there and become such a feature, through several occupants and a change of use, for over 120 years. However, by 1892, Evan Edward had moved on under circumstances that are difficult to be sure about. Although his wife and children stayed on in Beeston - having moved to 16 Denison Street - Evan moved away and, after applying for a liquor licence for premises in Alcester, Warwickshire in 1896, it has not been possible to trace beyond that time - as is also the case for Eliza, his wife, after 1901.

The shop and business, though, were taken over by Francis Harry Hemming who was to continue to trade there for 38 years. He was born in Nottingham in 1866, the youngest of four sons of schoolmaster Edward William Hemming (c1835-1902) and his wife Mary (née Perry, c1834-1891). He had trained as a chemist at the Nottingham firm of Bass & Wilford which traded from a prominent position on Lower Parliament Street, Nottingham. Having become manager of the business in his early twenties, he was now ready to widen his horizons and branch out on his own and considered the Beeston shop as having potential. He was to be proved right. Also by that time, he had other thoughts on his mind. Having met Mary Jane Carrington during the latter part of his time in Nottingham, he was now determined that they should marry, once the business was firmly established. So it was that they were married in the summer of 1895. By that time, Mary Jane was living in the Yardley/Sparkbrook area - then in Worcestershire but now part of the Birmingham conurbation - after her parents had moved there in the meantime. Mary Jane, born in 1871, was the daughter of Thomas Aaron and Sarah Ann (née Smith) Carrington. Thomas Aaron, who had suffered setbacks in his varied career, had made what was to be his final move from Nottingham to Yardley to work as a plasterer - so, following the tradition of marrying in the bride's Parish, this is where their wedding took place - before starting their married life together over the Beeston shop. During this era, chemists and druggists operated largely independently from the main stream medical profession and to be successful in the business a person needed not only to have the required knowledge and experience, they also had to gain and retain the confidence of the customers. During the majority of the Herrings' 30 years trading it seems that had been able to demonstrate these qualities and make a reasonable living. Time would show that things could turn difficult when circumstances change.

The couple were to have three children : Percy Edward Hemming, their eldest child, was born on 1 August 1896 and baptised at Beeston Parish Church on the 27th of the following month. He attended Nottingham High School before joining Lloyds Bank in Nottingham in January 1913. In November 1915 he left the bank to enlist with the Royal Fusiliers and was Commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant with the Liverpool Regiment in August 1917. After the war, in May 1919, he resumed his banking career, joining London & Brazilian Bank in Brazil. In 1923, he transferred to The Bank of London and South America in Brazil. known as BOLSA,when it was formed by Lloyds Bank as an amalgamation of London & River Plate and London & Brazilian Bank. BOLSA went on to expand over the next 50 years, prospering in a continent that was undergoing major upheavals, both economic and political and helped to finance a rapidly industrialising South America. Percy Edward continued this employment until his retirement in the late 1950s. He and his wife Sylvia, whom he may have married in Brazil, made a number of visits to England during that time. They retired to live in Canford Magna, near Wimborne in Dorset. After Sylvia's death in 1961, Percy married Ethel Sparrow. He died in September 1968 followed by Ethel in September 1975. Frederick William Hemming, their second child, was born on 19 April 1898 and was baptised at Beeston Parish Church on 24 July 1898. Like his near contemporary and neighbour, Francis Leslie Price, he enlisted with the Royal Navy as an Ordinary Seaman during the Great War, but was transferred in March 1917 to what, in April 1918, became the Royal Air Force. After the war, he completed his training as a qualified pharmacist and, in 1924, married Kathleen Mary Hulme, the daughter of Josiah and Clarice Winifred (née Tressler) Hulme, in the bride's home town in the Macclesfield/Stockport area where - it is likely - Frederick William had received his training. They went on to have one child, a son, born in 1930. Frederick William was to focus his career as a manufacturing chemist, first working in the Radlett area in Hertfordshire and, in 1935 moving to Oadby, Leicestershire to take up the position of Sales Manager with Wand Manufacturing Company, the long-established Leicester firm of wholesale druggists and manufacturing chemists. Later, when Wands closed, he founded and ran Modken Ltd which operated in similar fields. In 1946, he married his second wife, Hettie Norah Green. He died in Leicester in 1966 age 67. Hettie lived on to the age of 93, until her death, in Leicester in 2002. Elsie Mary Hemming, their youngest child, was born on 23 October 1899 and was baptised at Beeston Parish Church on 10 May 1900. In September 1917, aged 17, she married James Jeffrey Barker at Holy Trinity Church in Nottingham - apparently in some haste as their first child, a daughter, was born early in the following year. Sadly, the child died shortly after her birth. They were to go on to have four more children, all daughters although only the three eldest were to survive infancy. James Jeffrey Barker had been born in Ilkeston, Derbyshire in 1892, the son of James & Mary (née Richards). Perhaps significantly, James had been a chemist in his early working life but, by 1901 had become a licenced victualler at the Golden Ball in Coalpit Lane, Nottingham. For his part, James Jeffrey started his career as school teacher. He was also an athlete of considerable ability, being a five-time Middlesex County 100 yards champion between 1911 and 1919 and twice 220 yard champion during that time. After competing in the Stockholm Olympics in 1912, he went to cause a sensation in Berlin when he defeated gold medallists, William Applegarth and Victor d'Arcy. But his teaching career was abandoned when war came along and he joined the Royal Army Medical Corps. By 1916 he was attached to the Chilwell Shell Filling Factory as a chemist and was to join the Nottingham firm of Boots Pure Drug Company as a manufacturing chemist. In the early days of their marriage, the couple lived at 17 Forest Road, then 194 Mansfield Road, both in Nottingham and it was in those years that their daughters were born. By 1925 they had moved to the village of Syston in Leicestershire, the ever-versatile James Jeffrey having taken employment with the long-established Leicester engineering firm of Samuel Pegg & Son. However, by 1932, he was back in the health sector, becoming Sales Manager for Colemans of Norwich - makers of Wincarnis and Odel toothpaste and much more - and the family lived in that city until their final move to live at The Oaks, School Road, Shirley on the outskirts of Birmingham - this time to take up a position as Sales Manager with a textile/yarn firm. However, shortly afterwards, war came again and James Jeffrey was able to offer another skill he had to the war effort. As a keen pigeon fancier he had broadcast regularly on the subject on the radio and now, as Major Barker he became the Officer commanding the Army Pigeon Service helping to ensure that these birds made the contribution they did. Sadly, in 1947, his eventful life came to an end, at the relatively early age of 54. Elsie May stayed at their home in Shirley until 1966 when she left to live with her eldest daughter in the village of Ludford near Ludlow, Shropshire. She died there in 1986, aged 86.

