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The High Road in Beeston - Willoughby Street to City Road
The section of the south side of the High Road, between Willoughby Street and City Road was typical of much of the High Road as a whole, in that it evolved
from its ancient agricultural usage in the 19th Century. After gaining a frontage sometimes built as housing and sometimes as shops, all were to evolve into shops as demand grew as the 20th
Century progressed. Our story will explore this transition and tell the story of the personalities who lived and traded in this part of the High Road.
At the time of the Enclosure in 1809, the land to the south of the High Road - then the Nottingham to Sawley Turnpike - was essentially open pasture made up of crofts, running between
there and what is now Middle Street. In contrast to the surrounding open fields, then the subject of the enclosure, it was part of ancient village core, made up of crofts that were had been
individually owned for many years. Any buildings that did then exist were cottages and simple buildings to support farming activities and craftsmen. The frontage that is now being examined.
between Willoughby Street and City Road, was part of one of these crofts and was known as Caulton Croft. Overall, it was 1 acre 3 roods 15 perches in size and was owned by the Rickards family.
Starting in the early 1850s the croft was to be sold-off, sub-divided and developed to respond to the demands of a growing population. City Road - earlier known as Cox's Lane - formed its
eastern boundary and became, the basis of new housing development which led to the opening up of Portland Street and Willoughby Street for more housing, for small commercial ventures and the
building of a United Methodist Free Church on Willoughby Street. In 1851, the croft, along with other Rickards land, was sold by Maria Rickards, then unmarried and living on Willoughby Street,
to Reverend Francis Baron de Paravicini, then the Vicar of South Scarle, Notts 2. He then divided the land into lots which were
offered for sale at public auction in May 1852. It appears that much, if not all of the land we are now focused on was bought by one Matthew Hawkes 3
who set about developing and marketing the land in lots son of which were, in turn, advertised for sale in June 1858 (see right) 4. It seems likely
that Lot 1 became the site of The Prince of Wales pub and that Lot 2 became the site of much of the High Road frontage - possibly what is now 88 to 104 High Road. Lots 3 and 4 appear to cover
the land to the rear fronting onto City Road and Portland Street. During the next ten years, the development of these lands would take place and form what largely survives today.
The photograph shown above, dated from about 1910, shows this busy section of the High Road, between Willoughby Street (just off the right-hand extremity of the picture) and City
Road - which may be seen in the distance. As we have described above, it emerged in its present form during the 1860s, consisting of 18 individual multi-storey units, in three sections terminated by a public
house - The Prince of Wales - on the corner of City Road. In the early days, many of the units, particularly those at the eastern end, were in residential use but this had changed by the early
decades of the 20th Century as the character of the High Road evolved. During many of the years prior to 1890, the properties were not numbered - which makes the identification
of occupants a challenge - but by 1891, they were identified as numbers 38 to 64 High Road but became numbers 72 to 106 in the renumbering of the High Road that took place in
1908 5 and remain so today.
The section of three shops at the western end of the block, on the corner of Willoughby Street, now numbered 72 to 76 (38 - 42 before the renumbering in 1908) appears to be different from
most of the remainder in that it is likely that it was built for retail use rather than evolving from residential use, as did the remainder. Above the ground floor shop area, the then
fashionable two floors were provided, usually for living accommodation but perhaps sometimes, for storage. It appears, also, that these properties had a rear access to Willoughby Street and there
are indications that they were built about 1863-4, originally for the developer. Matthew Hawkes 6. After his early death in April 1864,
much, if not all, of his remaining Beeston property was sold at Public Auction by his executors. Click HERE to view the Notice of Sale. From that, it seems
clear that the construction of these three shops had recently been completed and that they were included in the sale as Lots 1, 3 and 4. There follows the story of each of the occupant of each of these
properties in turn:
72 (previously 38) High Road - This property started its life as a butcher's shop and has continued in the role for over 150 years and remains so today. First to trade
there, certainly by 1871, was Samuel Meads, the third son, one of at least seven children of Joseph & Elizabeth (née Stevenson) 7.
Although his father was born in Chilwell, Notts and was a cattle dealer, based on his 17-acre farm there for much of his life 8, Samuel
was born in Redhill near Arnold, Notts where his parents lived for about five years following their marriage in 1816 9. Towards the end
of 1859, Samuel married Selina Wallis in Radford, Nottingham 10. Born in 1839, the daughter of Harriett Wallis and originally from
Stapleford, Notts, she was barely half his age 11. By 1861, he had begun trading as a butcher, based on Villa Street, Beeston
12, almost undoubtedly selling meat from the family farm in Chilwell, now in the hands of his mother following the death of his father
in 1854 13. By the late 1860s, when this group of shops first became available, Joseph had the confidence to become the first occupant
14 of the key corner and, it is believed. to have established a slaughter house immediately to the rear of the shop. Then in 1873, after
almost fourteen years of marriage, Joseph, the couple's first and only child, was born 15. In around 1885 Samuel retired from the business
and the couple, with their son Joseph, moved to Holly Villa, 1 Rylands Road, Beeston 16. In 1891, Joseph married and moved away
17. Samuel died in April 1896, aged 74, and was buried in Attenborough Churchyard amongst others from the Meads family. His wife followed
in 1899, aged 60 18. In 1894, Joseph married Esther Spencer and they went on to have five daughters over the next ten years
19. Joseph had worked as an iron turner and as a brickyard labourer but, by 1911, everything had started to go wrong in the family. Whilst the
eldest daughter was able to take a job and stay at home, the second eldest became an 'inmate' at Thorp Arch Industrial School in Yorkshire and, in 1910, the other three were placed in the care of the Poor
Law Guardians at the Bagthorpe Workhouse School in Nottingham 20. It was clearly a personal tragedy for all the family members but it also
became a financial tragedy too. When Samuel Meads died in 1896, his estate was not settled immediately and, over the following years, particularly when his widow died, his will became largely outdated. But,
by 1915, for whatever reason, it was decided to settle his estate, then valued at £478, largely in favour of his son Joseph 21. This windfall
did not, however, go unnoticed and the Board of Guardians instituted immediate proceedings to recover £245 11s 3d, being the expenses of maintaining the three daughters in the Workhouse School for 5 years
22. By this time, it seems Joseph and Esther had each gone their own way. Esther died in 1945, probably in Beeston and Joseph died in 1952
in Nottingham 23.
The next occupant of this property was William Thums who, as well as operating a popular butcher's shop, contributed to and influenced life in Beeston in many ways. Born in Beeston in 1855, he was the
eldest of six children of William Tomlinson Thums, a tailor, and his wife Ann (née Day). Sadly, his father died in 1858 when William was 13 and about to start his working life and, in the circumstances,
it is not surprising that he started in the lace trade. But, in 1875, Ann married lace maker Peter Kirkby, a widower, some 22 years older, with three adult children of his own. The Kirkby family were already well-established
and included Frederick Kirkby who taught music and ran a music shop on the High Road as well as Samuel Kirkby who had married Annie Thornhill, the eldest daughter of the well-established and influential
Beeston tailor, William Thornhill. These new connections could not fail to broaden William Thum's horizons and to strengthen his connections. In April 1878, William married Emma Wheatley, born in Beeston in 1855,
the daughter of John and Sarah (née Hazeldine) Wheatley and they set up home on Middle Street West and were to go on to have four children - a son and three daughters. While still in his early-20s, William started
trading as a butcher from the Middle Street address but, in about 1885, no doubt encouraged by the wider family that he now had around him, made the decision to take over from Samuel Meads and move to this High Road
address. It was the beginning of a period of 53 years of successful trading there - but
his contribution to Beeston went much further. His musical abilities enabled him hold the position of conductor of the Beeston Choral Society for many years and to serve as organist for 44 years at the New Connexion
Methodist Chapel on Chapel Street and he was an active member there and in its successor chapel, the United Methodist Church which, by a happy coincidence, stood on Willoughby Street, to the rear of his shop. He was
Secretary to the chapel's Trustees for 42 years. The writer's wider family had good cause to thank him for his wisdom in musical matters when a hugely talented family member was encouraged by him as a young man (click
here to read about this).
In politics, he was a Conservative who served on the Beeston Council for 35 years, up to 1935, was its Chairman on five occasions and chaired
several of its committees over the years. At various times he held the Chairmanship of the local Conservative Association, was President of the Butchers' Association locally and, for 40 years, was treasure of the
Imperial Order of Oddfellows locally. During the Great War he was a member of the Beeston Military Service Tribunal which heard applications for exemption from conscription and proved himself a wide and fair contributor
at its hearings. Emma, his wife died in December 1934 and is buried in Beeston Cemetery. The photograph of William (right) dates from around this time. William continued to work until a week or two before his death, aged 83,
in August 1938. He was buried with his wife in Beeston Cemetery.
After William Thums died, the business was continued at this location by George William Longley. Longley was born in Plumtree, Notts in August 1906, where his father, Herbert Longley, was a farm worker. Tragically for the family,
his mother, Emily Gertrude (née Wilson) died in April 1909, Leaving four children. George, who was then not yet three years old was then brought up by his maternal grandmother and aunts in Nottingham. In 1932 he married
Winifred Ivy Lancaster in the Belper, Derbyshire area in 1932. They moved to Beeston with their daughter and their son was born there in 1940. Around 1960, they retired and moved to live out their retirement in Lincolnshire,
in Trusthorpe near Mablethorpe. George died in May 1984, followed by Winifred in 1991.
By the early 1960s, the butchers shop was operated by A Armitage Ltd and is now (2021) operated by Craig Dawson who continue the tradition of family butchers that has existed on this site for over 150 years.
74 (previously 40) High Road - was occupied, by 1871, as a butchers shop by Edward Foster, who was born in Beeston in 1821. His eldest brother was Robert Foster, who was a partner in the well established
firm of horticultural builders, Foster & Pearson and, as a young man, Edward had begun to follow the same career path as a joiner. In 1848, he married Jane Attenborough, the daughter of William Attenborough, a cattle dealer based in Toton, Notts.
and Hannah his wife. This appears to have prompted a change in career direction as, by 1851, he had set up in business as a butcher on Brown Lane (now Station Road), Beeston. Sadly, in 1855, Jane died, aged only 24. Being left with
their two young children, Hannah Maria who had been born in 1851 and Robert, born in 1854, would not have helped Edward to cope with the pressures of the business. Elizabeth was taken-in by Edward's brother Robert and his wife.,
who had no surviving children of their own, and was eventually to become Robert's main beneficiary. In April 1857 Edward married Hannah Shorthose, the daughter of John Shorthose, an innkeeper in Duffield, Derbyshire and his wife Hannah and,
together, they continued with the Beeston business. Two children were born to them in 1858 and 1859. But by about 1861, it seems that his business pressures had become acute and, in July 1962 he was declared bankrupt and moved to live at
Woolley Moor, near Alfreton, Derbyshire. He was discharged in September 1862 and eventually returned to Beeston. Now, in 1871, he was once more trading as a butcher at this High Road property. Sadly, it did not last long as by 1891 he
and his wife had moved to Loughborough where Edward had found work as a labourer. Hannah died in 1890 and Edward was left living alone, working as a works caretaker. Sadly, we cannot be sure when or where he died.
The next occupants of the property were John Wadsworth, his wife Ellen and their four children, supported by a domestic servant. Wadsworth was a carpenter and joiner so it is unlikely that he was trading from the shop. Although he was
born in Beeston, in 1840, and had previously lived on the High Road with his parents, by the mid-1860 he had moved to London. There he married Ellen Marriott, a native of Hose in Leicester who had earlier lived and worked in Nottingham. Three
daughters were born to the couple while they were in London and their son was born in Beeston after their return in 1878. John died in Nottingham in June 1890 aged 50, apparently having recently moved from Beeston. Ellen continued to live in
Nottingham, apparently in reduced circumstances, until her death in 1917, aged 80.
