by Alice Showell of Haslingfield
Probably the earliest shop in Haslingfield was the one in Church St. opposite the Church, at the bottom of Chapel Hill. A shop here is shown in the 19th century censuses, owned by the Loveridge family. There was probably also a Post Office in the 19th century, but in Church St. and not at its present site.
Of the 2 shops with which Bernard Showell was concerned, 42/44 High St. was the oldest. The property must have started out as 2 semi-detached houses which were later converted into a shop with living accommodation.
There was originally an old thatched pub, called ( I think ) the ‘Bushel and Strike’ on the site of the Fountain Lane shop. It was pulled down, probably in the 1950s, by P. B. Walkers, Builders of Shelford and the present shop, with living accommodation over was put up in its place.
So, when Bernard and I moved to Haslingfield in Dec. 1963 to take over 42/44 High St., there were 4 general stores in Haslingfield.
– The Post Office, by then at the junction of New Rd. and Barton Rd., run by Mrs. Wright, after the death of her husband.
– The shop in Church St., still in the hands of the Loveridge family, but then run by a very old lady and, to all intents and purposes, dormant.
– 2, Fountain Lane, run by Mr. and Mrs. Carter as a lock-up shop, with the flat above separately leased.
– 42/44 High St., which had been run by Mr. and Mrs. Wilsher as a general store, with a daily delivery round in Haslingfield and Harlton, since, I think, the late 1930s.
There was also a lock-up butcher’s shop in High St., run by 2 brothers, Robert and Roger Mann. This also had a delivery round in the surrounding area.
The Post Office changed hands first, in 1964, when Trevor and Isabel Saunders took it over and ran it for 17 years, until their retirement. It was then taken by another couple who have also recently retired. I am not sure who has it now.
The shop in Church St. was taken by Mr. and Mrs. Green, probably about 1965/6, and became a viable business again. It was later taken by Mr. and Mrs. Chudy, until Mr. Chudy’s death some years later. I can’t remember the name of the next proprietor, although he ran it for several years until it was bought by Mr. Butler in the late 1970s or early 1980s. As far as I know, Mr. Butler is still there. ( This is not the Mr. Butler who formerly ran 2, Fountain Lane, although I believe they are related. ).
2, Fountain Lane was run as a counter-service shop by Mr. and Mrs. Kybird but when it was taken over by Mr. Butler and Mrs. Barrett, they turned it into a self-service shop, which proved very popular in the village and soon, this change and a change in the main centre of population in the village, took custom away from the older established shop in High St.
However, when Mr. Butler and Mrs. Barrett wanted to sell the shop, only a few years later, they couldn’t find a purchaser, so Bernard took it over. For a short time he ran both shops, one as counter-service and one as self-service, but customers were increasingly reluctant to travel further for counter service. So, in 1972 or 1973, 42/44 High St. closed as a shop. We continued to live there until 1975, when the lease reverted to the Wilshers and the property has been living accommodation ever since.
2, Fountain Lane continued as a self-service shop. The delivery round, which Bernard had run from the High St. shop, continued but was no longer every day. In fact, the number of customers who wanted their purchases delivered got smaller year by year until, by the time of his retirement, there were only about half a dozen deliveries on Friday each week.
In 1989 Bernard took on the sale of newspapers, which had previously been supplied in the village only from a delivery round by a separate trader. This boosted the turnover considerably, but the business still proved difficult to sell on his retirement. However, it was eventually sold to Mr. and Mrs. North but, unfortunately, they could not make it pay and the shop closed for a while about 2 years later. It was reopened by a local couple, Mr. and Mrs. Poole who ran it for a short time and then sold it to an Asian couple, who, as far as I know, still have it.
The butcher’s shop closed, probably in the late 1980s. But Haslingfield, the last time I heard, still had a Post Office and 2 shops, something that not many villages enjoy nowadays.
[Alas, no Post Office now – J.B.)
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