Francis Harry Hemming died in their home above the shop on the High Road on 5 October 1930 age 64. He had been ill for some time and, it seems, customer confidence and therefore his shop's profitability had been severely hit in his absence. While it was not declared at the time, it was later revealed that he had left a deficit of some 131 - over 8,000 in purchasing power today. In the event, despite her superficial knowledge of the shop's business and lack of business knowledge generally, his widow decided to trade out of the problem and keep the shop open. To do this she hired in a manager - another crippling expense - to provide the technical skills she did not have, with disastrous results. The business never recovered, losses mounted and, by July 1933, she had no alternative but to file for bankruptcy. At the examination that followed she declared a deficit of 512 - more than 30,000 in today's value, an impossible amount to recover from. It was a sad end to a familiar business on the High Road that had served the people of Beeston for almost forty years.

But there was one legacy left behind after the tragedy - the fixtures and fittings, so evocative of a chemists shop from the era it served, were to remain in the shop and in use for another seventy years or more, fondly remembered, as we will see, by generations of Beeston residents. And the shop itself, pictured below, continued in a new role for many years while retaining the look and feel of its earlier years.

Applebee opening

Within a few months, as this advertisement in the Beeston Gazette & Echo shows, Applebees Electrical Shop moved across the road from 64 High Road, where it had been trading for a few years. Then, when Hemming's chemist business closed in 1933, Reginald moved its business from over the road to take over what had been Hemming's shop in October 1933. The master-stroke - at least in the eyes of many Beestonians - was that the original chemist shop fittings and quaint interior were retained - indeed the arrays of drawers tended to suit the storage requirements of the new business admirably.

Applebee shop

Reginald Stuart Applebee was born in Islington, London in 1887, the son of perfumery worker, William Thomas Applebee and his wife Maria (née Rudland), a self-employed confectioner. The family had moved to Beeston by 1908 and first settled on Prince of Wales Terrace in the Rylands and Reginald quickly found a job as a telephone assembler at the Ericsson Telephones factory. Sadly, his mother died in 1910, soon after their arrival. by the following years Reginald and his father had moved to 17 Harcourt Street where they were to continue to live for about twenty years. In 1915, Reginald married Mary Florence Wood, the only daughter of John Wood, the blacksmith who traded at the well-known forge on Wollaton Road, and his wife Mary Ann (née Sheppard). Having recognised the opportunity offered by the rise in the use of electricity, in the home and everywhere else in everyday life, Reginald started to develop his idea of a business supporting this trend and, by 1925, he had established himself in business as an electrical engineer from premises at 2a Hall Croft, Beeston and at 64 High Road, Beeston. As we have seen, in 1933, the business moved across the road to 63 High Road where it was to stay for almost seventy years.