Thomas Hands, who, with his wife Elizabeth (née Barrowcliffe), was the occupant of this property by about 1880, trading as a pork butcher. It was an important move by a member of a family which was to make a significant contribution to Beeston life for decades
to come. Thomas was born in Sutton Bonington, Notts in about 1838, the eldest of at least four children - three sons and a daughter - born to Ann Hands and, it seems, her long time partner, Samuel Towle. After starting his working life as a potter, by
1871, he had moved to Beeston. It is possible, though we have found no proof, that this move was inspired by Samuel Towle who had been born in Beeston. At first he worked as an agricultural labourer, living on Nether Street, Beeston and took Elizabeth
Barrowcliffe as his housekeeper. Born in Beeston in 1845, she was the daughter of Charlotte Barrowcliffe who had later married coal dealer Joseph Walker who lived and traded nearby on Nether Street. Thomas & Elizabeth married in January 1872. Their
move to what was then 40 High Road followed about 1880. Although they were to have no children they were able to look to Thomas's wider family for support as the business grew. In 1883, Thomas's nephew, the son of brother Samuel, the then 15-year-old George Hands moved
from Sutton Bonington to assist in the business. After 12 years working together, during which the business became firmly established on the High Road, George Hands took over control and Thomas and his wife retired to live at 75 Imperial Road,
Beeston. Thomas died in April 1910, aged 72, and was survived by some 19 years by his widow, Elizabeth, who died in July 1929, aged 84. They are buried together in Beeston Cemetery where a memorial
survives to their memory.
Now that George had taken over the business, it seems he had the confidence to marry, doing so in the same year, 1895. His bride was Emma Elizabeth Watson.
the daughter of Joseph Watson, a daughter of Joseph Watson, a butcher who traded at 1 Willoughby Street, just around the corner, and his late wife, Elizabeth (née Wheatley). Over the next 28 years, with the help of Elizabeth and building on the reputation
that had been established by his uncle, George took the business to even greater heights. Trading next to William Thums, meant that locals found it amusing to be able to say that 'Hands was next to Thums'! But, happily, as they were in different branches of
the butchery trade - one specialising in beef and mutton the other a pork butcher, it seems they were able to survive amicably side-by-side over the years. They both served on the Council - though George was a Liberal whilst William was a Conservative. Both
were active Methodists - though George was a Wesleyan while William preferred the New Connexion (later the United Methodists) but both had a record of service to the community. George's undoubted success, it seems, owed much to the supply network that he was
able to establish, built chiefly on family contacts back in Sutton Bonington - mainly his parents, Samuel & Sarah Ann (née Gilbert) and their family who were farmers and had, by then, adopted the name 'Towle' as their family name. By 1911, Samuel and
his family had moved to Manor Farm at nearby Burton-on-the-Wolds. Leicestershire, probably to meet the demand. It was an excellent arrangement for all concerned. The farm had a steady customer for its product and the Beeston shop could offer an assured supply -
made possibly by the direct rail links from Sutton Bonington to Beeston - of fresh products, including eggs and dairy products as well as its pork and other products. At the height of this, the shop was said to be selling 6,000 eggs and 250 rabbits each week 'in addition to other good things'
and it had developed a reputation for 'Hands specialties' that were being sent to enthusiasts throughout Britain - and sometimes even abroad. The importance of this became even more valued by its customers during the Great War, when such things were often hard
to get for most people but George's supply chain managed to still obtain some. George (shown left) was elected to Beeston Council in 1908 for three years after which his wife became elected in his place and took an interest in child welfare issues, while a councillor and
afterwards as a volunteer at the welfare centre. The couple were also well known and respected for their benevolence in the community. Both George and Emma were active Wesleyan Methodists at Chilwell Road and were also connected with Queens Road Methodist Church.
In 1918, both husband and wife suffered badly from the effects of the 'flu epidemic with George's health being particularly affected such that, in 1923, he decided to retire, moving to live at 'The Hollies' at 45 Middle Street and later that year he suffered a
heart attack. Although he survived that incident, his health remained fragile. Sadly he died, aged only 56, in June 1925. Emma died in July 1937, aged 65. They are buried together in Beeston Cemetery where a memorial
survives to their and their two son's memory. Fredrick, their second son, was born towards the end of 1909 and sadly died in February of the following year. Their elder son, Joseph George Hands, born in 1899, was to make his name in Beeston in a different field before his early death,
age only 40, in 1940. As a young man, he decided that he wished to enter the grocery business and, accordingly, his parents ensured that he received a good grounding in the trade with the well known Nottingham-based firm of J D Marsden Ltd. In 1928 he purchased the long-established grocery
shop at Chilwell Road, Beeston that had been operated there since 1911 by Frederick Osborne Lanes. With his typical enthusiasm he transformed the old-fashioned shop, ensured that it was well-stocked and it opened for business with a flourish that appealed to
customers. He soon went on to add a cafe above the shop that catered for meetings, wedding receptions and similar events. Early in 1939, he married Maggie Boden but sadly he died unexpectedly in May 1940, aged only 40. The cafe - known as 'Hands Cafe' - continued successfully for
many years and many local couples - including the writer and his bride - held their wedding reception there.
The premises were then occupied for a short while by Rose Ann Bittles as a sweet shop but, by 1932, it was occupied by hairdresser, Clifford Henry Stanley (known as 'Cliff') Brown who had traded previously at 87 High Road. He was born in March 1906, the eldest surviving child of Henry
& Harriet (née Priestley) Brown. Henry, who served in both the Boer War and the Great War, worked at Beeston Boiler Company as a fitter and lived with his family at 37 Station Road, Beeston before moving to 28 Stoney Street. Cliff married Mabel Warner in April 1931, at Beeston Parish
Church. He is believed to have retired during the 1960s and later moved to live out his life at Jassamine Court on Middle Street, Beeston. He died in April 1974.
Nowadays the shop is combined with the one next door at no. 76 and has been a charity shop but, at the time of writing (March 2012) it is vacant
76 (previously 42) - there is some evidence that this property was first occupied by the tobacconist and smallware dealer, Jeffery Etches, soon after it was built in about 1863/4 although this could not have been for long as he died in February 1869 and, by 1868, it is known that
Henry Cross which is known to have been trading there as a baker. The property is then described as having a bakehouse to the rear and frontage to Willoughby Street as well as to High Road. Cross was
born in Beeston in 1801, the eldest child of Henry and Elizabeth (née Spray) Cross. Although Henry was baptised at Beeston Parish Church, it is clear that his parents joined the local Baptist chapel soon afterwards and settled on Villa Street, Beeston, amongst a community that was
predominantly Baptist. This area, as we saw when we looked at the lace trade locally, was then the centre of a lace making frenzy that went from boom to bust in the 1820s and both father and son were part of that. In fact, at its peak, they were operating six machines and, when the decline became
only too evident in 1829. Henry senior was a signatory to the Restriction of Hours Deed. In 1824, Henry junior had married Maria Bush and two daughters were born to the couple - Maria in c1827 and Millicent Elizabeth in c1836 - before Maria's early death. Henry junior now faced the difficulties of
a young family to care for and a decline in his ability to make a living for himself and his family. Whilst he could turn to his parents for help with the children, it became necessary to move to Leicester to find work in the lace trade. In March 1838, he married Matilda Hinchcliffe in Sutton
Bonington, Leicestershire and, towards the end of 1839, their daughter Emma was born in Leicester. Further sadness, however, was not far behind when Matilda died in 1841, aged only 32. For Henry junior, Beeston probably seemed the place to be once more. In fact, much had changed. His father had
established himself in the bakery trade, which continued until his death in 1840, aged 60. Two of Henry junior's sisters, Millicent and Rebecca had married sons of George Frettingham. the prominent Beeston Baptist and market gardener. And, the lace trade was reaching a new height. By 1851, Henry had
returned to live on Villa Street, Beeston, working as a lace maker again but, by 1861, he was a 'flower seller', presumably for the Frettinghams, and living on the High Road. Given this background, opening a bakers shop in around 1868 when approaching the age of 70, appears to have been
a risky move - though, given his father's known venture in the trade towards the end of his life, it seems possible that both had worked as bakers before their venture into lace making in the 1820s. His eldest daughter Maria had stayed with him though all his moves and did so again in this
new venture. He also employed a boy as a servant, presumably assisting and learning the trade. In the event, the venture was to last only about five years as he died towards the end of 1873, aged 72.
By 1880, the property was occupied by William Harding Smith, his wife Kate and their then two children. William was the first of three occupants who traded there as tobacconists over the next twenty years or so - followed by another who was able to combine the tobacco business with another. William was born in Arnold,
Notts in 1854, the second child, eldest son, of William and Elizabeth (née Harding) Smith who, at that time was trading on Front Street, Arnold as a draper and hosier. The senior William was born in Brentford, Middlesex to Rev James Smith, a Baptist Minister who was to become of particular note for his later work
in Cheltenham. He, alongside his wife Ann, made sure that his family had a good start in life, such that William appears to have attended the Emanuel Hospital, a school in Westminster and was carefully placed as an apprentice, and later assistant, to John Hardy, a draper and silk mercer on Long Row in Nottingham. In 1852
he married Elizabeth Harding (b, c1827 Leicester) and, together, they managed to establish the business in Arnold. They appear to have thrived as, by 1863, they had moved to 7 Market Place, Ilkeston, Derbyshire where William operated a sizeable draper's shop which, at its height was employing two tailoresses, a shop assistant
and an apprentice as well as domestic assistance. He became well established in the community being elected on the Local Board several times and his radical political position led him to become active in - and President of - Ilkeston Early Closing Association, part of a national campaign to legislate for a half-day
closing of shops. Their son, William Harding Smith learnt the trade after leaving school and was working in his father's shop in the early 1870s when he met Kate Potts, the daughter of Richard Smith Potts who was a sub-postmaster and druggist nearby in Ilkeston at 64 South Street. They
married in September 1875 and a few years later they had decided to branch out on their own, opening as a tobacconist shop at this Beeston address. But, for whatever reason, perhaps this was not the best location for a tobacconist or perhaps there was too much competition, William gave up trading here after little
more then five years. It was around that time, in February 1888, that his father died suddenly and unexpectedly from an internal hemorrhage, aged 61. Perhaps it would have been usual for William, his eldest son, already experienced in the drapery trade, to take over but, in the event the drapery business was
continued by Albert Edward Smith, the third son - Arthur Henry, the second son, having become a Primitive Methodist Minister - and William opted to take a position as a commercial traveler and move back, with his family, to live in Ilkeston. Within ten years he was again working for himself as an accountant
and employing others. He died in March 1911 at the relatively young age of 56.
