Business Life in the Village by Maurice Andrews

The following article was written by Maurice Andrews MBE in 1979:

In the days of my ancestors, and in the early part of my own life, the High Street had its many traders, most of the local people living where they worked, and most of the trades traditional. I remember a saddler, a blacksmith, a tailor, a ladder-maker, an ironmonger, grocers and butchers, a shop selling homemade sweets and so on. Today, alas, most of the shops are lock-ups and the families of old have either left the village or gone to live on the housing estates. The younger generations of those families now commute to Cheltenham or Evesham and the main street is left to the antique shops and the gift shops.

Grocers and General Stores

Still living in the High Street, though not now in business, is Oliver Morris, the son of a very old Broadway family. His father, John Morris and his ancestors were farmers, millers and grocers. The grocers shop was right next door to where he now lives. Oliver once worked there before it was sold but since his service in the Army during the 1939-45 War he has followed the occupation of gardener, as well as continuing his and his father’s interest of recording village history. In the mid 19th century, John Morris was a grocer and Charles Morris was a master and miller at Upper Mill in 1855. Oliver’s father, John Morris, continued the grocery business and as well as being the agent for the Evesham Journal was prominent in the Congregational Church and was a District and Parish Councillor. It would be difficult to find a more ‘Broadway’ family than this one.

The Morris grocery shop passed for a time to Dick Franklin, a member of another old Broadway family, before he moved to the Old St Patrick’s Tearooms to run his present business. His family once lived in the old Swan Cottages, now part of the Swan Inn, and his father was a former jockey and coachman. Before the last war, Dick worked at the shop of J.B. Ball then, after his service in the Royal Air Force, he returned to buy Mr Morris’ grocery business.

In the 1950s, when Dick and his wife wanted a new house, he asked me to assist in preparing the plans, and although I was not a qualified architect, between us we designed a small house in as near the old traditional style as possible. It is today one of the few modern houses in Springfield Lane to be built in real Cotswold stone.

My great grandfather and his brothers and sisters made baskets in London Road, now the upper High Street, and at Tan Yard and in Church Street. Some of the family were also coopers. My great great grandfather, Henry Pulley, was in business as a cooper in 1840, and his brother, Edward Pulley, as well as being a basket-maker was also a hairdresser in the High Street in 1855. The women of the family were at the same time carrying on their glove and lace-making, often to be seen sitting out on the doorstep of their cottage on Flea Bank, opposite the old Coach and Horses.

In the late 1920s and in the 1930s at the cottage two doors away from the present Midland Bank, a well known figure, Mrs Fridlington sold her homemade faggots and peas, as well as chitterlings. Assisted by her son, Philip, she would prepare these items in the kitchen ‘up the yard’ and she would sit a the front door on a chair serving the customers. Her husband, Bill Fridlington, was the son of that well-known North Cotswold Hunt servant of the same name. He died in 1974 and at that time the Hunt Master of the day reported to his committee that the Hunt had lost an outstanding and irreplaceable servant.

There have been many grocers over the years. As well as John Morris, already mentioned, in 1840 there were Thomas Milner, Thomas Spooner and Richard Price. In 1855 there were Thomas Revers, Richard Price and Stephen White.

In 1875, Samuel Bayliss was a family grocer and provision dealer and he also had a shop at Evesham. By 1896, this business had passed in to the hands of Thomas Bayliss who for many years continued to trade at the same premises. Thomas Bayliss was a well-known local figure and was a churchwarden at St Michael’s Church. In the High Street for many years was the business of Ernest Kempson, local Councillor and member of many organisations. He was followed by Thomas Arnold and his son, Leslie, around 1930.

A well-known grocer in the late 19th century was W.A. Billey who traded right through the latter half of that century. For the Jubilee of 1897, Mr Billey had printed a commemorative leaflet and a copy of this leaflet in my possession has on the reverse, in my grandmother’s writing, the dates and times of birth of 15 members of her family, including her own, my grandfather’s and my mother’s. Quite a change from the tradition of writing such dates in a family bible but just as effective for me and my family as well as a souvenir of Queen Victoria’s reign.