Applebee advertBy the time of the move, Applebees was catering for a very fruitful market serving the households of Beeston - assisting them to adapt to growing use of electricity in the home, whether it be mains or battery driven, supplying all the bits and pieces to make it work, repairing them when they didn't and were ready to answer questions in an area which was then a puzzle for many. An important part of everyday life at that time was the battery-driven 'wireless' (radio) which used a 'high-tension' replaceable battery and a 'low-tension' rechargeable accumulator or 'wet-cell battery'. As can be seen by their advertisement from 1934, the provision of batteries and battery charging for radios was an important part of their business - and it brought a regular flow of customers through their door. At the time of the move to No 63 and up to the war years, Applebees were also selling Enfield bicycles but this line was dropped soon afterwards, probably because of space limitations, war-time supply problems and the need to focus on their main product lines. However, the opposite approach was taken when they began to stock model train sets, toy cars, model aircraft kits and similar items. By the post-war years this had become a very significant part of the business and certainly an attraction for generations of children - like the author - who never failed to check the window for something they would very much like - but was all-to-often not to be.

Reginald and Mary had two children, both daughters: Hilda Violet Applebee was born on 7 January 1918 and, as soon as she was old enough, was employed in the shop. On 31 January 1940, she married Herbert Cecil Graham (b. 17 May 1916, the son of Herbert Cecil and Mildred E (née Allen) Graham, a family of butchers, based in the Lenton area. They went on to have two children, both boys. Hilda died in 2008 in Nottingham. Vera Florence Mary Stuart Applebee was born on 13 March 1922 in Beeston. After school she started work as a chemist's assistant before marrying Frank Lees, then a serving soldier, in the summer of 1943. They had one child, a daughter. Frank died in June 1998 followed by Vera in March 2001.

After the death of Mary Florence Applebee in 1965 and Reginald Stuart Applebee in 1967, the shop continued within family ownership, as a almost indispensable part of Beeston life. By 2003 it was hit by a proposal to redevelop 63 and 64 High Road and it was forced to find a new location. It was then that the shop relocated to 1 Wollaton Road, Beeston, taking with it the internal fittings which had become such a favourite with its customers. Today, over 95 years since it was founded, it is under the management of Jeffrey Graham, retaining the family connection to its founder. Long may it continue.

65 (previously 23) High Road - this property that was on the corner of Stoney Street, shown prominently in the first photograph on this page. For the first seventy years or more of its life, it was occupied by a butcher. For the first ten years, or perhaps slightly more, the occupant was Sidney Stone who was aged only 19 in 1891, around the time that he first traded there. He was born in Nottingham in 1861, the son of George and Eliza Pering (née Knott) Stone. The family had been connected with The Greyhound Inn, nearby on the High Road, since the mid-1880s, when Sidney's brother George Thomas Stone had become its landlord and this family connection with the inn was to continue for around seventy years. After George Thomas Stone died in 1891, his brother Sidney left his butcher's business and took over the The Greyhound. He was to remain there until his death in 1928, becoming a fairly wealthy man and an important local figure with substantial property holdings - a story that will be told when we look at that section of the High Road.

The business was soon taken over by John Thomas Bailey, the son of Thomas Bailey, a railway signalman who was born in Bottesford, Leicestershire but moved to Beeston with his job in arouund 1883 and stayed. Thomas and his wife Hannah (née Carlin had three children - including John Thomas who was their eldest son, born in May 1880 in Shirland, Derbyshire - at the time of their arrival in Beeston, but this had grown to nine over the next several years. In 1901, when he had just started his new venture at the shop, John Thomas continued to live with his parents on Mona Street, Beeston while operating the shop as a lock-up business. This changed in 1905 when John Thomas married Mary Childs in Nottingham. Mary, the daughter of William and Sarah H Childs, was born in Toddington, Bedfordshire. The couple moved into the living accommodation above the shop and went on the have three children there - see below.

Mary can be seen in the image of the shop at the top of this page, standing behind her husband in the doorway. The presence of the young man standing outside, in his butcher's apron, is particularly poignant. He is believed to be George William Letting. then aged about 20, Mary's nephew, the son of her sister Elizabeth and brother-in-law James Letting of Harlington, Bedfordshire. George William had come to Beeston to learn the butchery trade, after leaving school and, by 1911, around the time of this photograph, he had become John Thomas's assistant at the shop. He and all those who appear in the photograph would never have imagined the terrible change that would overwhelm everyday life when war came, just a few years later, in 1914. Sadly, George William was killed, fighting with the Royal Warwickshire Regiment in November 1916 after just two months on the Somme. He is buried in Serre Road Cemetery No 2, in the village of Serre, France. Click here to read more.