The next occupants were John & Sarah (née Clements) Mettam. John was born in Hucknall, Notts in 1862, the likely son of Ann Mettam, the daughter of William & Mary (née Truman) Mettam. By the time of John's birth, William, his grandfather, was a widower, his wife Mary having died in 1845. When John was aged
about two, his mother married and moved away which meant that he was brought up by his grandfather at his home at Mettams Yard, off the High Street in Hucknall from where William had traded as a stone mason for many years. The situation was helped greatly when Elizabeth, William's youngest daughter, married John
Heath, a wheelwright, and she and her husband - and a growing family - returned to take charge of William's household. In due course too, it meant that John became apprenticed to his uncle to learn the wheelwright trade. Later, his skills brought him to Beeston where he was able to broaden them out to become a general
joinery, a move that was provide him with a living for the remainder of his life. It was at Beeston that he met and marred Sarah Clements, a local girl who was then living on Chilwell Road, Beeston with her parents, lace maker George Clements and his wife Elizabeth (née Jowett). After their marriage at Beeston Parish
Church in May 1885, they appear to have made their home at this address immediately after the wedding. John continued to work as a joiner with his wife looking after the shop, an arrangement that must have become more difficult to manage following the arrival of Nellie, their first child, in the following year. Nevertheless,
they were able to continue until 1892, when they apparently decided that their future lay in another direction, perhaps one that made a more normal family life possible. By that time, the nearby town of Long Eaton was offering employment opportunities at the railway works there as well as the lace industry. It was also
the base for the notorious Ernest Terah Hooley who, amongst many other business activities, was then involved in buying and selling companies, notably, around that time, a string of companies in the cycle industry including, locally, the Humber Company. One of these companies was Trent Cycle Company where John found work in
Long Eaton as a joiner. After a short while, he joined John Bull, the Long Eaton builder and stayed with him and his successor, Joseph Jervis. until his retirement in 1930. In 1893, he was able to build a house for his family at 15 Clumber Street, Long Eaton which they named 'Victoria Cottage'. There, four more children were
born between 1893 and 1899. There too, John was able to develop his lifelong hobby of pigeon and poultry fancying. John and Sarah celebrated their Golden Wedding in May 1935, just months before John's death in November of that year, aged 73. His widow died in December 1938, aged 75.
The third of the occupants who traded here solely as tobacconists were Harry & Eliza (née Oldham) Grocock. In many ways, their expectations were similar to the Mettams in that appears that Harry continued with his regular job while his wife looked after the shop. Harry was born in 1869 in Basford, Notts, the son of labourer
William Grocock and his wife Martha (née Rice). Eliza, his wife was born in Beeston in 1872, the sixth of ten surviving children of William Oldham, a fitter and his wife Maria (née Mitchell, each of whom were Beeston-born. By the time of their marriage at Beeston Parish Church in March 1892 and their moving in to the
property, Harry was established in his job as a lace maker and continued in that occupation while Eliza minded the shop, a role that must have been increasingly difficult when their first three children arrived between 1893 and 1902, when they gave up the shop and moved to live in New Sawley, Derbyshire. By 1911, he was operating
there as a self-employed lace manufacturer and employing others. Sadly, this venture was not a success, such that, by 1913, they had lost their house at 1 Lime Grove, New Sawley when the mortgagee foreclosed and he was unable to pay the expenses of improving the street. They were to live out their lives in the Long Eaton area
finding whatever work they could - for instance, in 1939 they were living at 1 Berkely Avenue, Long Eaton with Harry working as a window cleaner. Both lived to a good age with Harry dying in 1950, aged 80 followed, in 1955, by Eliza, aged 83.
After this relatively quick turnover of three tobacconist occupants, 1902 saw a significant change when Albert James Renshaw and his wife Emily (née Pidduck) moved in and Albert began trading there as a watchmaker and as a tobacconist. Albert was born in Radford, Nottingham in 1854, a son of lace maker Mordicai Renshaw and his wife
Charlotte (née Lineker). Although we are unsure of the circumstances, somehow he must have learned the watch making trade and moved to Beeston by the time of his marriage to Emily in May 1890. The circumstances of Emily's arrival in Beeston is also unclear although, as she was working as a domestic servant in Dudley, Staffordshire in 1881,
it may be that she had, in the meantime, taken a similar position in Beeston. At first the couple lived at 56 Chilwell Road, Beeston from where Albert carried out his trade and also worked as a postman. By 1894, they had moved to live and work at 48 (now 82) High Road but moved three doors to the west to this property when it
became available after the departure of Harry Grocock and his family. The couple had no children of their own but were to bring up Emily's niece, Gertrude Mary Greenaway and possibly took in other children over the years. Albert continued to trade until about 1932 when he and his wife moved to live at a recently built
Council house at 19 Anderson Crescent, Beeston. Albert died in August 1934 and is buried in Beeston Cemetery. Gertrude Greenaway who, in 1915, had obtained a job as a typist with the Post Office in Nottingham had, in 1919, married Leonard Fowler who worked as a mechanic at the Post Office. By the 1930s, Leonard had been promoted to
the position of Inspector in the Post Office Engineering Department in Peterborough and the couple had moved there. Now widowed and incapacitated, it was Emily who needed support and care and, accordingly she moved to live with Gertrude and Leonard in Peterborough until her death there in 1943, aged 83.
The next occupant was already well established as a greengrocer and fruiterer, albeit in a slightly out of the way location, and was now to become even more so in this much more central location. Oscar Hallam was born in Beeston in November 1888, the third of five children of James & Mary (née Wright). James had started trading as a grocer
around the time of his marriage to Mary, from their home address at 96 Upper Regent Street, Beeston. By 1901, he was trading in fruit and vegetables from the same address, assisted in due course by their four sons, including Oscar. By 1911, he had moved, along with the business, to 1 Willoughby Street but, by then Oscar had started trading on his own
account at 44 City Road, Beeston. In January 1912, Oscar married Lily Watts, the daughter of Arthur, a hosiery worker, and his wife Sarah Ann (née Knowles) at Beeston Parish Church. The Watts family lived at 14 City Road and had therefor been the Hallams' near neighbours on City Road. Up to their marriage, Lily had worked as a french
polisher at Ericssons Telephone Works but now joined Oscar in developing the business which, throughout the war years and the 1920s, continued to be based at their home at 44 City Road where they did well despite its less-that-central location. James, Oscar's father, died in November 1918, aged only 53.
Did the greengrocer Hallams have family connections? - I am often asked this question, particularly in regard to Fred and Oscar. The answer is yes - they shared a paternal grandfather and Fred was Oscar's half uncle. This grandfather was John Hallam who was born in Stapleford, Notts in 1834 and married Mary Ann Smitham there in 1857.
One of their sons was James Hallam, born in 1865, who became the father of Oscar. After Mary Ann died in 1866 John moved, first to Long Eaton and then to Beeston where he began to sell fish, first as a 'hawker' and then, after he married Sarah Ann Lees in 1882, from premises on Middle Street, Beeston, and possibly later on Queens Road. Fred
was born to the couple in 1888. Several of John's descendants went on to prosper in the fish, fruit and vegetable business - including, notably, Fred, whose own descendants have continued to serve their customers on Beeston High Road to this day, and Oscar, whose story is set out here. But there were others too, even including the author's
grandfather, Charles Hallam, who was another son of John & Mary and, for a year or two, traded as a greengrocer from premises on Queens Road. And even the author's father tried his hand at selling fish from a van for a short period in 1931 and was very disappointed when he wasn't able to make it work.|
There is a belief that, while there is no doubting the sincerity of those who were members of the Gospel Mission on Willoughby Street, it also provided a focus for many of those in the greengrocery trade in Beeston. What is certainly the case is that the connections were there. At least two of James & Mary Hallam's children were baptised there and two
grandchildren were too. Charles Hallam and his wife Sarah were very active members at the Mission and took a prominent part in the laying of the foundation stones in June 1912. Sarah presented one of the trowels and Charles placed the sealed bottle, containing a number of mementos of the time, beneath one of the foundation stones. Later, as a
widower, Charles lived out his final days in one of the mission cottages on Willoughby Street. Many of the Paling family members were prominent members. George Paling who, as we will see in our 'journey' along the High Road, was very succesful in the greengrocery trade, was a founder member of the Mission. The Emmonds family were also members and some,
like me, will remember Fred Emmonds who traded vegetables and groceries from his horse-drawn cart, around Beeston, up to the 1950s and also became President of the Beeston Sunday School Union. Whether this coming together led to mutual encouragement or support can only be speculated upon.
Undoubtedly, Oscar's big break came in about 1932 when the property at 76 High Road became available and he was able to open his business there while continuing to live at City Road. As we have seen, the shop had recently been vacated by the watchmaker Albert Renshaw and he left behind a feature that Oscar was to make full use of - the large clock
over the door was used in all his advertising, along with his strapline - "By the clock you know our shop" (see right) - which was repeated on all his carrier bags and soon picked up by Beeston shoppers. With his 'larger than life' personality and a well-positioned shop, coupled with this excellent slogan meant that he was able to prosper.
He and his wife retired in about 1960, to live out their lives at 47 Broadgate, Beeston. Oscar died in December 1972, aged 84, leaving a sizeable estate, followed by Lily in December 1974, aged 84. They are buried in Beeston Cemetery, together with their son Arthur James who died as an infant in 1914 and their daughter Lily who died in 1967, having
never married, aged 52. Eric, their other son, born in May 1920, passed away in January 2018, aged 97.
The shop then continued as a greengrocery and fruiterers, operated as 'Jackson & Slade' although nothing is currently known of those involved. At the time of writing (2021), the property, along with the adjoining number 4, is vacant having previously been occupied as a charity shop
Next, towards the west, was a block of five units, now numbered 78 to 86 (44 - 52 before the renumbering in 1908), which differs from the block of three already described, as they have just one floor above the ground. This feature, along with the clear evidence from early occupancy, appears to show that they were built for residential use, in the
the late 1860s, the same era as the corner block already described. The story of the occupants of each of the properties, both early residential and later retail businesses, follows:
78 (previously 44) - for the first 30 or more years. this property was purely residential, the home of a number of occupants who made their living in various occupations, elsewhere in the town. Those known to have lived ther during this period include:
- by 1871, the property was occupied by William Mellors (sometimes 'Mellows'), his wife Ann and their two sons. William, born in Beeston in 1835, worked as a bricklayer, part of a family, including his grandfather, father, three brothers, which had a tradition of working in that trade. They later moved to live around the corner
on Willoughby Street, before William's death in September 1885, aged only 51. He was buried in Beeston Parish Churchyard where his memorial survives
The next occupants of this property were the first to open a shop there. Edward Martin was born in Hoveringham, Notts in 1854. the son of Thomas Martin, a cotton hose maker, and his wife ann (née Brewitt). In 1877, he married Louisa Smith and they settled in Beeston where Edward set up in business as a hairdresser at 52 High Road, four doors away from
the current property. Four children, two girls and two boys, were born to the couple in the years up to 1889. But sadly, early in 1898, Louisa died, aged only 45. Within a year, however, Thomas had met and married Ann Turner, originaly from Cumberland, who had been working on City Road as a domestic servant to a widowed lady. The lady, Jane Everett, died in
February 1896 and it seems very probable that was the time that Ann Turner started her business as a confectioner on her own account, at 44 High Road, possibly with some financial help from the Everett family. Whether or not this is the case, what is certain is that by 1891 she was living and trading at the shop and that she and her husband Edward, along with his
children were living there with her as a family. In the process, Edward had given up his hairdressing business and was now working as a cycle hand, presumably at the Humber Company. Sadly, this was not to last long as it appears that, by 1904, they had left the shop and at some point - it has not been possible to prove where or when - Edward died as, by 1911,
Ann was living alone as a widow at 30 Union Street, Beeston and working as a debt collector for a local doctor.
- by 1881, Henri Maxfield, his wife Emily (née Gadsby) and their daughter Ada, were living there with Henri working as a lacemaker. Henri had been born in Paris, France to lace draughtsman Joseph and Alice (née Harvey. They had left Nottingham for France in about 1857, part of a tradition of those in the lace trading taking their skills there
which had started in the early 1800s. The family, which included three children born in Paris, returned to Nottingham around 1870 and Henri joined his father in the lace trade. By 1878, Henri and Emily had married and their daughter Ada Florence was born shortly afterwards. By October 1882, they had decided to move to America to seek work in the trade.
They arrived in New York in October 1882 and settled first in Delaware County, New York where Henri found work as a silk weaver and two more children were born to the couple. They later moved to Pennsylvania where Henri worked as a lace maker before
taking a job as superintendant of a silk mill in Newton, Sussex County, New Jersey.
