Nostalgia: Our ancient high street

Numbers 7-9 THIS distinctive property could have been built around 1840. John Reed, cabinet maker and decorator, was there in 1851 followed by Henry Chapman in 1891. From about 1904 it was a boot and shoe repairers, firstly J Thomason and Son, then from

Numbers 7-9

THIS distinctive property could have been built around 1840. John Reed, cabinet maker and decorator, was there in 1851 followed by Henry Chapman in 1891.

From about 1904 it was a boot and shoe repairers, firstly J Thomason and Son, then from 1914 until 1944, William Thomason.

J Boggas Ltd, boot and shoe repairers, then took over.


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Then came a complete change of use in 1966 when a local newspaper moved there from Shortmead Street.

Number nine, Rylstone House, was owned by James Weston, a grocer and general merchant, who had his business elsewhere in the town.

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By 1851 his widow Elizabeth Weston occupied the house, employing a governess and four servants.

In 1883 James Weston jr sold it to James Daniel.

Dr John Emmerson and later Dr Bridger used it as their surgeries. A dentist practised in rooms above.

Edward Dodimead purchased the 16-roomed house in 1919 and moved his furniture business there, from number five, after extensive alterations.

His daughter Winifred married Robert Willson in 1927 and they took over the business in 1934 and the couple carried on the tradition of first-class furnishers. They further expanded, adding a 100-foot long showroom at the rear. Bob Willson was also a renowned organist, pianist and singer.

They retired around 1960, handing over to their son Robert Willson.

The shop was sold to Newday Furnishing Group in 1967, with Arthur Mitchell as manager. Newday closed down in 1983.

The property was adapted to form Glendale Shopping Mall as a shop and office complex in 1985.

By March 1987, after the Herald newspaper vacated, only Lesly Elliott, ladies' hairdressers, and Selectasports remained.

The owners planned to demolish this fine building and build six flats.

It was not pulled down, but St Andrew's Close was built behind in Church Street.

Taylor's Estate Agents currently occupies three shops. The building behind Sir Vannahs, hairdressers, was at one time a separate private house.

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