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198 Bath Road (was 7 Upper Bath Road)
This was the shop of Charles Phipps a pork butcher. He was the son of William Phipps a wine cooper and was born in 1841 at nearby Commercial Street. He was married to Emma Simmonds at SS Philip and James Church in 1874 and they had several children. The family had moved to Bath Road by 1888 and remained here until Charles retired in 1905.
After Charles Phipps left the shop it was taken over for a short time by Messrs B and P Scudamore. They were bakers and corn merchants who also had premises further up the road.
By the start of the Great War, the Curl family who were pork butchers traded here.
Eight years later the shop changed trades again when it was bought by Mr Charles Winters for his fishmongers business. Charles Sidney Winters was born in Cheltenham about 1873. As a young man he started work at Woodward’s who were fishmongers in Montpellier and this is where he learned about the fish trade. He later opened his own shop in the Fairhaven area of Leckhampton where he sold fruit and vegetables alongside the fish. When the Bath Road shop became vacant it was a good opportunity to get into the main shopping area and the family moved there in 1922. It was as well that the family lived over the shop as it opened at 6am and orders for kedgeree fish had to be delivered by bicycles to the big houses in Cheltenham in time for breakfast.
In the early days there was a lot of carriage trade where the shopkeeper would personally go out to the carriage in the street to take an order for delivery later that day. Charles and Kate’s son Gilbert Sidney also worked in the shop and it was he that carried on the family business after his father’s death in 1929. Known as Gil, he always wore his wellies and his hat in the shop. The shop had a cellar where the ice was kept and Gil’s son Ken was sent, when he was old enough, on his bike to collect ice from the Ice Works in Albion Street.
Fish was ordered by Gil by telephone and delivered the next day by lorries that had travelled overnight from Grimsby and other ports. The fish arrived packed in ice in wooden boxes, opened straight away and the fish put out on the ice in the shop, it was a rare occurrence to have any left over by mid afternoon. Like other fishmongers Mr Winters would sell “cat fish”, he sold it by the pound and no matter how much he put on it, it always weighed one pound! No doubt this made him popular with the local cats. Gil stayed at the shop until he retired in the mid 1960s.
In the late 60s the shop changed again and became the Bath Road branch of J Brunner, Baker. Swiss born Mr Brunner established a bakery in Hewlett Road in the 1950s and had other retail outlets in the town. Some of them, including Bath Road, had a restaurant that would serve snacks and teas. By 1975 it had changed hands and was the business of Lawrence Brothers, also bakers.
For a few years in the 1980s the shop became a retail outlet for Commercial Office Equipment, selling as its name suggests office equipment.
In 1988, one of the oldest retailing businesses in Cheltenham, the outfitters Thomas Plant, left the Suffolk Road shop to take over these premises. Mr Thomas Plant opened his first shop at 245 High Street in 1823, then he specialized in “hats, riding gear and hosiery” and was proud to supply Cheltenham College. Later Thomas Plant supplied Cheltenham Ladies College as well as countless other local schools, sports clubs and other organizations. In November 1999, Thomas Plant ceased trading and at the start of the 21st century, the shop became one of the largest Red Cross charity shops in the country.
Researcher: Marilyn West
British Red Cross
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