A choice of grocer’s shops in 1958

Rowena Campbell Trigger’s description of Market Lavington in 1958 noted that there were several grocers. She later went on to list the shops, which included three grocer’s, plus Devizes Co-op and she also noted the post office as PO & Grocer. So it would seem that provisions could have been purchased from five different suppliers.

Of these, only the Co-op remains selling groceries in the village in 2021. It has traded in the same premises for a very long time and would have been in the same building when Rowena did her survey.

This photograph clearly predates Rowena’s visit, but shows the shop being run as the Devizes Co-operative Society then.

So, where were the other three grocers mentioned by Rowena?

One would have been on Church Street, in a building that had once been a chapel, but later run as a grocery shop known as Potter’s Stores and later as a Vivo shop, a Spar shop and Mr Dempsey’s shop.

We do not have a date for this postcard, but the clothes of the lady on the pavement with a child on a large trike and the man on the ladder wearing braces suggest that it might have been about the right era for Rowena’s list. Potter’s Stores are between the ladders and the old school sign with its torch of learning symbol. Our 1954-55 Devizes and District Directory lists A F Potter on Church Street and the 1966 issue of the same directory gives G S Prowse at Potter’s Stores on Church Street. ( A Miss Potter had married a Mr Prowse, so it was still being run by the same family.) So that was one of Rowena’s three grocery shops. (See also Potters Stores – 1950s.) This picture also locates the furniture shop on Rowena’s list. It was Hussey’s on the corner of White Street and Church Street.

Another one of the grocer’s shops would have belonged to Harry Hobbs. His address in both those directories was The Stores, High Street and he ran that shop from 1934-1968, having had to give up his work as a bus driver after being injured in an accident. (See Harry Hobbs, From Harry Hobbs’ Shop, Another Harry Hobbs advert and Another advert from Harry Hobbs’ shop.) We have further evidence of his shop being one of those spotted by Rowena in A receipt from Harry Hobbs. This building is a private home now, familiar to local residents for the Christmas displays in the old shop windows.

Rowena’s third grocery shop was called Central Stores and was in the row of buildings between the present post office and the Co-op. W G Little was at Central Stores on High Street in both the 1954-5 and the 1966 directories.

In this picture from the 1930s, the shop is the one with a large ice cream cone outside, just near the boy on the pavement in his toy car. (On the extreme left is a baker’s shop, where the present post office is located.)

We will consider some of the other shops on Rowena’s list on another occasion.

2 Responses to “A choice of grocer’s shops in 1958”

  1. James Perry Says:

    My family used Mr. Little. Unlike today’s shops which are self service, Little’s was a small shop with a counter to the left of the door running from the window most of the way to the rear of the shop. There were then steps which went to the back room. Customers stayed in the space in front of the door which was little wider than the door and had if I remember correctly shelves on the wall behind the customers. There were shelves also on the wall behind the counter and the shop was crammed full of groceries.

    You had to ask for what you wanted. A lot of fresh groceries were on display but others were towards the back or in the back room or under the counter. I always got the impression as a child that “special” groceries i.e. the rarer ones (remember this was just after rationing ended and you could still not guarantee that some things would always be in stock) were kept under the counter or in the back room and not on display. Mr. Little also delivered and we had a weekly delivery for a lot of things as we were half a mile from the shop and had no car then. Very nice people though.

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