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46 Suffolk Road
In 1891 this property was listed as a plumber’s shop belonging to James Will Houghton. He later became a plumber & decorator.
By 1917 the trade had changed to that of bootmaker, run by Mr S.Lloyd, whilst Mrs Houghton also operated her domestic staff agency from here. She advertised for staff from as early as 1887 and seems to have continued this business until at least 1932. Although, in 1905, she had declared that she would be giving up the agency in order to sell children's toys, she was recruiting staff again by the following year.
From 1929 to 1931 the shop was occupied by the grocery business of Percival B Roach, who later relocated further along the street. By 1931 Charles Stevens, an electrician had moved into the property.
There followed a rapid succession of shopkeepers, starting in 1933 when Mr Stanley Oliver changed the trade to that of a confectioners. He was replaced in 1937 by the E.J. Winchcombe & Son grocery store. In June of that year Mr Winchcombe also advertised the hire of a chauffeur-driven saloon car to take a party of four to the horse races at Ascot for £1 per head.
During World War II the shop was taken over by Mr William Rowe, at a time of rationing. Before the war Britain imported about 55 million tons of food each year but this was dramatically reduced in 1940 due to German submarine attacks on shipping. Everyone was issued with a ration book and had to register to buy food from their chosen shops. In April 1945 the Ministry of Food issued this notice to inform Mr Rowe's customers that their ration registrations would be transferred to the new shop proprietor A.L. Lewis. Rationing did not end until 4th July 1954.
The shop changed hands again by 1948 when it was run by A.L. Jones and by 1952 it was Mr William Millican, who was here until about 1956 when the well-known men's outfitters Thomas Plant & Co. acquired these premises. They eventually also expanded into the shop next door at 44 Suffolk Road.
Thomas Plant & Co. Ltd was a family-run firm that was founded in the High Street by Thomas Plant and his brother in 1823, at which time they specialised in selling hats. The business diversified over the years into schoolwear, sports equipment and clothing and moved to larger premises in the Promenade and then, later, here. They had many contracts to supply school uniforms worldwide, including to Cheltenham College. Thomas Plant's moved again, to the Bath Road, before finally closing in 1999.
Previously the Curtain Shed, this shop is now home to Newcombe Residential Lettings.
Researcher: Stuart Manton (December 2015)
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