A Bill from Mr James

Once again, today, we look at one of those marvellous bills from the past – bills that tell us so much.

This one was sent out by W James and Sons, bakers and grocers of High Street, Market Lavington. We know they were at number 1, now the Post Office in the village.

Mr James had a bill head with an advert for a product. No doubt this allowed him to save money on printing and it gave his bills a striking appearance.

The bill, dated September 1938 was issued to Mr Neate. This would have been Norman Neate who was, by then, quite an elderly man for he was born in 1869. Because of that different way of life in pre-war days we can gauge something of Norman Neate’s life.  These days we expect to pay for most goods as we buy them. It looks as though Mr Neate was sent quarterly bills with records kept by Mr James the shop keeper for this bill contains items bought from September 1938 through to January 1939.

A 1938 bill from James the bakers of Market Lavington

A 1938 bill from James the bakers of Market Lavington

We imagine Mr Neate was a poultry keeper for his purchases are of meal and sharps of different qualities. Just what is meant by ‘sharps’ is open to some doubt, but we believe it is a lower grade flour with quite a high proportion of bran.

Interestingly, one of the James family became a poultry farmer himself – in Market Lavington.

Once again, we have the trust situation. Norman ran up a bill for £3-2-3 in the period covered – worth at least £160 in current terms – quite a sum to be waiting for.

Mr Norman Neate died in 1954.

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