Antique Dealers

The earliest antique dealer was old Mr Jacques, grandfather of Judy Jacques, now Mrs Brodie of Halfway Guesthouse. He kept the Old Curiosity Shop and died at the age of 91 in the 1920s. In 1896, another John Jacques, his son, was a draper and photographer. Some of the Jacques family were also butchers at a shop on the village green and in my day the drapers shop, run by Mrs Jacques, was still a business. Before moving to Halfway House, Mrs Brodie ran the village shoe shop which for many years was run by George Powell and his son George. Mrs Powell was a Pulley and my mother’s cousin.

Saddlers

In 1840 the Broadway saddler was John Dimock, who was also the village sub-postmaster. In 1930s, when I was a boy, the saddler was ‘Dolph’ Brookes who had his shop opposite the Congregational Church. At the time John Dimock, and later his son George, were saddlers there were also many boot and shoe makers in the village. William Alcock, Israel Brown, John Phillips, William Roper, and John Tustin were just a few.

Blacksmiths

The blacksmith is, of course, a village craft one would expect to find in a village like Broadway. Today there is no blacksmith here. The last I remember were the brother Frank and Jack Roberts who were for many years the village blacksmiths at both Buckland and Broadway. I have spent many hours at Frank’s forge, both as a boy and in the 1950s watching him shoeing horses from The Kennels and elsewhere, and making gate and door hinges for the local builders. In 1872 there were two blacksmiths. One was Frank Roberts’ Grandfather, William Roberts, and the other was Francis Collett. Earlier still, in 1840, old Richard Collett was blacksmith together with Charles Malin. For a time the Roberts family were at the Coach and Horses but their last forges were at Backway and at Buckland.

Butchers and Slaughter Houses

In Broadway now are two local butchers, the old-established Collins shop and the business started around 1930 by Alan Robinson. In 1840, there were three butcher’s shops and others who slaughtered at other premises. There were Richard Amms on The Green, William Bunn and Perry Stephens. The present H.H. Collins shop was started by William Collins in partnership with George Knight at the turn of the century. George Knight was the grandfather of the recently deceased William Knight, for many years the firm, the great grandfather of the present director, Barry Knight. Wallace’s father was for many years at The Fox and Dog yard in the High Street and it was here in 1855 that Emmanuel Perry was a cattle-dealer and slaughterer.

Watchmakers and Jewellers

In the late 19th century, Joseph Leonard Kemp started his watchmakers and jewellers shop on the corner of Kennel Lane. Tommy and Lou Kemp continued the business throughout the time I was a boy, later with Tommy’s widow, and now Leonard’s grandson has entered the business.

Bakers and Bakeries

The trade of baker is one of the oldest trades known and Broadway has many. In 1840, William Burrows was baking in the village as were James Waters and Hemming Jackson. In 1855 William Burrows was still in business and by this time there were three others, bakers and maltster,

In 1875, the Burrows Bakery had passed to Caleb Burrows and in 1880 Benjamin Burrows took over. Benjamin Burrows was a miller at Lower Mill and also in 1896 had a steam engine to back up the old water mill.

In 1904, Wilfrid Burrows and his wife opened a bakery on the village green after baking for some years at Springfield Road Bakery. In 1908 he bought Mr Jones’ bakery business to combine with his own and was assisted by his son Reginald and daughter, Connie. After working for Mr Burrows since 1941, my brother, Frank Andrews, bought the Burrows business and after continuing at Springfield Road bought new premises in Leamington Road where he continued until retiring in 1979.

There was a bakery at what is now the Broadway Hotel until 1920. Other bakers of my early days were W.E. Acton of the High Street who took over Biles Bakery, Browns of The Green and Charlies Jarrett who had what is now Keen and Stocks Bakery on Cheltenham Road.