- by 1891, it was the home of Arthur Selby, his wife Emma (née Wheatley) and six of their eight children. Arthur, born in Beeston in 1856. worked as a plumber. He died in Basford Hospital in 1915, aged 59.
By 1904, the property was occupied by Frank (sometimes known as Francis) Charles Blake, his wife Mary Ann (née Freshney) and their family. Frank was a musician so it is likely that it was Mary Ann who ran the confectionery shop. They had married in Nottingham in 1899 when he was 40 and she was 25 and two sons had been born by the time of their move to
Beeston. Two daughters were born while they were in Beeston, in 1905 and 1906 respectively and, by 1908, they had moved back to Nottingham where Frank continued with his musical career for the rest of his working life.
The next occupants, William Cryer and his wife Fanny (née West), both born in Sheffield - in 1857 and 1859 respectively - were married there in 1879. By 1881, William's parents - George and Ann Pryer - and the remainder of their family had moved to live on Dennison Street, Beeston and George had found work in the cycle trade. This appears to have prompted
William and Fanny to follow them and, by 1891, they were living at 23 Lower Regent Street, Beeston with William working in the cycle trade - presumably Humbers. By 1901 they had moved to 12 Mona Street, Beeston and William continued to work in the cycle trade and it was probably Humber's sudden move to Coventry in 1908 that prompted them to make the move to operate
the confectionery shop, a decision that was possibly easier as they had no children. They were to continue with the shop until about 1921 when Fanny died and William returned to Sheffield to live with other family members. He died in 1923.
In 1925, there is a record of a "Mrs Edith Clarke" trading at this location as a confectioner. Other than the possibility that she may have been the wife if the boot repairer, Samuel Clarke who lived nearby on Willoughby Street, it has not been possible to identify her.
By 1930, the premises were occupied by Charles James Storey and his wife Fanny (née Hunt). Charles was born in Radford, Nottingham in 1890, the son of James Storey and Eliza (née Smith) and Fanny was born in December 1892. They were married in Radford in December 1912 and settled in Beeston at 45 Fletcher Road with Charles working as a carpenter. In 1916,
he enlisted in the Army and served with the Labour Corps until his release back to life in Beeston with the family in January 1919 The couple had at least five children between 1913 and 1921. It is not clear why they made the decision to take the shop, perhaps it had been a long time ambition, but it seems clear that their time there amounted to just a few years and,
at least by 1937, the couple had moved to live at 18 The Nook, Chilwell and Charles had found work in his trade on the Boots site which was then under construction. Tragically, in April 1937, he fell from a height from a building he was working on and sadly died in the ambulance on the way to hospital, aged only 47. Fanny lived in for a further 32 years and died in
Nottingham in 1969, aged 76.
The sweet shop was then taken over by Rose Smith. We know that in 1939 she was living there - and trading as a confectionery and tobacconist shop - and that she was then a widow, born in September 1878. She appears to have remained there until about 1952 - when the shop was called 'The Candy Box' - but, at the moment, we know nothing more of her life other that she
was perhaps assisted by a William Smith. We hope to be able add more in the future.
Similarly, little is recalled of the history of this address in the years since although we do know that it was refitted in the early 1960s.
As I write (2021) the shop is operating as 'Linen Box', offering soft furnishing, curtains, blinds and an upholstery service.
80 (previously 46) - this property was also purely residential in its early days - in this case, it seems that it was not until about 1913 that it opened as a shop. In this period of 45-or-so years, we can identify the following residential tenants:
- by 1871, it was occupied by John Stafford and his wife Mary (née Fletcher). John, the son of John and Sarah (née Smith), had been born in Arnold, Notts in 1803 but came to Beeston as a young man and married Beeston-born Mary, the daughter of John and Mary (née Martin) in April 1828 at the Parish Church. He had worked as a framework knitter all
his working life and they had lived in the High Road - in its then present form and when it was the Turnpike - for the whole of their married life so far. Remarkably, at some point in the next ten years, they moved to Stoney Street, Beeston and opened a small shop there. This however, did not last long but he did continue to work as a knitter into his nineties and up his
death in1897, aged 94. His wife predeceased him, dying in 1892, aged 88.
82 (previously 48) - as we shown for other properties in this block, in appears that it was a long time, perhaps not before the 1950s when this address moved away from purely residential use. Our survey of the occupants over the years reflect this:
- by 1881, Edward Throssell, his wife Maggie (née Tyler) and their then family of two children - which later grew to five - were living here. Edward was born in Little Stukeley, Huntingdonshire in 1855, the son of Thomas Throssell, a farmer of 60 acres and publican, and his wife Priscilla (née Garner). At first, Thomas helped his father on the farmer but soon took
the opportunity to join the Midland Railway and transfers and promotion brought him to Nottingham where, in 1876, he married Maggie, who was born in Wymeswold, Notts in about 1855. They settled in Beeston where Edward first worked as a shunter, where each of their five children were born and where they remained for the rest of their lives.
The family was still living at this address in 1891 but, by 1901,they had moved to live on Queens Road, Beeston, which was particularly convenient for Edward's then position as railway goods foreman. They were still living there in 1911, by which time Edward had risen to the position of railway sidings foreman. Sadly, he died towards the end of the following year, aged only 57.
Maggie continued to live at their Queens Road home up to her death in 1936, aged 81.
- by 1901, Owen Elliott, his wife Rebecca Jane (née Buxton), known as Jane, and their first daughter were at this address and two more daughters were born to the couple over the next six years. Owen was born in July 1871 in Beeston, the son of George and Lucy (née Grossmith) Elliott. At first he had worked as a lace dresser but by the time he met and married Rebecca Jane in May 1898,
he was working as a self-employed house painter. Jane was born in Bradmore, Notts in 1875, the daughter of Thomas Buxton, a framework knitter. By 1911, the family had moved to live at 6 Stoney Street, Beeston and, when war came in August 1914, Owen was quick to enlist, even though older men with families were not under pressure to join at that stage. After training, he arrived in
France in March 1915, as a Sapper with the Royal Monmouthshire Royal Engineers and was involved immediately in the Battle of Neuve Chapell. At some point he received bullet and shrapnel injuries and was returned to England in May 1915. He was discharged as no longer physically fit for war service in January 1916. Later, Owen and his wife moved to live at 32 Montague Street,
Beeston. Jane died in August 1956, aged 81, followed by Owen in September 1985, aged 94. They are buried together in Beeston Cemetery.
- by 1911, the property was occupied by Melissa Manssuer, a retired, unmarried domestic cook, born in Kings Lynn, Norfolk in 1838, the daughter of William and Melissa (née Cole) Manssuer. It is not known when she left Beeston - or, indeed, why she was here as no other connection has been found - but she died in Biggleswade, Bedfordshire, Bedfordshire in 1917, aged 79.
By 1920 we see the first commercial use of the premises when the Nottingham estate agency firm of Charles W Long opened a branch office here. It is likely, however, that the floor above the shop continued to be let for residential use. Charles William Long was born in Chichester, Sussex in August 1862, the eldest son of master tailor William Long and his wife Ann Elizabeth (née
Fowler). He came to Nottingham, as a young man, to take up a position with the solicitors Warren & Allen of Weekday Cross and became a solicitor's clerk. In 1889, he married Marie Green (b. Lincoln, c1860) and they first made their home at 173 Sherwood Street, Nottingham where, in 1890, the first of their three daughters was born. By 1901, they had moved to live at 32 Radcliffe Road, West Bridgford
where they were to live for the remainder of their lives. By 1910, Charles had set up as a land agent and valuer with offices at Oriel Chambers, Greyhound Street, Nottingham and this was to develop, as the advertisement ((Left) shows, to include an estate agency, rent collection and the sale of insurance and with the Beeston branch as well as its main office in Nottingham. Charles
died at his West Bridgford home in August 1943, aged 81 followed by Marie in 1946, aged 87.
By 1941, the shop had been taken over by the firm of VH & DC Anderson, formed by Victor Hugo and Donald Chambers Anderson, two of the sons of John Roger Anderson, who died in 1941. It traded as a property management company, focused on the large family portfolio much of which was in Beeston.
Again, little is known about the occupants of the shop in the post-war period. It is known that it was trading as 'Elizabeths', possibly as a cake shop.
Presently (in 2021) it is empty and seeking a new tenant.
- was occupied, by 1871, by widower William Siddals and his widowed daughter, Annie Philips. Born in about 1803 in Weston on Trent in Derbyshire, William was then close to the end of his life but working as a fishmonger which, as was often the case at that time, was probably a form of street trading rather than from a fixed shop. Indeed, ten years earlier he had been similarly
employed while boarding at the Malt Shovel Inn, just off the High Road on Union Street. The many variations of his name that he used over the years makes tracking his earlier life difficult but it appears likely that he married Hannah Moore in May 1825 in Attenborough, Notts and then lived in the Stapleford/Bramcote area in the early years of their marriage and the time of his wife's probably early death. During those years, two
daughters are known to have been born there, Annie in about 1829 and Hannah in about 1830. All three, father and two daughters, appear to have challenging lives, surviving by mutual help at critical times. By 1851, Annie had married Joseph Philips, a musician, and they were lodging with her sister Hannah in Newton, Lancashire. Hannah had a daughter, born in 1851 and had been eking out a living as a straw bonnet
maker although her circumstances would have changed considerably when she married Abraham Bosamworth Nelson. a widower with a young daughter, in 1857, probably in Beeston. Born in Hyson Green, Nottingham in 1828, Abraham had recently arrived in Beeston and had started work as a tailor. By 1861, they had two children of their own and were living on the High Road, adjacent to Thornhills' tailors shop and workshop. Sadly,
both sisters' husbands died after a relatively short marriage, Abraham in 1861 and Joseph by 1871. William died in 1872, probably in Beeston, aged about 69, and it seems likely that his daughters continued to support each other, to the best of their abilities, for the remainder of their lives.
84 (previously 50) - In the event, this property was one of the first in this block to become a fully retail shop, although this was not the case in its earliest days:
The next known occupants were Robert James Jarrett with his wife Eliza (née Turrell) with their baby daughter, Frances Maud, and Eliza's sister Sarah, all with the assistance of a young local girl as domestic servant. Robert, the son of James Jarrett, a brewer, and Susannah (née Pope), was born in Wisbeach, Cambridgeshire in 1854, Eliza, the daughter of Thomas Turrell, a chandler, and Hannah (née Sephton),
was born in Longford, Warwickshire in 1854. How they met is unclear and their reason for marrying - in 1878 - in the Whitehaven District of Cumberland is equally difficult to understand. Neither was there any obvious reason for their decision to settle in Beeston, where this property appears to have been their first home and where their first child was born and with Robert working as a tinsmith. Within ten years, during
which their son, Ernest Edward, and a further daughter, May Elizabeth, were born, the family moved to live in Lower Regent Street. There, Robert had found work as a letter carrier - that is, a postman - a good steady job which, on the face of it, provided a firm basis for the family's future. Sadly, a combination of poor judgement, tragedy and bad luck was to impact badly on their life. In August 1894 came a major
disaster when Robert was charged with stealing two pieces of mail including postal orders valued at eight shillings (40p in today's money) in total. At his trial in December, he pleaded guilty and was sentenced to three months imprisonment with hard labour. Having lost his job, he reverted to his old trade as a tinsmith but other tragedies were building. On their census return in 1901, a note alongside Eliza's entry
stating that Eliza had recently become blind which meant inevitably that many of the household responsibilities would fall on the other family members. In 1905, May Elizabeth, the youngest daughter, married James Samuel Hazlewood and, most tragically, by 1911 Robert left the family and went to live in Nottingham. By 1911, Eliza is recorded as 'Totally Blind' since the age of 46 - i.e. since about 1900. She continued to
live on Lower Regent Street with Florence, her elder daughter who worked as a blouse machinist, and Ernest, her son who worked as a lace threader. When war came in 1914, life would have become even worse for the family, particularly when Ernest was conscripted and joined the Northumberland Fusiliers in April 1916 for training and, in due course, was sent to the Front in France with the Yorkshire Regiment. After involvement
at Passchendale and other operations his unit was part of the forces that faced the German Spring Offensive when there were severe casualties. Private Jarratt was seriously injured at that time and, although he was transferred back to England, sadly he died of his wounds in a Military Hospital on 1 May 1818. He is buried in Beeston Cemetery where his War Grave memorial survives (click here
for more details). After the war, May & James Hazlewood, moved to live at 24 Lower Regent Street (later 213 Regent Street), where they cared for Eliza and brought up their own family of five. Eliza died there in June 1939, aged 85. Florence remained single and appears to have lived alone in Nottingham, working as a dressmaker, up to her death there in 1961. It appears that Robert stayed in Nottingham where he died in 1934,
For a short while, around 1891, the property was occupied by George Bailey and his wife Elizabeth Ann (née Weatharall, previously Hextall). George was born in Nottingham in about 1844, the son of Joseph and Mary Bailey. For all of his working life, he was a fitter and, while his parents were alive, he lived with them in their home on Island Street, Nottingham, both as a single man and, after his marriage in 1865,
together with his wife and, for a time, his wife's son by a previous relationship. They were to have no children of their own. While in Beeston, George worked as a cycle maker but the time there was short. By 1894, they had moved to Loughborough in Leicestershire where George had taken a job as steam engine foreman fitter.
