Not Forgetting - Chapter 3 Part 1: Bottesford Commerce, change and continuity
Preamble, 'A Little History', businesses in the 1920s
David Middleton and Sue Middleton
This is the longest chapter in ‘Not Forgetting’, and for convenience is divided here into three parts describing businesses street by street, following this introductory post.
Bottesford has a history of self-sufficiency in which the number and variety of local shops and trades have played a vital part. There has been both continuity of commercial activity and a gradual evolution as individual premises have changed ownership and use. Bottesford now has far fewer shops than before, but is still a centre for local shopping and trades people.
This chapter describes commercial activities in the village within the last 120 years. It focuses on the historic centre of the village encompassed by The Cross, Market Street, Church Street, Queen Street, Chapel Street, High Street and Albert Street, as illustrated in the 19th Century map. Much of the information has been contributed by local people, but 19th Century censuses have also been valuable, as have commercial directories published between the mid-19th Century and mid-20th Century.
“A little history of Bottesford”: pages from a lost manuscript
In 2007/8, Mr Andrew Goodson found in documents kept by his mother, Mrs. Maisie Goodson, pages five and six from what must have been a longer manuscript. Called “A little history of Bottesford”, it provides a fascinating insight into shops and trades in the village around the 1890s. The anonymous author writes that s/he left the village in 1899 and was prompted to write on noting the closure of Rose Dyer’s shop in an article in the Grantham Journal. This shop closed in 1973. The author is therefore remembering back eighty years to the 1890’s and must have been in his or her late 80s or early 90s at the time of writing. It is transcribed as written.
Rose Dyer gave up her General Stores at the right-hand of the T-junction of Queen Street and Chapel Street in 1973. Kath Randall was the previous shopkeeper and is well remembered for being able to find items in a shop crammed to the ceiling with goods.
“A Little History of Bottesford.
I was very interested to read in the Grantham Journal that Mrs. Rose Dyer was giving up her General Stores in Chapel Street, Bottesford, the building itself has a long history as a shop although the exact date is not known. Eighty years ago I remember it as a private house and living their was Mr. Lane, a baker, who let the two front rooms to the Grantham Coop Society who made them into one large shop, the front door to enter in, quite a super stores in those days. Mr. Lane had the back of the house for is business. The Co/Society did not stay in business long. I think only for a year or two.
At that time Mr. J.D. Robinson had set up business as a butcher, is shop was in Chapel St. (a place at one time they kept animals in) opposite Mr. Lane bread shop. He did the place up and put in a window and carried on, killing taking place in a building in the yard of the Mill House in which he lived. As the C/O had now left he took their place and put a window in the shop facing into Chapel St., and gave up his other shop.
At the corner of Chapel St., I think its now called Devon Lane, lived a Mr. Fisher he had a horse and waggonette business he died, and Mr. Lane moved into house and carried on his baking business and also making pork pies calling himself the pork pie king.
From now things settled down. Next to the Coffee House lived Mr. Wood a grocer and seed shop, old age and wanting a smaller place took the little house facing the cross, now the barbers. Mr. Woods house and shop were taken by Mr. Copeland as a ladies outfitting dresses, hats, shoes etc. Just before all this going on, John Thomas Lane who lived opposite the Cross in the double fronted house with an overgrown yew tree each site the path, one could not see the house, both Mr. and Mrs. Lane was very old, strange and queer, Kate Ann look after them, eventually they died. A Grantham gentleman bought the property, after the Lane’s lost a law case over some trouble with the Brewers of the Bull. After the house was repaired up, a Mr. Spikes and family lived there, he was a traveller for a Nottingham firm.
After a few years they left then Mr. Copeland wanting a smaller place with a shop took it and had the right hand front room with the new piece built over the garden into a shop.
Then J. D. Robinson took over his shop and house, pulled down the middle part which was thatche, had it brick built, had a slaugther (slaughter) house built, also a bake house. Mr. J. Martin was baker for pork pies. After it was all finished he gave up the Queen St. and Chapel St. shop and the family all came to live in the new abode and I attended at the opening party. I think that when he started the butchering business he used to have a certain amount of beef come from Grantham, only killed mutton.
Soon after, on June 6th, 1899, I left the village.
When the C/O first started these are shops in the village and it was only a small half the size as it is today. Miss Geeson, Church St., J. Sutton, the Cross, Mr. Marriot, Mr. Levick, W. Spalton, W. Sutton, Mr. White, Miss Richards, S. King all had their own customers.”
Village Businesses in the 1920s
Examples of advertisements for Bottesford shops and businesses from the 1920s.
The adverts reproduced on this page are from two sources. One is a booklet published in the 1920s, ‘How to Spend a Holiday in the Vale of Belvoir’, by V.G. Collett and J. Whitehead, after Mr Collett had retired from the village school (Courtesy of Mr David Wright). The other is the programme of ‘The Pirates of Penzance’, performed by the Bottesford Amateur Operatic Society in 1926 (Courtesy of Mr Godfrey Sutton).
Allen’s Tea Garden was situated on Easthorpe Lane by the old Washdyke Bridge. The Vineries were situated on Belvoir Road.