Crowle High Street

Words by:
David Robinson
Featured in:
February 2011

Looking at some Edwardian views of the High Street in Crowle in my postcard collection, I decided to check the occupants in the 1909 directory (that being the date stamp on one of the cards). The result was remarkable.
The shops, businesses and professions – over sixty! – would meet virtually all the needs of the people of Crowle, population then about 2800.

There were four butchers, three baker/confectioners, three grocers, a fruiterer and a fishmonger plus three general shopkeepers. For clothing there was a choice of five clothier/draper/tailors, with a milliner (Miss Lizzie Staniforth), a corset maker and three boot and shoemakers. Two physician/surgeons (Archibald Hamilton and James Webster) and a chemist (Nathaniel Brunyee) attended to their health needs. The three vets (Thomas Batty, John Bradley and Joseph Sharpe) probably spent more of their time on farms than with pets (only two farmers lived on the street).

Also at their service was a hairdresser (Mrs Phoebe Goodison) whose shop later carried the sign ‘Gentlemen’s Hairdressing Parlors’, an ironmonger (John Batty), a blacksmith (Henry Johnson), two joiner/cabinet makers, a wheelwright (William Maw), two saddlers, a builder (Charles Fox & Son) and two painter/decorators. Other services were a photographer (Smith Couch), two nursery/seedsmen (one was Mary Sargentson, whose husband Elias was a draper), and two cycle agents (Robert Tonge Brunyee and George Wressell).

Also along the street were two firms of solicitors (Sharpe & Son and Alfred Cundall), Becketts Old Bank, the Post Office, the Crowle Advertiser (Isle of Axholme Printing Co) published on Fridays, a printer (Henry Eyre), a billposter (Clarence Fish), a flour dealer, an agricultural implement agent (Thomas Oughtibridge) and the works of rope and twine maker Edwin Shillito.

Henry Carr Wressell (listed as a joiner) was also a carrier, working to Keadby and Amcotts on Tuesday, West Butterwick on Thursdays and Doncaster on Saturdays. The directory does not record which pubs he worked from, but there were two on High Street – the George and Dragon and the White Hart. Plus the Darby and Joan Commercial Hotel, proprietor John Thomas East, which had stabling, as shown on the postcard. It was the only hotel in Lincolnshire with the name. How did it get its name? Surely not for specialising in putting up the elderly?

A cartoon from a yellowed newspaper cutting of unknown origin, sent to me by a friend. The cutting included a fragment of text: ‘Charles Dickens described Market Rasen as “the sleepiest town in England”. Far from being embarrassed by the tag, the local tourist office includes it in their catalogue of free plugs. It’s still true and they’re proud of it.’ There was no date on the cutting, but what about today?

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