By 1904, the property was occupied by watchmaker and postman Albert James Renshaw and his wife Emily. At this point, it is likely that his watch making activity did not involve a shop-front. But, as we have seen, by 1902, they had moved to live and trade, with a shop front, three doors away at number 42 (now 76) High Road where their subsequent life has already been described.
By 1908, widower Charles Truman had moved to this address from number 92 (previously 58) and, by 1911, his stepdaughter Louisa Burbage was living with him. Born in Chuckwalla in about 1838, he had worked as a joiner for all of his working life, much of the time in Nottingham. In 1876 he married Louisa Burbage (née Harris), a widow with two daughters. Sadly, she died in 1882, aged only 34. By 1901, he had moved to Beeston and
died in 1912, aged 74.
For a brief period in or around 1913, this property appears to have been occupied by Thomas Wortley Bradshaw and his family - though, as we shall see, the only clue we now have is a series of his advertisements in the local paper. Although born in Nottingham in 1884, Thomas had earlier connections to Beeston through his grandfather, James Bradshaw who was born there in 1832, the son of Edward Bradshaw who kept the Royal Oak beerhouse and worked as a tailor
there. Thomas worked in the lace trade as a warper and, by the time of his marriage to Lucy Annie Bust at Beeston Parish Church in August 1909, he had taken a job in one of the mills in Beeston. The first of their three children - all daughters - was born in May 1910 and the second in February 1913. With the responsibilities of this young family, it was perhaps remarkable that, by the second half of 1913, it appears from the advertisement on the
right, that he had set up in business selling gramophones and records at this address in Beeston while, as can be seen from the photograph of this block of properties (above left) from around that date, retaining the residential character of the premises. Although flat disk records had been invented several decades earlier, they had struggled in the market against Edison's well-established wax cylinder recordings. However, in the first
decade of the 20th century, technical improvements began to give disk records the edge and
they began to eclipse cylinders in appeal. In 1912, 78rpm began to be adopted as the standard speed and this went on to become the standard until the 1950s when 33⅕ and 45rpm became established. It seems, on the face of it, that Thomas had timed his entry into retail sales well - and with the right product which he targeted at the Christmas season. For about four months up to Christmas 1913, this advertisement appeared in the Beeston Gazette
and Echo - but never appears again. Sadly, it seems, it was not a product that Beeston was ready for and Thomas returned to the lace trade. Of course, the events of the next year - 1914, when war came - would have changed priorities anyway. By April 1916. Thomas and his family had moved to live at 73 City Road, Beeston and he was working for William Brecknock at Anglo Scotian Mills when his employer appealed to the Beeston Tribunal for his exemption from
conscription. Although temporary exemption was granted it appears that he had left Brecknock for Mr John Perry at the Humber Works by the time of his subsequent conscription. By February 1918 he was serving with a Labour Company in France. During the inter-war period, he and his family moved to a council house at 280 Wollaton Road, opposite Beeston Cemetery and had moved to 4 Redwood Crescent Beeston by 1952. Thomas died in November 1959, aged 75,
followed by his wife in February 1964, aged 76.
Although it is unclear who occupied this property in the years of the Great War, it is known that, by 1921, the occupants were Arthur Willbond and his wife Louisa Ann (née Greaves). Arthur, the son Joseph and Harriett Willbond. was born in Radford, Nottingham in 1865 and was sheet metal worker for all of his working life. He and his wife Louisa married in 1889 and, soon after, set up home on Cecil Street, Lenton, Notts and are known to
have been there in 1916. Although the reason for their move to Beeston is not known, it is likely to reflect a change in Arthur's employment. Following his parent's deaths, his unmarried sister Elizabeth moved to live with them at Beeston but her life was to end tragically in January 1932 when she took her own life. aged 72, by drowning in the River Trent. My the time of Louisa's death in August 1936, aged 70, the couple had moved back to live
in Cecil Street, Lenton, where Arthur was living alone in 1939. He died in 1941, aged 76.
Shortly after their marriage in Melton Mowbrey, Leicestershire in 1934, Stanley and Hilda Irene (née Spencer) Barksby moved into 82 High Road and were to remain there until the early 1950s, the last time the property was in purely residential use. Stanley was born in Melton Mowbrey in April 1909, the second youngest of twelve children born to William Barksby, an iron moulder, and his wife Mary Ann (née Elliott). Hilda Irene was born
in Irthingborough, Northamptonshire in July 1908, the youngest of five surviving children of Herbert James Spencer, an ironstone labourer, and his wife Sarah Annie (née Stapleton). Although neither Stanley or Hilda appear to have had previous Beeston connections, it seems they had moved here so that he could take up a job as a costing clerk and it was to remain their home for the remainder of their lives. In May 1935, their only child, Eileen
Stella was born. Their move away from the property in the mid-1950s, to live at 7 Derby Street, Beeston, marked a change of use of the property which will be discussed below. After Irene died in Beeston in 1982, Stanley moved to live out his life at The Hassocks, a nursing home on Queens Road, Beeston. He died in September 1989, aged 80.
So it was, in the mid-1950s that the 82 High Street was converted to retail use by its amalgamation with 84 High Road and the opening of the two shops as one as 'Georgettes' More about this will be told when we explore the story of number 84.
In 2016, 82-84 High Road opened as Rudyards Tea House. serving specialty loose leaf teas, coffee, cakes and sandwiches.
In 1871, the property was occupied as a residence only by William Evans, his wife Elizabeth and two children. William, born in Belper, Derbyshire was a nail maker, not an established trade in Beeston. It appears that they did not stay long and that little or nothing can be found about them.
86 (previously 52) - the earliest identified occupants of this property were Edward & Louisa Martin and their family. As we described when we looked at what was then number 44, four doors away, Edward was trading at number 52 as a men's hairdresser by 1881 until about 1894. The subsequent occupants can be traced as follows:
The next occupants, Thomas Sibley and his wife Ann (née Hood), were to stay much longer than the previos occupants and their wider family were to make their continuing mark in Beeston. Thomas was born in Highgate, London in about 1825, the son of Nathaniel Sibley. In 1847, in Etwall Derbyshire, he married Elizabeth Newbold, born in Belper, Derbyshire in about 1824, the daughter of William and Elizabeth Newbold. The couple set up home in Watford, Hertfordshire where Thomas
either worked or had set up in business as a haberdasher on the High Street. Their son Charles was born in the Hoxton area of London in 1854 but, sadly, Elizabeth died then or soon afterwards. Thomas and his young son then moved to live with members of the Sibley family on the High Street in Highgate where he worked (or traded) as a tailor and clothier. Happily, within a few years Thomas had met Ann Hood and they married in 1867. Ann had been born in
Cambridge in 1842, part of the family of the daughter of carpenter John Hood and his wife Frances (née Pratt), often known as Fanny, who had moved to the capital from Cambridge some years earlier. What is not understood is why Thomas and Ann married in the Burton-upon-Trent, Staffordshire area - though the advertisement (Shown right) which appeared regularly in the Burton Chronicle between 1864 and 1866 gives a good idea when he was doing there.
Nor do we know why they then settled, with Thomas's son Charles, in the Sneinton area of Nottingham before moving to Radford and then, in around 1875, to Beeston. At first, after their arrival in Nottingham. Thomas described himself as a 'hawker' but, after their move to Beeston, he became a 'general dealer' from their address at 50 (now 84) High Road. Over a period of 15 years, the couple had five children, the last two in Beeston. Thomas traded at this
location for almost twenty years and it is perhaps significant, given the subsequent use of this shop position, that just before he left he began to trade there as a greengrocer. Just before the end of his life, he moved to live at Draycott, Derbyshire where he traded for a short time as a newsagent before his death there in November 1894, aged 69. His widow continued to live there up to her death in 1906, aged 63. Several of the family continued to live
and work in Beeston - Thomas's son Charles (1854-1919) married Beeston-born Caroline Frances Wright and worked locally as a lace maker and their three sons all lived and worked locally - William (1877-1919) married Mary Elizabeth Spray and worked as a twisthand, Charles Thomas (1881-1950) married Edith Dominic and worked as a house painter and John (1888-1964) married Clarissa Gent Ranford and worked at Ericssons as a draughtsman; George, Thomas and Ann's
eldest son (1868-1949), married Harriet Newcombe, worked for much of his life as a lace maker, later as a brickyard labourer, and lived for almost all of their married life, raising eight surviving children, at 10 Wilkinson Avenue. Their son Alfred Nathan(1894-1916) was killed in Belfast during the Easter Rebellion, while serving with the Sherwood Foresters (His memorial page is here).
The next occupant, Charles Potter Walker, was to become a prominent local resident whose name continues today in the family estate agency firm of C P Walker & Son. His early life, however, was not without its difficulties. He was born in Beeston in 1873, the younger of two sons of Frederick George Walker, a commercial clerk, and his wife Henrietta (née Cox). Sadly, his mother died soon after his birth leaving his father in a difficult position with two
small children and a job to hold down but his grandparents were able to take the older brother and Charles was placed with John Cartwright, a railway guard, later a cast iron pipe maker, and his wife Ann (née Moore, an otherwise childless couple who lived on Coxs Lane (now City Road) where his father could keep in touch and contribute to his upbringing. He received his education, before the advent of the Board Schools, at the Wesleyan school on Chapel Street
His father's connections probably played a part when Charles was able to start work as a lad with the local
firm of Foster And Pearson, his father having worked for the Pearson nursery in Chilwell. But he had ideas beyond that and, by 1894, he had started to trade as a greengrocer from the shop premises here. And, in April 1895, Charles married Edna Wilkinson, the youngest daughter of George Wilkinson and his second wife Emily (née Truman). George, the brother of the owner of Anglo Scotian Mills, Frank Wilkinson, had developed a number of business enterprises
in Beeston, including building houses for the growing workforce in the area which was eventually to take in, amongst other areas, houses on Commercial Avenue, Wilkinson Avenue, Derby Street and Portland Street. Charles began to be involved in the management of the properties and also started to sell insurance, up and down the High Road from his base at the shop. This was the beginning of the Beeston estate agency which still thrives today after over 120 years and
which still manages many of the same properties. By 1908, Charles had left greengrocery behind to concentrate fully on the property and insurance business. In the early days of their marriage, the couple had lost two children as infants and this may have been a factor in their move to a more spacious property for both his growing business and his family - which then included their son, Philip Arthur, who had been born to the couple in 1905 and was to became the
next generation to head-up the business, and his sister Dorothy Ada who completed the family in 1907. Their move to 109 High Road on the corner of Roberts Yard was satisfactory on both counts and the property, now heavily modified, remains the site of
the business today, now with the involvement of the fourth generation of the family. Alongside his successful business life, Charles gave a lifetime of service to the Beeston community. In 1913 he was elected to the then Beeston Council and continued diligently in that role until 1935 when he was defeated in the polls by a tiny margin. During this time he was Chairman of the Finance Committee and also took a keen interest in the Beeston schools, including pressing
for the need of a school in the Rylands. During the Great War he served as a sergeant in the Special Constabulary and was Secretary to the Beeston War Pensions Committee. After the war he held particular concern for the welfare of ex-serviceman, was Vice-President of the Beeston Victory Club and of the Beeston branch of the British Legion. He died at his home in January 1937, aged 63. His widow died in 1956, aged 82. Both are buried in Beeston Cemetery with their
two children who died as infants.