As one of some 27 butchers serving a population of about 9000 in Beeston in 1905, John Thomas was trading in a very competitive market. Fifty years later, the number of butchers had halved, despite a population that was about four-times larger. As well as the likely over-provision in those early days, it is also a fact that the nature of the butcher's trade changed considerably over that time. In the early years, most butchers shops - including Baileys - would have slaughtering facilities with animals driven into town, typically along Chilwell Road and the High Road and into the rear of individual butcher's premises where they were slaughtered and their meat prepared by the butcher himself, so that they could then sell the meat fresh. As refrigeration began to be introduced, there was a gradual separation of the two aspects of the butcher's trade and shop slaughterhouses fell out of use, all but entirely by the time of the second world war. Butchers shops then took in meat carcasses, from specialist slaughter houses or abroad, which they then converted to family size cuts and this continues to this day with the more traditional 'family' butcher's shop although, even this process has been taken further, helped by the change in shopping habits and the near-universal introduction of home refrigeration, by the easy availability of pre-packed meats, often in a supermarket environment.

John Thomas, like many of butchers on the High Road of a similar age, were considered to be exempt from conscription during the Great War. By July 1917, with the pool of available men becoming unable to meet demand, the military asked the local Tribunal to review the exemption status of four Beeston butchers, including John Thomas Bailey. In an attempt to broker a compromise, another local but older butcher and member of the Tribunal, William Thums, volunteered to meet with the butchers to discuss possible co-operation between them to cover slaughtering and business assistance. When no common agreement could be found the matter was left in the hands of the military member of the Tribunal and, by March 1918, it was reported that Bailey's shop had closed down - implying that he had joined the Army - and that the case of the other butchers under consideration would be looked at in three months time. Happily for everyone, an Armistice was declared in November and, for the Bailey family that meant an early return to normality and a business that would continue to serve Beeston, through two generations, for more that a further forty years.

John Thomas & Mary had three children, all of whom were born and brought up above the shop at 65 High Road: Frederick Bailey, their eldest child and only son, was born on December 1907 and went on to learn the butchery trade and to work alongside his father. In 1934, he married Annie Honora Fidler, the daughter of Derbyshire coal miner Harry Ellis Fidler and his wife Mary Ellen (née McNulty). This event appears to have prompted his father's retirement and his parents' move to live at 14 Marlborough Road, Beeston, along with their two daughters. In turn, Frederick assumed management responsibility of the shop and he and his wife, together with Mary Zoe Fidler, Annie's unmarried sister, took over the living accommodation there. They went on to have one surviving child. By the 1960s they had retired and closed the business and had moved to live at 16 Marlborough Road, Beeston, next door to Frederick's widowed mother and sister and were living there when Frederick died in September 1978, aged 70, followed by Annie Honora, in May 1986, aged 76. Marjorie Bailey, their second child, was born on 11 July 1910. She did not marry but stayed at home with her parents while working as a shorthand typist. She later moved to 18 Marlborough Road where she was living up to her death in 1990, aged 79. Gladys Bailey, their third child, was born on 11 November 1919. While single, she also lived with her parents and worked as a shorthand typist but, in 1947, she married Arthur Cecil Nesbitt, the son of John Oscar Nesbitt & Helen (née Spencer), his wife. John Oscar, who died in retirement in 1947, had had a career as a senior Civil Servant as Senior Valuer with the Inland Revenue and had been awarded the OBE in 1937. The family had lived at 'Rostrevor'. Glebe Street, Beeston but moved to live at 166 Harrow Road Wollaton after John Oscar's retirement. Arthur Cecil Nesbitt ran a business as a hosiery manufacturer and was still involved with this at the time of his mother's death in 1965. At some point, he and Gladys moved to live at 'The Orangery', 50a Westgate, Southwell, Notts where they were living at the time of their respective deaths, Gladys in January 1985, followed in the September of the same year by Arthur Cecil.

John Thomas Bailey died on 3 April 1940, probably in Beeston, aged 59, leaving an estate of 4,901. Mary, his widow, later moved to live with their daughter Marjorie at 18 Marlborough Road and was living there when she died in May 1968, aged 87, leaving an estate valued at 8,351.

After the Bailey family closed the butchers business, the High Road property was occupied for a while as a restaurant, something that the Beeston town centre seemed to otherwise lack in that era - although it is now well provided for in that department. After a relatively short while, however, the restaurant closed and the property became occupied by Michael Vernon Agencies as an estate agency and local branch of the Bradford & Bingley Building Society which continued up to about 2003 when this and the adjacent property at number 63 was redeveloped and was then occupied for a while as a sportsware shop. Presently (in 2020) it is occupied by The Salvation Army as a charity shop.

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Where reference is made to the Probate Calender (Index giving brief details of grant of Probate/Administration), unless specifically stated, the full will and probate documentation has not been seen.
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© David Hallam - 2020