Nostalgia: A drowned grocer and wine laced with acid

More shops in Old Stratton Street NUMBER 77 High Street, originally 1 Stratton Street, was an ancient building with timber framing, used as a private residence until 1825. After this, Joseph Robarts, butcher and grocer, was the first shopkeeper followed

More shops in Old Stratton Street

NUMBER 77 High Street, originally 1 Stratton Street, was an ancient building with timber framing, used as a private residence until 1825.

After this, Joseph Robarts, butcher and grocer, was the first shopkeeper followed by Walter Robarts, who later moved to a shop opposite.

The next occupant was James Ebsworth, grocer and clothier. He traded until about 1885 and was followed by James Ell, grocer and provisions merchant.


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John Barlow took over the business in 1902.

He attended the magistrate's court in 1914 charged with selling cowslip wine adulterated with salicylic acid.

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They fined him one shilling plus costs of seven shillings and sixpence.

In present day terms this totals 42 and a half pence, so it was not treated as a serious offence.

John Barlow was very well known in the town and stayed for 30 years until 1932 when he retired to Bury St Edmunds.

Albert Ager, the next grocer, died in tragic circumstances.

He was last seen alive on the afternoon of Monday, September 3, 1934, when he left the shop to pay in the weekly takings.

His drowned body was found in the river at Holme Mills the same evening. The reason for his death was never discovered.

Benjamin Jemmett, who came from Southsea, took over the shop in 1937 and he stayed for 27 years until 1964 when he retired.

Then Bob Brookes opened a DIY shop with Cliff Crook as manager. The shop closed following a fire in 1967.

The rear portion was partially rebuilt with a new frontage but retained the main fabric.

Walter Rook opened a house furnishing shop in 1977 and his wife Ada Rook carried on after he died in 1989.

When Spectra Carpets took over in 1996 they expected to be there for at least another 10 years, but had to leave when the shop was sold to ASDA in order to provide access to their new superstore.

In 2003 Roomz Furniture took a temporary tenancy but had to leave in 2005 when the shop was demolished.

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