A History of Wye Village Shops & Businesses

10/05/2017

This is a  new page and it is our intention to build on it. It won’t be instant but do keep looking in.

All content is from living memory.

5) Taylor’s Garage

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Kentish Express Advertisement July 25th 1969

Taylors Garage

Taylor’s Garage was owned by the Lepper Family from approximately the 1960’s to early 80’s  It was then sold to partners the late Brian Hern and Alan Heron. The site is currently a housing development in Bridge Street known as Twysdon Court. On the left hand side of our photograph taken in the 80’s can be seen the corner of what is currently Mary Hemsley’s Curtain and Soft Furnishing shop. During the Lepper’s time Mary’s shop was used by the Garage as their office, reception and spare parts shop. (Formerly this shop had been a pub known as The Swan).

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Partners Brian Hern & Alan Heron. Also in the blue Jacket is Sarah Andrews who served on the petrol pumps.

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The Petrol delivery was always overseen by Brian pictured on top of the tanker whilst Alan kept a watchful eye!

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Whilst remembering Tayor’s Garage it brings back memories of villagers who passed by daily on their way up from Little Chequers to the shops.

In the left hand photograph is Kathleen Cole who was then Warden of the Luckley House Sheltered Housing scheme. She lived on site with her husband in a flat provided by the Council for the Warden. Pictured with Mrs Cole is Stewart Dunk who was at one time a shepherd for Wye College. In his retirement he delivered newspapers well into his eighties for the Wye newsagents known and owned by Geerings.

The right hand photograph shows Bob and Sybil Cheeseman. They were a familiar sight as they walked regularly past the garage. Bob in his jaunty tartan cap complete with a red bobble. He always walked about six paces behind Sybil which most villagers found entertaining. They were both staunch members of the Methodist Church and their processional walk could be seen every Sunday evening as they made their way to the Chapel.

Taylor’s Garage was a thriving business and later Brian’s son Nigel joined his Father and Alan. Sadly Brian died and both Nigel and Brian continued with the business until such times they sold the site for development. The age of the Supermarket had arrived and Petrol sales were affected.

Although Brian, Alan and Nigel did not live in Wye, they were very much part of the Community and joined in the WBA events. Alan became the first Chairman of The Wye Business Association with Nigel as his Vice Chairman.

4) Wye Bakery 22 Church Street.

04/05/2017

Wye said goodbye to Rumpus on the Green  Saturday 30th April 2017. A popular clothing agency run successfully by Jak Mansell. This was a lively and friendly business based at 22 Church Street. It certainly added sparkle to our village especially  its window displays.

Twenty Two Church Street was for many years been a bakery. In 1960 Mr G. Hatton owned the Bakery and sold the business to Mr J Small who in turn sold it to Mr Bob Young. He closed down in the late 90’s -2,000. The shop stood empty until Mary Braithwaite and Nigel Ings opened it once again as a bakery in 2012 after a tremendous amount of restoration.

Mary & Nigel

  Mary & Nigel

They based the bakery and counter at the rear of the premises and the customers used the side passage to queue eagerly for their bread. The village was pleased to have its Bakery back again.

The shop itself was rented out to Jak Mansell who opened her dress agency Rumpus on the Green March 2012.

Wye Bakery 1991 (2) Bakery

Wye Bakery 1991                                                                   Wye Bakery 1998

In 2014 Mary & Nigel sought a new project moving up to the Isle of Luing Oban Scotland handing over the Bakery to Pauline Hickson who, following the closure of Rumpus on the Green took on the shop bringing her wonderful display of pastries and freshly baked bread  back onto the front line of Church Street.

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Pauline Hickson

3) Lee & Son

 

Lee & Son

Lee & Son on the junction of Church Street and Bridge Street (Photograph the late Mrs Harbour Little Chequers courtesy of her daughter Pam Harbour)

Lee & Son Ad (2)

Advertisement from The Kentish Express July 1969

Lee & Son was an extremely fine soft furnishing shop and as one can see from the advertisement was used to dealing with a mixed clientele. The advertisement does however boast of doing business with the more grander houses in the area.

