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200 Bath Road (1 Exchange Buildings)
In the early 1880s George Noon boot and shoe maker was here. As yet nothing is known about Mr Noon.
Frederick William Skinner and his wife, Elizabeth, established the footwear business of F W Skinner here in 1883. Frederick, born in Cheltenham about 1858 was the son of Francis and Caroline and the family had a china and glass business in the High Street, which had been started in 1830. Frederick himself was a professor of music and it was Elizabeth who was the boot and shoe dealer. She was born about 1859 in the Somerset town of Wincanton. The building was owned by their neighbour Charles Phipps until his death and then sold by the trustees to Mr Skinner.
Frederick Skinner was the eldest of three brothers, the youngest of which, Francis, was also in the retail shoe business. Francis Skinner married Marie Leyshon in Cheltenham in 1883 and soon afterwards opened his own shoe shop in the High Street. They had 3 children including a son, Hector. However Marie suffered with ill health and the family sold the High Street shop and moved to Cheshire.
During the First World War Hector served in France but was gassed during the Battle of the Somme. He met and married Muriel and returned to Cheltenham, buying back the family business in the High Street, which his father had sold some years before. Francis, now a widower, returned to Cheltenham with Hector.
Meanwhile in Bath Road, Frederick continued his business assisted by Miss Mugford. By the end of the 1920s Frederick and Elizabeth having no children, passed the business on to their nephew, Hector, and the name of the Bath Road shop changed to H L Skinner.
This shop was bought in 1971 by Mr and Mrs Malvern who ran it as a haberdashery and wool shop trading as Spin-A-Yarn. After 18 years, Mrs Malvern left the shop and it was leased to the Red Cross as a charity shop and is believed to be one of the first charity shops on Bath Road. It moved in the spring of 2000 to the next door premises and this shop became the Red Cross Bookshop.
Researcher: Marilyn West
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