The next occupant of this shop was Charles Flint who continued its use as a fruiterers. Charles was born in Long Eaton, Derbyshire in June 1877, the second of seven children and eldest son of John Flint, a railway platelayer, and his wife Harriett (née Smith). The family moved to Beeston when Charles was a young boy and, after school he found work in the lace trade. In November 1902 he married Mabel Harriett Treece, born in Radford, Nottingham in 1883, a
daughter of John Treece, the proprietor of Shaftesbury Laundry in Beeston. They were to have four children between 1903 and 1916. In the event, Charles's venture into shop keeping appears to have been short lived, not least because of the disruption of the war years during which Charles, a relatively old married man, served for a short time towards the end with the newly formed Royal Air Force. In the post war years, the family lived at various addresses in Beeston,
including 11 Enfield Street and 121 Wollaton Road and, by 1939 they were living at the newly built 10 Coventry Road with Charles working as a works and canteen gardener while serving with the ARP at the Boots factory. He died in the early part of 1979 aged 101, within a very story interval from his wife who died in March of that year, aged 96. They had been married for 76 years.
The shop at this location was to trade as a specialist flowers and fruit shop until the 1950s, operated very competently by John William Elston Jackson, who was born in 1869 in East Halton in Lincolnshire. He was the son of Boaz Jackson, an agricultural labourer and his wife Mary and in his early life his surroundings would have been entirely rural. By 1891 however he had moved to Beeston to take a job with a market gardener, almost certainly with Pearsons, just over
the Chilwell boundary from where he boarded in the Gladstone Street/Imperial Road area. The more urban environment must have been quite a change but, it seems, it suited him as he was to stay for the rest of his life. In 1894 he married Alice Smith who was born in Beeston in about 1873, the daughter of lace maker William Smith and his wife Mary (née Clifford). They set up home at 8 Hall Croft, Beeston and it appears likely that John continued to work at the Pearson
market garden just over the Chilwell boundary. By 1911, they had three sons and had moved to live at 7 Clinton Street, Beeston. Although John was still working for others, it seems, he and his wife were thinking in a new direction. By November 1914, despite - or perhaps, because of - the declaration of war some three months earlier, he had begun to offer his services as a 'practical florist', making floral tributes to order, based at their home on Clinton Street. It seems
the idea was a success from the start, such that when the premises at 84 High Road became available in about March 1915, they moved there and opened for business offering quality seasonal fruits and cut flowers in addition to his speciality floral items (Shown right is a typical advertisment from the Beeston Gazette & Echo that appeared weekly in that era). It was a format that worked and customers valued his personal attention to their requirement such that he remained
in business there up to, or perhaps shortly before, his death in 1952, aged 83. Alice had died some 15 years earlier in 1937, aged 64 and their life had not been without its tragic sadness. Both their two older sons, Edward and William, served in the Great War. Sadly, William was declared 'missing' after the fighting during the first day of the German Spring Offensive on 21 March 1918 and the family faced an agonising period of a year before they were informed that his death
was officially assumed. His elder brother Edward served through the whole war. He was badly wounded in 1915 and spent twelve months in hospital before being returned to the front where he was again wounded and hospitalised, eventually managing to return to the family. A more complete account is on Edward's memorial page.
The next occupant was particularly well known in Beeston and he continued the basis of John Jackson's success there - with the emphasis on flowers and fruit rather than a traditional greengrocery. the shop and the adjacent one at number 82, were first joined together and remodeled and re-opened as "Georgettes". The person behind the initiative was George Paling, probably George William Paling (1893-1959), the son of George Paling (1859-1947) who founded the well known
greengrocery business that traded for many years at 67 High Road, Beeston on the east corner of Stoney Street. A fuller account of this and the wider family will be included when this property is explored here.
As already mentioned, in 2016, 82-84 High Road opened as Rudyards Tea House. serving specialty loose leaf teas, coffee, cakes and sandwiches.
Joseph William Thornhill, the next occupant, was born in born in February 1873, the youngest of ten surviving children of the prominent Beestonian, the tailor William Thornhill and his first wife,
Eliza (née Wibberley). Eliza died in July 1875, aged only 30, when Joseph was only two years old, the youngest of six siblings who were less than the typical school-leaving age at the time. As in most families that face such a tragedy, this would have been a difficult time for both the surviving parent and the children and the problem would become even more acute when William's father
died less than a year later in May 1876, and William was then in sole charge of the family business. While undoubtedly, William would, have had support from the wider family, it cannot have been an easy time but, it seems, William used its best instincts and contacts to help set each of the children on a career suitable to the individual. In Joseph's case, when a hairdressing career was decided upon, he was able to arrange an apprenticeship for the school-leaver, with a
barber in Market Harborough, Leicestershire - although this did not go well. When Joseph found himself used more as a domestic servant than a trainee, he ran away back to Beeston to seek help from his father who, using his standing and contacts, duly took him back to Market Harborough, had a showdown with the barber and was then able to find Joseph a more suitable placement in London, where he was able to complete his apprenticeship. By 1894, Joseph had returned to Beeston
where it seems his father assisted again when he was able to open as a hairdresser at this address, across the High Road and one block to the east of his family tailors business. It seems likely that it was while he was in Market Harborough that Joseph had met Louisa Waddingham who was then living in the Little Bowden, a village on the edge of the town, as a domestic nurse. Now in a position to do so, the couple married in her home town in March 1894 and set up home above Joseph's
shop. Three children - all daughters - were born to the couple between 1895 and 1899, probably each at their home above the shop, but sadly the youngest, Louisa May, died aged only one. The couple are shown, right, with their eldest daughter Vera, at a Thornhill family get-together in about 1901. Joseph was to continue trading at this address until the early 1920s, eventually employing an assistant and a lather boy. Over the years, he diversified the hairdressing business into
newspapers, a library, tobacco and fancy goods as well as offering any local citizens without facilities of their own, the option to take a bath for 6d (2½ pence). After his father died in 1910, Joseph inherited the prominently situated house at 2 Montague Street, part of William's portfolio of distinctive properties that he had built during his lifetime, By the following year, Joseph and Louisa, their family and her widowed mother were living there while continuing to operate
the shop as a lock-up. By 1921, after nearly 30 years of trading from this High Road shop, the family moved to live at 78 Eland Street, Basford, Nottingham, from where Joseph continued in the hairdressing trade. By the time of his death in April 1955, aged 82, he was living at 47 Scotland Road, Basford. His widow lived on until 1962, when she died aged 91.
The next occupants were John Joseph Waite, his wife Alice Ann (née Gomersall) and the two youngest members of their family. John was born in Corby (now known as Corby Glen), Lincolnshire in 1869 and had married Alice Ann Gomersall in May 1894 in the Leeds community of Beeston Hill and they settled in nearby Hunslet where their five, four surviving, children were born. After working as a labourer when they married and later as a crane slinger in a steel works, John had established
himself in business as a newsagent by 1911, from premises at Chester Place, Hunslet. Tragically, in May 1917, Arthur their older son was killed in action while serving with 174 Tunneling Company, Royal Engineers and, although we have no evidence, this loss may have led the couple to move away from the place which would held memories of Arthur's life with them. But, whatever was the reason, by 1921, they had made the move to Beeston and to open for business as a newsagent and tobacconist
at this High Road address, leaving behind their eldest daughter who had married in 1917. However, again for no known reason, their stay was relatively short - perhaps 5 years - as, by about 1926 they had returned to Leeds to run a newsagency and tobacconist shop at 1 Playfair View in that city. Alice died there in 1941, aged 76, followed, in April 1951, by John, aged 82.
They were followed, in about 1926, by Alfred William Clarke, his wife Florence (née Mayfield) and their two daughters, Annie Maud and Edith Florence. Alfred was born in the Carrington district of Nottingham in 1885 and, as a young man, had met a local girl Florence Mayfield, born in 1884 in nearby Arnold, Notts, the daughter of coal miner Mark Mayfield and his wife Mary Ann (née Rawson, formerly Bradshaw). The couple married in the first quarter of 1908 followed shortly by the
birth of their first child, Annie Maud, in May of that year. In the early years of their marriage and through the war years, they made their home in Daybrook, Notts. Alfred was working in the coal mines but, by the early 1920s he was looking to move on - not an easy task in a time of high unemployment. Like many couples in that position, they were tempted by the offer of a new life in Alberta, Canada - the advertisement shown right is typical of the many appearing in the press in the early 1920s. In
their case had some reassurance from Alfred's brother who had already settled there. The family sailed from Liverpool in April 1921 on the Empress of France and, after landing at Halifax Nova Scotia, made what must have been an interesting and exciting - and likely apprehensive - long train journey across Canada to Alberta. Although we have no details of how their new life worked out, we do know that Florence and the children returned to Nottingham in August 1924 following by Alfred in April 1925.
It also appears that the experience had apparently broadened their confidence as, by 1926, they had moved to Beeston and opened as a newsagents and tobacconists shop at no. 56 High Road. They were to trade there, appear to have prospered and would have undoubtedly continued for a good many years but in 1937 Alfred became seriously ill and underwent major surgery. Their elder daughter had married John Henry Atkin in 1934 and they had set up home at 19 Warwick Avenue, Beeston and it is there, now that they were not able to operate the shop, that Alfred and Florence,
together with their younger daughter were able to move. Sadly, Alfred died in November 1938, aged only 53, and was buried in Redhill Cemetery, Notts. Florence was a widow for over 30 years and died in 1969, aged 85.
The next occupants, following on immediately, were William and Dorothy Barlow (née Bennett) who took over as occupants shortly after their marriage in January 1937. William was born in July 1906 in Lenton, Notts, the son of Samuel Barlow, a City policeman and his wife Annie Lelitia (née Shrive). At the time of his marriage, William was living at 50 Mansfield Road, Daybrook. Notts. Whilst we have no record of his then occupation, it is tempting to think that he was operating a shop in what was then a retail area. It
may be significant - or simply a coincidence - that this was also the area where members of the Clarke and Mayfield families were still residing and from whom he might have become aware of the availability of the Beeston shop. For her part, Dorothy, born in 1910 in Sneinton, Nottingham, was the daughter of James Bennett and his wife Annie Florence (née Taylor). By the time of their daughter's marriage, James had retired from his occupation as a self-employed newsagent and had moved to
live in retirement at 23 Davies Road, West Bridgford, Notts. Everything, it seems, came together and the Beeston shop was the perfect option for the couple. This was to be borne-out in the years to come as it remained the basis of their livelihood for the remainder of their working life. Shown left is the shop as it was in about 1960. On the left can be seen the entrance to a yard that then existed between numbers 86 and 88 High Road, the end properties of two distinct blocks which were part of the overall
frontage. Shortly after this, probably in the mid-1960s, the couple retired to live on Derby Road, Beeston, having disposed of the business to a news agency chain. William died in January 1981, aged 83, followed in April 1994 by Dorothy, aged 84.