Editor: We remember Mr Lee as a very elegant gentleman booted and suited ready to make his customers feel special. The shop closed in the eighties and the already existing and popular gift shop ‘The Gift Horse’ situated at 11 Church Street Street moved into the larger premises of what was Lee & Son. The Gift Horse was a business owned by Mrs Christoffenson  who with her husband owned and ran Spring Grove Primary School in Harville Road. Mrs Christoffenson employed Mrs Jill Moffit to run her Gift Shop. Jill was an excellent businesswoman who understood retail very well. Later she added to the Gift side of the business by creating a boutique for ladies in the basement selling quality clothing. This was something Jill was much practiced at from her experience in earlier days working in a ladies clothes shop in Ipswich.

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  Jill Moffit

 

The upstairs of the shop was divided into bedsits and rented out to students of Wye College. Again, Jill ran this side of the business very well with firm rules laid in place.

When Mrs Christoffenson  died in the nineties her daughter closed the business down and sold the building to a developer. He created three flats upstairs and a café where the shop had once been. He himself ran the café for a while and then leased it to Pietro who was from Sicily. Pietro was popular with the village and produced quality food.

Bay Laurel Brasserie

Later when Pietro decided to work in Canterbury  the Café/Restaurant was leased again and the business became known as Bay Laurel. The gentleman running the business was Asian and when asked the meaning of the name he explained that his family wanted something of their ancestry in the name. His ancestors had owned a tea garden and the hedges surrounding the property were laurel and they used bay to fuse the tea. It was an unusual setup with the owner traveling from Guildford daily and not arriving until 11am. In addition to lunches, the captive market for this business was early breakfasts and morning coffee! It was no surprise to the village that this business sadly did not take off and went back on the market.

Happily Howard and Victoria took over the premises renaming it Wye Coffee Shop & Kitchen.

Cafe 2

Fortunately for Wye Howard and Victoria also licensees of The Hooden Horse at Willsborough have pitched this business just right. They are open early for breakfasts, Morning Coffee and excellent lunches, not to mention great afternoon teas. This is just what the doctor ordered for our village and we are pleased to announce it is strongly supported by the local people as well as visitors. Great food, great prices with friendly and willing staff.

Far from the days of Lee & Son but how wonderful it is this premises still survives as a successful business”

2) BUGDENS OF WYE

 

Bugdens Advert 1969 (3)

The advertisement above is from a copy of the Kentish Express dated July 25th 1969.

Bugden's of Wye

Bugden’s of Wye 10-12 Church Street (Photograph the late Mrs Harbour Little Chequers courtesy of her daughter Pam Harbour)

Bugden’s was located at 10 -12 Church Street and is now a complex of private residences.

Editor: Moving to Wye from London in 1980, we found Bugden’s  an absolute delight here in the countryside. It was owned by Mr & Mrs Dennis Woods who employed the dedicated staff that had worked there for years. This was a specialised delicatessen and grocery. The gentlemen wore stiff white aprons which attached to their top shirt button. Their shirt sleeves were held in position with flexible golden arm bands. They wore white elasticated sleeve protectors  which slipped over their wrists and were pulled up to their elbows. It was like going back in time.

One staff member Peter Rumley, a middle aged balding gentleman made for an eccentric character in the village of Wye. He wore a thick tweed jacket and grey flannels together with shiny brown lace up shoes and offset this rather conservative look with  chunky gold studs in each ear (unusual for a gentleman to wear a pair) he later added to his appearance a gold nose stud having obtained permission from his employer first. He would cycle to work from his home in Little Chequers to the shop. His cycle clips added to his unusual appearance.

Bugden’s appeared to be from a time gone by. The wonderful smell of fresh coffee beans filled the air upon entering the store. Vinegar was served from a cask and the smell from the cold meat counter tempted the tastes buds. It was fascinating watching the staff as they expertly sliced the meat on the big slicing machine  placing each slice in between separate sheets of grease proof paper before they placed them in a paper bag. Very popular was the tray of ham bits that fell from the machine. A bag of these was a very good buy.

The advertisement above states that Bugden’s were ‘ proud to offer a high class service’. This was of course very apparent and their customers felt valued.

Upon Mr & Mrs Wood’s retirement in the 80’s,  Bugden’s sadly closed its doors and was converted to very attractive holiday accommodation. Later it became residential providing some  original flats and converted outbuildings without changing the character.

 

1) SUTHERLAND STORES

 

Sutherland Storers

Sutherland Stores 1980 – 1999 – 145 Bridge Street Wye.  (Pre Super Stores in Ashford Area)

145 Bridge Street

145 Bridge Street is on the right opposite the former Taylor’s Garage now private houses known as Twysdon Court.

Information recalled from living memory.

