[Employment - Retail]

Retail

Many of the shops that had plied for trade during the period of military presence in the village closed down once the army had left the area. However, there were other, longer-term shops that served the Fovant residents before and after that period and all would have offered an alternative to working as agricultural labourers or domestics.

[ Burton lorries] Trade directories are useful for informing us about what trades were carried on in the village and by whom. For example, in 1867, Mr. Barrett was a plumber and glazier, William Foyle a tailor and Alexander Turner a shoemaker. By 1907 there was a draper, an insurance agent and a coal merchant. In 1923 a fishmonger was listed. Frank Targett’s butcher’s shop, originally in Back Street (now Brook Street), subsequently moved to the High Street. Back Street also housed a coal merchant, a cobbler and Tom Burton’s haulage business. The village had at least two blacksmiths.

Ernest Wyatt’s milk depot was at the bottom of Moor Hill. Little Barrow, a private house, was built on the site of Lever’s licensed slaughterhouse and carpenter’s workshop in the High Street. A cabinetmaker practised his art in what is now the Youth Club. Norman’s small general shop was further up the High Street, as was Truckle’s sweet shop.

The Village Stores

[The National Stores] Nearer the top end of the High Street was the National Stores which, in sequence, became Sid Wyatt senior’s newsagent shop, the Handy Shop and lastly an upholstery business. None of these businesses still exists, but all in their time presented village-based opportunities for employment, as did Cowdry’s Grocers and Bakery, which, in the form of our Village Stores, is still going strong. Originally situated at the northern end of the High Street, it was established towards the latter part of the 19th century by Solomon and Rhoda Cowdry. [Vine Cottage - site of Village Store]

The list below refers to the price of goods at Cowdry’s shop in 1870. The last item on the third line from the bottom, reading ‘Baking a tart’, is also of particular interest. Many of the villagers at that time did all their cooking over an open fire and therefore had no means of baking food, so they took advantage of the service offered by the local baker.

Sugar 4d. per lb. Lump Sugar 6d. per lb. Tea 3s.0d. per lb.
Butter 1s.2d. per lb. Lard 1s.0d. per lb. Starch 5d. per lb.
Cheese 9d. per lb. Currants 4½d. per lb. Coffee 1s.8d. per lb.
Ham 10d. per lb. Bacon 10d., 8½d. per lb. Pork 7½d. per lb.
Peas 3d. per qt. Flour 1s.1d. per gal. Bread 1s.1d. per gal.
Candles 6d. per lb. Composite candles (for chapel) 9d. per lb. Plain Cake 6d
Mustard 2s.0d. per lb. Potatoes 10s.0d. per sack Vinegar 5d. per pt.
Plum Cake 1s.3d. Meat Pie 1s.10d. Lamp Oil 3½d. per pt.
Snuff 4½d per oz. Tobacco 4s.8d. per lb. Night-lights 6½d. per box
Coal 4s.0d. per cwt. Soap 9½d. per bar Baking a Tart (for customers) ½d.
Scrubbing Brush 11½d. Calico 5½d., 6d., 8½d. per yard Stockings 6d., 7d., 1s.2d., 1s.6d., 2s.8d.
Children's Socks 6d. and 10d. Scarf 3½d. and 10½d. Boots 6s.11d., 9s.0d., 10s.0d.

After Clay

The Cowdry’s son Ernest and his sister Eliza, eventually took over the business. They moved the shop to the top end of the High Street, where it still is …

The shop may still be there at the southern end of the High Street but obviously there have been many changes of shopkeeper since the days of the Cowdry family. The following list of subsequent keepers of our village shop will undoubtedly have errors and omissions. Please help us to fill in the gaps, and feel free to inform us where corrections are necessary. Dates would also be helpful.

As far as we know at present, the Cowdry family were followed by:

[Jukes Store ]
Juke's Store in the early 20th Century.
[Fovant Stores - 1980s]
Fovant Stores in the 1980s
[Fovant Stores - 2009]
Fovant Stores in 2009 (with Nabhi, Rajesh & Geeta's daughter).

[Rajinder, Harpreet and Kajal]
Rajinder, Harpreet and Kajal.
Our current village shopkeepers, Rajinder and Harpreet Kumar, ably assisted by Rajinder's brother Rajesh and his wife Geeta, took over the shop in July 2007.

[Geeta and Rajesh]
Geeta and Rajesh.

Mr Braybrook – the butcher

The following is an extract from “Meat Marketing February 25 1961”

A stone-built, red-tiled little shop in the heart of the tiny Wiltshire village of Fovant is believed by MR. AND MRS RONALD BRAYBROOK, who run it, to be the smallest butcher's premises in the county.

[Ron Braybrook] Genial Mr. Braybrook weighs seventeen stone, eight pounds, but is one of the most active butchers. He and his wife serve hundreds of customers there in the course of a single week. Their van covers about two hundred miles every week delivering orders, and is driven by their son, Brian

Smiling Mr. Braybrook epitomises one's conception of the ideal village butcher. He and his wife are very popular in the village, and their little High Street shop is quite a rendezvous for housewives. The shop measures about 15 ft. by 10 ft.

“My wife and I usually start work at 6.00 a.m. and we manage surprisingly well despite the lack of much elbow room in the shop.” Mr. Braybrook said. “We were even more cramped when we came here nine years ago because we also had to do all the cutting in the shop. Two years ago we added a cutting room at the rear.”

A disused slaughterhouse at the rear of the adjoining nearby house where the Braybrook family live is used as a garage. Mr. Braybrook is a Nottingham man, and before going to Fovant worked at a Nottingham pork butcher's, Male's, in Gregory Boulevard. Mrs. Braybrook is a native of Wiltshire.

Mr Braybrook closed the shop in 1988 after his wife's death and died himself in 1993. To find other reminiscences by his daughter please click here.

J.O.H.
2003

Content last updated
30 April 2009

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