At the present time (2021) the business trades as Beeston News with an updated shopfront but with much the same traditional offering of a newsagents shop.
Next, immediately after a gate and the opening to a yard which seperated it from the previously described block - but now built over as part of no 88 - stood a further block of nine properties, running towards the west, reaching as far as what was the Prince of Wales public house and numbered 88 to 104 (54 - 70 before the renumbering in 1908). In the early days, these properties were largely in residential use but, as we will see,
there was, again, a gradual change to retail use as the High Road developed. The story of the occupants of each of the properties follows:
88 (previously 54) - as it happens, this was one of the few exceptions as it has always been in retail use - and now incorporates the frontage previous taken up by the entrance to the yard. The known occupants, over the years, have been:
- by 1871, the property was occupied by Solomon Beardsley and his then new wife Caroline, the youngest daughter of John and Grace George. The couple had married in January 1871 and were to trade at this address for over twenty years, until Solomon's early death in March 1893, aged only 47. Solomon had been born in the Woodthorpe area of Arnold, Notts in January 1848, the fifth of eight children born to John Beardsley (1808-1878) and his wife Elizabeth (née Chatwin, c1810-1859). John was a publican who
kept The Black Swan Inn on the main road, now Mansfield Road, for most of his working life and it was here that the family were born and raised. Caroline had been born in Beeston in 1839, the youngest of five children born to John Chambers George (1805-1874) and his wife Grace (1789-1870 née George). John and Grace were both from Ilkeston, Derbyshire and were to retain family and other links there after they settled in Beeston following their marriage in 1827. Here they farmed about 38 acres of land at The Padge, an
ancient area to the south and east of what is now Boots Bridge and is now largely absorbed into the railway, the sewage works and Boots factory site. As we have seen, several of the wider George family traded as butchers in Beeston over the years and it seems likely that both they and the Beardsleys used the farm as a mutually beneficial source of supply. During their time together, Solomon and Caroline had just one child, John Solomon who was born in 1875 but, sadly, he died in 1883, aged only 8, and was buried in the
churchyard at Beeston. Ten years later. when Solomon also died, he too was buried with his infant son. Under the terms of his will, his executors - his brother George, also a butcher, and his friend, publican George Burrows, who kept The Prince of Wales inn in Beeston - were required to dispose of the butchery business and to hold the proceeds, together with other assets - which, as we will see, included substantial local property holdings - in trust for the benefit of his widow Caroline during her lifetime, and then
to a number of names family beneficiaries, absolutely. For her part, Caroline, his widow moved to live at Fern House, one of these properties, on the north side of the High Road, just east of Derby Street. There, she was later joined by two other widowed ladies with whom she had connections. When she died in December 1936, aged almost 98, then the oldest Beeston resident, she was buried with her husband and their son, in what is believed to be the last interment in the Beeston Parish churchyard. Click here to view their memorial which survives in the churchyard to this day. We will look at more detail of her later life when we examine the story of Fern House.
90 (previously 56) - in the early years of the life of this property, its occupants were entirely residential - and, indeed, before 1881, its occupants are not known - and it was sometime around the turn of the century before it was in retail use.
Settling an Estate Gives an Insight into Property Ownership - The Last Will and Testament of Solomon Beardsley, dated 22 March 1890, was proved at Nottingham on 4th May 1894 by his Executors, his brother George Beardsley and his friend George Burrows, following Solomon's death on 29th March 1893.
The main feature of the will was the creation of a Trust for the benefit of his widow, Caroline, during her lifetime, and the eventual liquidation of the estate, following her death, and distribution to named family members - two of Solomon's brothers and two of his sisters - or to any of their children if they are no longer living at that time. In the event, because of the long time between Solomon's death and that of his widow, none of the four named siblings lived to inherit and, it appears, only two of the four
left children who could inherit. In addition, both of the Excutors appointed in Solomon's will had died before the trust was finally settled.
Although the will itself does not identify specifically the property included. this became clear after Caroline died over 43 years later, on the 13th December 1936, the property
was advertised for sale at public auction held on 26th January 1937 and the result of that sale was later reported in the press. Click HERE to view the Notice of Sale and the post-sale reporting.
This tells us something more about the ownership and values of these important High Road properties:
It is interesting that the properties were advertised as potential development sites, suitable for "Multiple firms, speculators and others". The High Road was clearly seen as a place worthy of attention from outside and national names - something that had recently demonstrated by the opening of a Woolworth store in 1934 but a trend that was shortly to be held back by the outbreak of war.
- 88 High Road, Beeston - which is described as a butchers shop with a frontage of 21 feet 10 inches with a paved yard (presumably accessed through the gate at the side) and a range of buildings including a slaughter house and fasting pens. To the rear was a paddock with a frontage of 62 feet 6 inches onto Portland Street. As it states and as we will find, this was 'then in the occupation of Mr G Dewey' at an annual rent of £50. It was sold for £1,700. Of course, 'Mr G Dewey' must have been a reference to the original tenant.
Gilbert Joseph Dewey who, as we will see had died in 1917. By the time of the sale, the property and business were in the hands of the next generation.
- 78 to 86 High Road, Beeston - a block of five houses, three of then having shops with a total frontage of 66 feet and with gardens, yards and outbuildings to the rear. Together, their annual rental was £146 2s and they were sold for £2,675.
- 97 High Road (known as 'Fern House') - a double-fronted dwelling house with garden, yard and outbuilding, having a frontage of 36 feet 3 inches to High Road and 120 feet 6 inches to Derby Street. As we have seen, this is the property that was occupied by Caroline Beardsley throughout her widowhood. It was sold for £1,375.
Accordingly, following the death of Solomon Beardsley in 1881, his butchers business was sold, as required by the terms of his will, and was acquired by Gilbert Joseph Dewey who born in Beeston 1867. The youngest of three children of Joseph & Mary (née Wright), who had trained and worked as a butcher while living with his parents on Chilwell Road, Beeston from where his father traded as a dairyman. In April 1894, at the time of his move to take over the High Road business - or shortly following it - Gilbert married Clara Foister
(b. 1871), the daughter of Charles (1835-1919), a coal miner, who had moved to various coal-mining areas and eventually to Beeston, with his wife Sarah (b.1841, née Pick) and their family of four. During the next twelve years, during which time the couple's three children were born, the business appears to have prospered but, in 1906, for a now inexplicable reason, Gilbert left for Canada where he found work as a butcher in Toronto. His motives for this move are presently unknown - perhaps he had hoped that his wife and family would follow
after he was established, or perhaps he had always expected to return - but the War, in any scenario, would have changed everything and, in the event. he died there in June 1917 from a heart condition, apparently having not seen his family again. Indeed, his son Harry had, in the meantime, enlisted soon after war was declared in August 1914 and, tragically, had been killed in action in October 1916 (click here for his memorial page) For his wife Clara, any one of these tragedies would have been
unbelievably difficult to bear but, taken together with the need to keep the business going while caring for her family, would have been a burden that must have been indescribably harrowing. Before joining the Army, Harry had begun to help in the business and, now that he would not return she turned to others for help, while staying in charge herself, keeping the business going all through the 1920s. Those who helped including her brother Herbert Foister who went on to open his own butchers shop on Queens Road. Also playing a large part was
Clara's eldest daughter, Evelyn Eleanor (known as 'Evie') who, in 1920, married Francis ('Frank') Wilfred English who was born in Derby in June 1896, the second son of William English, a railway drayman, and Frances (née Winter), his wife. After school, he started work as an errand boy to an Ilkeston butcher and went on to learn the trade, such that, following their marriage, they moved into the High Road property and Frank worked alongside Clara Dewey. In 1921, their son Harry was born and he too was to contribute to the running of the business in due
course. Photographs of the English family are HERE. Despite all the problems along the way, Clara had created and maintained a sound business and had ensured that its future was assured. So it was, when she died in December 1932, aged 61, the business was to continue for almost 30 more years - still trading as 'C Dewey' - under the control of Frank and Evelyn English. Overall, the business had traded for over 75 years when it was finally closed, following Frank and Evelyn's retirement in about 1960. In retirement,
they moved to live at 390 High Road, Chilwell from where Frank died in February 1976, aged 79, followed by Evelyn in January 1987, aged 87. Their son, Harry English, who married Kathleen Mary Booth in 1947, died in 1990, aged 69.
In the early 1960s, the property was sold for development - the image on the right shows it in its last days - and made way for a building that was more suitable for the then needs - completely rebuilt with an attractive and more spacious selling area and taking in the gated entrance which had separated it from number 86. It was soon occupied by Currys (seen below left in the early 1980s) which represented two trends on High Streets throughout the country - the growth of national chains and the market for electrical home entertainment
and domestic appliances, challenging areas that some would say had been well provided for by local initiatives but which soon became popular.
In the present day, of course, few such items are sold on the High Streets now that the national names have moved to the out-of-town parks - in Currys case, this accelerated after 1984 when Dixons took them over - and on-line and we see a new generation of locally-based initiatives emerging again.
Today, the site is occupied by Nottingham Floors Ltd who offer a local service for the supply of wood, carpet and Vinyl flooring.
In 1881, it was occupied by William Grange, then a widower, born in Great Budworth, Cheshire in about 1816, and his two daughters, his sons having moved away to find their own way in the world. In 1837, he had married Sarah Ann Jones in Manchester Cathedral and by 1847 they had moved, with their then two children, to Beeston, to continue his trade as a silk throwster and he became an overlooker at the local mill. At first they lived on Church Street where Sarah ran a small shop and, by 1856, four more children had been born to the
couple. Shortly after that, tragedy struck when Sarah was admitted to the Pauper Lunatic Asylum in Sneinton, Nottingham where she was to die in 1870. Within the next ten years he had moved across the road to live at 27 (now 69) High Road where Louisa, his youngest daughter, traded as a confectioner for a while. By 1901, then retired, he moved back to the Manchester area to live out his days. He died there in 1902, aged 86.
92 (previously 58) - even by 1871, and unlike many of the neighbouring properties, the occupant of this address was running a business there.
The next occupants were George Manterfield, his wife Ann (née Astill) and their then two children, Frank and Bertha. In 1891 they were occupying both this property and the adjacent one at number 93 (then 58) so it is possible that George was using the second property to carry out his trade as harness maker, but it is more likely that he was working for the well-established saddler, Thomas Bennett, who was trading on the opposite side of the High Road. George, the youngest of four sons of Thomas (b.c1833 Newark) and Rebecca (b. c1834
Welbourne. Lincolnshire, née Blackbourn), had married Ann Astill (b. 1856 Nottingham), the daughter of William (b.1821 East Leake, Notts) and Sarah (b. 1816 Nottingham - née Holmes) in Nottingham in 1884 and had settled in Beeston. But they didn't stay long as, in September 1891, the family sailed on the Orizabo for Australia, arriving in Melbourne and going on to Tasmania where they settled in the Hobart area and where George found work as a saddler. In due course, two further sons were born, Stanley in 1893 and Alan in 1898. George died in June 1942,
aged 79, followed by Ann in April 1944. They are buried together in Cornelian Bay Cemetery, where their memorial survives.