Note the shop front at this time only has a window,  the door was round the side. Today the door is at the front with a window either side.  This photograph was taken pre 1967 when it was owned by Mr Fryer who ran a shoe and boot repairers from here. Some Wye residents remember going down to Lady Joanna Thornhill school as children and seeing Mr Fryer in the window with a mouth full of tacks repairing leather goods. They also talk of smelling the leather as they walked by. Mr Fryer lived in the house next door, number 147. There is evidence of a doorway from the house into the shop.

Later the shop became part of 141 – 145 Bridge Street which is the house behind. (At this time these were two little one up and one down farm worker’s cottages.) The cottages and shop were then owned (1950’s) by Miss Violet Hudson a member of the Hudson soap family. She lived and resided at Coombe Farm Hastingleigh.

She rented 141 to an Irish immigrant family and 145 to Mr & Mrs Jordan a local couple. Mr Jordan worked as a driver for Taylor’s Garage opposite.

Miss Hudson used to come down to the village in the mornings and leave her milk and cream in the shop unmanned. People would come and buy this leaving their money in a tin which she collected every afternoon. Honesty was a key factor here.

Miss Hudson decided she wanted to convert the two cottages into a 50’s style bungalow. Permission was not granted by the Council as they felt this was not within keeping of the village. The lady was by various people’s recollections  rather eccentric. In retaliation she brought some of her farm workers down to Wye and got them to smash the roof off of the cottages and left them in a derelict state. It remained so until she died.

In 1967 Miss Hudson’s beneficiaries sold the derelict property to Mr Norman Spearman and his wife Eileen. Mr Spearman had retired as the village Policeman and had until then been living in one of the Police houses opposite Oxenturn Road.  Together with another local gentleman Mr Jack Hartley, they worked on the property turning it into a single storey house for the Spearman’s retirement.

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Kentish Express Advertisement July 25th 1969

Mr & Mrs Spearman did a floristry course and opened the shop as a florist. It was known as ‘The Garden Shop’. They added to the business later by turning it into a little general store still carrying on their floristry work. They provided flowers for the local weddings and funerals and also handmade the Christmas wreaths collecting moss from Kings Wood. During this time Mr Spearman also became a Borough Councillor.

In 1980 the Spearman’s sold the property to Peter and Ann Sutherland who moved down from London. The shop became known as Sutherland Stores. Back then there were five other General Stores plus the Co Op. With no Supermarkets in the area at this time, there was plenty of trade to go around.  The Sutherland’s specialised in Greengrocery introducing new exciting fruit and vegetables to Wye. The dinner party era had found its way to the village and surrounding hamlets. The Wife of Bath restaurant were also wanting to try out the more exotic produce and so became very good customers of Sutherland Stores.

When Sutherland Stores first opened it’s doors the Co Op and some of the other shops did not open on a Sunday. Also it was traditional for the shops in Wye to close on a Wednesday afternoon. This was an opportunity  for the Sutherlands by staying open. They also introduced late opening and kept open until 7.30pm every evening. Until then this had been unheard of in Wye and was a bit of a novelty.

The first late opening was a winter’s evening and in the darkness of Wye, light beamed out from Sutherland’s Store. It was so unusual that a passing Police car stopped to enquire as to whether everything was ok.

As time rolled on the Co Op decided to open on a Sunday which affected this opportunity for Sutherland Stores. A new idea was needed to make up the loss of takings. Still with no Supermarkets there was no fresh fish. Remembering how in London on a Sunday, vendors would stand outside the pubs selling shell-fish, the Sutherlands hit on the idea of stripping out their shop on a Saturday evening and filling the window with shell-fish. cod’s roe and of course kippers for breakfast. News soon travelled and Sunday mornings especially were very busy in this department. People even ordered their breakfast kippers! It did mean of course that come Sunday evening, the shop had to be scrubbed out and restored to its normal practice minus the smell of fish!

Taylor’s Garage opposite was good for trade as customers used to fill up with petrol and pop across the road to shop.

The rise of the Supermarkets  became a way of life for us all but it did affect village businesses and it was eventually not viable to continue with the shop. Taylors Garage followed and later closed.

Ann & Peter had a break from running a shop for a few years turning their time to house minding, gardening and looking after people’s dogs.

Their next venture was to reopen the shop in 2004 selling Gifts and Art. This is currently known as Ticketyboo.http://www.ticketyboowye.org/

Sutherland Carrier Bag

The last remaining carrier bag

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