Chemists

In 1875, Edwin Lewis Foss was a chemist and grover in a shop which is still ‘Foss’s the chemists’. His son, Sidney Foss, took over the business and ran it for many years before his death. The business became a private company of which his granddaughters of the founder, Jean and Mary, are still directors. Both Edwin Foss and Sidney Foss were prominent in village life the former being a member of the first committee of the Broadway Cricket Club. A brother of Sidney, Ted Foss, lived in Church Street at The Firs and for many years farmed land at Bury End.

Other Businesses from 1940 onwards

On The Green were Abell and Smiths electrical shop run by Jim Hay and his wife, Stella, running the confectionary shop. Madge Arnold was running her hairdresser’s shop next to Tudor House where was once Mrs Keyte’s “Busy Bee”. Mr Bailey ran his music teacher’s establishment, as well as being choirmaster at the Church. Miss Nason and Miss Milne had their splendid Bindery Tearooms next to the old Church Schools where our Sunday schoolteacher Miss Wagstaffe once lived. Miss Bird ran her weaving shop.

Broadway Garage, behind Warren’s the ironmongers, and Mill Park Garage on Cheltenham Road, together with Charles Whitaker’s garage on The Green provided the needs of the motorist. Margaret Brook’s hairdressing establishment functioned opposite the Lygon Arms Hotel and Louis James Brown and his daughter, Norah, were giving their usual admirable service at their confectionary shop.

By this time Miss Russell’s teashop at Priors Manse had closed down, and Miss Massie’s Fencote Guesthouse had burnt down but Mrs Aston was running the Collett Tearooms and Arthur and Lily Parker had started their Milk Bar and Café at The Green. The King brothers and Charles Collins were coal merchants and at the Vineyard, Joe Cooke still had his blacksmiths business.

Bill Stanley was undertaker, carpenter and wheelwright at the top end of the village where the Stokes family carried on the same trade. Next door were Frank and Charles Steward the builders, and in the Willersey Road was George Foster’s builders yard. Winnie Waylan, later Daffurn, had her fashion shop at “Winifred’s” and John Folkes, the hairdresser, had his barber’s shop next to the New Inn, with the other barber, Frank Robinson, operating further up the High Street.

On The Green, Cyril Green had his tailor’s shop and, opposite was the newsagent’s run by Gladys Hensley, the wife of Leonard Hensley. There were fruiterer George Hardiman and Mrs Harris at The House of Stairs. What is now Jelfs Gift Shop was the Hill’s fancy good shop. Miss Hobbins then ran her sweet shop in the High Street. It was here that once lived Mr Upton Wright, know to all in the 1920s and early 1930s as “The Sweetie Man”. He always carried a pocketful of sweets which he dispensed as he walked through the village. He was an organist and was responsible for getting the new organ for the Chapel. He died in 1933, aged 78 years.

In Cheltenham Road, next to Charles Jarrett’s bakery and Walter Ingles’ yard was Fred Irvine’s carpentry shop. Bert Jeffrey still had his riding school next to The Malt House and the old established veterinary practice of Renfrews as now, operated at Croft Villa. In Leamington Road, May Keyte ran her little general store, Mrs Lowehad her sweet shop and Lawrence Keyte based his decorating business. Mr Beale, where I once worked, still had Midland Stores next to George Powell’s shoe shop, and Mrs Darley ran the Milestone Guesthouse next to the Old Police Station.

Though frowned upon by many, Morris the fishmongers of Evesham had a shop next to the Midland Bank. Bill Stanley ran the grocers in Bibsworth Avenue and Charles Smith had his upholstery workshop at the rear of the High Street. Charles Turner had a garage and car hire business at “U-Tree” and Jim Watts had his carrier’s business, and on the corner of Leamington Road where Arthur Morris’ greengrocery business and newsagents shop once was there was now a Co-operative Society shop. Next to this was Mr Wilson, the butcher, whose shop was later taken over and run by the Co-op.

Copyright: Maurice Andrews MBE, 1979