For a short time, around 1894, the property, along with the adjoining property at what was number 58, was used by Walter Matthews, a saddler and bootmaker, while living at 9 Imperial Road, Beeston. He was also described as a saddler (as well as a bootmaker) so it seems likely that he too was working from this property, possibly in conjunction with Thomas Bennett. No trace of him has been found, before or after 1894.
Around the turn of the century, this property, along with all other properties up to the Prince of Wales Inn (that is, nos 90-104) are believed to have been acquired by George Burrows. He had been the licencee of the adjacent Prince of Wales Inn for over 20 years and had sold out and used the proceeds to purchase these and other properties on the High Road and on Chilwell Road, so enabling him to lead a more independent life, particulerly as a local Councillor. His life will be described in more detail in the story of the Prince of Wales Inn.
By 1901, the premises were being occupied as a shop by Robert Arthur Tomlinson and he and his second wife Lucy (b. c1871, née Knutton) were living there with their baby son and Robert's two daughters by his first wife Sarah Selina (née Allen) who had died in 1899. Robert was the son of Joseph Tomlinson (b. 1800, Nottingham) who served as a regular soldier with the Grenadier Regiment of Foot Guards for 46 years from the age of 19 and eventually became a Chelsea Pensioner. After Lucy (née Redman, his first wife. died in 1853, he married
Jane Mattingley, some 30 years younger than he, in 1861. Robert Arthur, their only child, was born on Christmas Day 1864, for some reason in Jersey in the Channel Islands but the family later returned to live in Joseph's birth town where Joseph died in 1869. In 1888 married Sarah and by 1891 they settled on Chilwell Road, Beeston, near Hall Croft, where Robert traded as a grocer before their move to 59 High Road. By 1908 (when the property was renumbered to no. 90), they had moved to live on Lilac Grove, conveniently close to the railway, no
doubt used regularly by Robert in his then employment as a commercial traveler for a provisions supplier. He and his family later moved to live at 74 Gertrude Road, West Bridgford, Notts where Lucy died suddenly in April 1928. Robert continued to work as a representative in the provisions trade and, by 1936, he and met and married Ethel Violet Ete Rayment. He was then aged 71 and she was 62 and previously unmarried, part of a family provisions business based in Leicester, founded by her late parents, Edward and Ete Fanny Sophia (née Newland) Rayment, a firm
that may have been Robert's employer or, at least, one of his customers. The couple lived out their lives in Leicester, where Robert died in December 1949, aged 85. His widow died there in November 1966, aged 93.
By 1908, the property was occupied by Benjamin Woodhouse and his family and it was here that he was to operate his picture framing business for over 30 years. Benjamin, was born in Nottingham in 1860, the son of Benjamin & Catherine (née Boot) Woodhouse. In February 1879, he married Alice Carmichael at St Pauls Church, Nottingham, when they were aged 18 and 17 respectively. Alice, born in Birmingham in about 1862, was one of about 10 children of Thomas & Barbara (née Davidson) who were originally from Scotland. Benjamin and Alice settled first
in the Radford area of Nottingham and were to go on to have nine children with all but one surviving beyond infancy. In the early days of their marriage, Benjamin was able to find work in light engineering, including the fast developing bicycle trade and, in about 1895 they moved to Beeston so that he could take a job as a turner at Humber's cycle works there. During this time the family lived at 16 Linden Grove, Beeston and Frank, the eldest son, joined his father at Humbers as a driller, But, everything changed in 1908 when Humber suddenly closed its Beeston
factory and moved to Coventry. While Frank Woodhouse was one of many that moved to Coventry to continue their employment, Benjamin did not. Apparently, following a wish to work for himself and seeing an opportunity, he opened for business as a picture framer at 90 High Road and, it seems, it certainly worked as he was still there until at least 1941. His wife had died after a fall in 1934 and Benjamin died in 1949.
Today (2021)the premises are occupied by Five Star Nails
That occupant, Herbert Gilbert, was born in Mansfield, Notts in 1831, the son of William and Jemima (née Harris), and had previously lived and traded as a barber at another High Road location before moving to this address and was probably its first occupant. He had married Eliza Simkins in July 1850 and all but the eldest of their seven children were born in Beeston but, in 1874, Eliza died there at the relatively young age of 41.
By 1877, he regularly visited the Durham Ox Inn, which was virtually opposite his shop, and befriended the publican, William Smith, and his wife Hannah, and even helped out during busy periods. In the days following Christmas 1877, William Smith became unwell, refusing to eat or get up from his bed. On December 28th, Hannah Smith, having previously had no success in getting her husband to take food, asked Herbert to check on him and, on doing so, he found that he had cut his throat. Sadly, he died the next day. At the subsequent Inquest, held at the Inn,
the Coroner described the facts of the case as 'extraordinary' but, nevertheless, the jury found that Smith had 'committed suicide during a fit of temporary insanity'. Soon after this, the Durham Ox was sold and Hannah moved on. Then, in October 1878, she and Herbert Gilbert married and they took a pub in Mount Street, Nottingham. Herbert was to die in September 1888, aged 57 after which Hannah moved to live at Hyson Green. She died in March 1900, aged 67. She is buried with Herbert in Nottingham General Cemetery.
The next tenant was to occupy the property solely as a residential property. George Barker was born in Beeston in August 1837, one of eight children of John Barker, a framework knitter, and his wife Mary (née Fletcher). In his early working life he was employed as a spinner at the local silk mill but by 1861 he had taken the position of driving the stationery engine at the mill and continued in that role for the remainder of his working life. In May 1854, he married Ruth Briggs, a Stapleford girl, and they went on to have five children between 1865 and 1881.
Except for a period between about 1869 and 1879 when they lived at Nottingham Road, Stapleford, they were to live out their respective lives in Beeston, this property being one of several they lived in over the years. In the event, they lived at this address for a few years, following their return from Stapleford in about 1879 but, by 1891, they had moved around the corner to a property in Clifton Villas, part of City Road, Beeston. By 1911, nearing the end of their life, they had moved in with their married daughter Mabel's family on nearby Clifton Street. Ruth
died in 1914, aged 72, followed, in 1917, by George in 1917, aged 79.
As we have seen when we explored the history of the adjacent property (no. 90, originally no. 56), in the early 1890s, this property and its neighbour were both occupied by George Manterfield followed, briefly, by Walter Matthews. Both were saddlers and were, more likely than not, then working in conjunction with the well-established saddler, Thomas Bennett, whose business was based almost opposite, across the High Road.
Then, for a short time around 1901, the property was occupied by Charles Truman and his step-daughter who then moved to no. 82 (then 48) where their history has already been described.
By 1908, with the arrival of grocer Frederick Henry Parr, the premises were clearly being used as a retail shop and he was to continue to trade there for something approaching 30 years, latterly under the name 'Parrs Stores'. He was born in 1868 in Newport, Monmouthshire. the son of John Parr, a telegraph linesman, and Mary (née Berrow, his wife. When he was a young boy, his father died and his mother appears to have moved, with her two sons, to Birmingham for a while but returned to Newport when, in 1881, she married Samuel Evans a widower with four children.
After leaving school, rather than following most local men and boys into the 'Dos' nail works that dominated the economy in the area, Frederick started working with a local grocer, presumably first as an apprentice and later as his assistant. In 1893, he married his cousin, Caroline Berrow (b. Newport, 1856) and their first child, Gladys Mildred was born soon afterwards. Sadly, however, Gladys died when she was not yet two years old, although Florence Winifred, their second daughter. was born early in 1896. By 1900, the couple had moved to Walsall where Frederick had
taken a position as manager of a grocer store in the town centre and later that year, another daughter, Gertrude Doris was born. But, by about 1905, Frederick was confident enough to run his own business and, backed by his wife, he moved to Beeston and opened as a grocer at this location. It was not an obvious move but was certainly a shrewd one. As far as we can see, neither Frederick or Caroline, or their families, had a connection to Beeston and neither were they taking over an existing grocery business. It must have been a decision based on a perception that Beeston
had a future and was clearly in a period of considerable growth boosted by the arrival of a diversity of engineering industry as a confident and timely replacement for the silk mill that had closed and traditional lace industry that had now reached its peak. And, the High Road itself had reacted well to these changes and was developing well and, clearly, Frederick and Caroline were happy to back their judgement and make the move - and it was to prove a good decision. So it was, that Frederick moved his family to this address and opened for business as a grocer and. it seems was
successful there throughout the remainder of his working life although, sadly, there was another personal setback in 1905, just after their arrival, when a fourth daughter. May Alexander, was born there but died shortly afterwards. But, within ten years, the business was well enough establised that the family was able to move within walking distance, to live at 33 Marlborough Road, later moving to 1 Imperial Avenue, Beeston, while operating the shop on a lock-up basis. Around this time, the elder of their two surviving daughters, Florence Winifred became good friends with a Samuel Davenport who lived and
worked in Stockport, Cheshire and worked as a mechanical engineer, which makes it difficult to understand how they met or what, if any, connections there were between them or their families. In 1913, which is thought to be around the time they had first met, Samuel was aged 24, while Florence was only 17 so there may have been some parental resistance to the relationship progressing further. In the event, Samuel left for America in 1914 and settled in Pennsylvania where he found a good job as a manager with a manufacturing company. But the couple stayed in touch and were determined to be together
and what followed was remarkable. In April 1916, with or without her parents permission, Florence sailed from Liverpool on the 'Lapland' for New York. After her arrival on the 19th April, the couple applied for and were granted a Marriage License, in Pennsylvania on the next day and were married there on 22 April. They then settled down to live in Forty Fort, Luzerne County, Pennsylvania and their daughter Joan, who was to be their only child, was born in February 1918. Any bad feelings between the couple and her parents - if any had existed - arising from the circumstances of their marriage were, it seems,
smoothed over within the next few years. The war years may well have delayed a reunion but, in July 1920, Frederick, Caroline and Gertrude, their younger daughter then aged 19, were able to cross the Atlantic on the 'Celtic' to visit Florence, Samuel and baby Joan. Then, in July of the following year, Samuel and Florence with their daughter then aged three, made a return visit, arriving at Southampton on the 'Adriatic' on their way to a long visit with Frederick and Caroline in Beeston. Although they returned to their home in Pennsylvania, having arrived in New York on the 'Olympic'
in May 1922, their long stay in England was probably indicative of a change in their plans for the future. Sure enough, at some point in the next few years, Samuel returned to England with his family and took up a position as a mechanical engineer in Oxford. In April 1929, Gertrude married Thomas Bernard Moult, born in 1897 in Hyson Green, Nottingham, the son of Thomas, a coal miner, and his wife Ruth Amelia (née White). Thomas had established himself in the printing trade and took a managerial position in Bradford, Yorkshire, where the couple made their home. It was there
that their only child was born in 1930 and, sadly died, aged only 16, in December 1946. On 21 December 1933, Frederick Henry Parr died, probably at his Beeston home at 1 Imperial Avenue, aged 66, bringing to end the successful business that he had built at 92 High Road. The proceeds of his estate, valued at £1,219 - something like £90,000 in today's values - was carefully split between his wife and their two daughters, but it was a sentence in his will that clearly reflected his feelings for his family - "I thank God for the best and most loving and true wife a man could wish
for, also for two loving daughters and two sons-on-law that I am proud of." Caroline was to live out her life with her two daughters' families in turn and died in April 1957, aged 91, while with Florence in Oxfordshire
Whilst in the years that followed, it is certain that the property was occupied, probably at least partly as a shop, no record has been found of the occupants except that, in 1952, there is a vague record of a dyer trading there.
At the time of writing (2021), the property is occupied by Mobiles Plus, specialising in the repair of mobiles and laptops as well as buying and selling of mobile phones.
The story of the remainder of the properties up to City Road, will be added in due course
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© David Hallam - 2019