"A Little History of Bottesford"
Pages from a lost manuscript
Sue and David Middleton
We are most grateful for permission to transcribe and publish this fascinating insight into shops and trades in the village around the 1890’s.
The anonymous author 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 their late 80’s or early 90’s at the time of writing.
We have reproduced the original manuscript. The manuscript is then transcribed as written with added photographs and other information drawn from trade directories and census material of the period. Checking such sources reveals just how accurate the author’s recollections are.
Mr Andrew Goodson found these pages 5 and 6 from what must have been a longer manuscript, in documents kept by his mother – Mrs. Maisie Goodson. If anyone has access to the other pages please do get in touch.
Transcription and notes
(C/O = Grantham Co-operative Society)
“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 Co/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.”
All these shops are identified in the 1899 Wright’s Directory:
Miss Elizabeth Geeson, grocer, Church St
John Sutton, grocer, Market Street
Robert John Marriot, draper and insurance agent, Market Street
Samuel Levick, baker and confectioner, High Street
William Spalton, ironmonger. High Street
William Sutton, grocer and fellmonger, High Street (fellmonger – removal of hair from animal hides in preparation for tanning. Given that there were five butchers in the village at that time there would have been quite a supply of animal hides for processing)
Edward White. chemist and sub-postmaster, High Street
Samuel King, draper, Chapel Street
Miss Alice Richards, dress maker, High Street.