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2, Great Norwood St (formerly 1, Bon Marche Place)
The terrace in Great Norwood Street, of which this property forms part, was built in or just before 1881, when it was advertised for sale. It was called 1, Bon Marche Place, after the neighbouring business in Suffolk Road and it included a dwelling house above the shop.
As early as 1886 there was a drapers shop here and by 1902 it was known as the Suffolk Drapery Stores. Jackets could be obtained for six shillings and eleven pence and corsets for one shilling and eleven pence ha'penny. In April 1902, vandals broke the plate glass windows of the shop and a reward of £5 was offered for information leading to the detection of those responsible.
By 1904 the drapery business was in the possession of Mrs Eveniss Emma Bick, who also ran a drapers shop in Montpellier Walk. She was an active member of Bethesda Methodist church and lived at South Court in Leckhampton. Mrs Bick surrendered the shop in about 1914 and died in December 1929, at the age of 74.
For a few years, during and just after the Great War, the premises may have stood empty as no commercial activity is recorded in the trade directories. Then came a rubber merchants called Derek & Lovesey, who were here until about 1924. They would have specialised in water-proofed items ranging from rain coats to garden hoses.
In 1927 came a trade that was to last for more than 40 years, in the form of the Norwood Pharmacy. The first proprietor was A.C. Lydford, who was succeeded by Mr F. Jervis. By the early 1950s the shop was part of Wickham's Pharmacies.
Thomas Beale Collings Wickham was born in about 1882 in Somerset. He entered the pharmacy profession at the age of 15 and by the time he was 32 had arrived in Cheltenham, setting up business in the Lower High Street. He sold those premises to Boots the chemist and then acquired the Leckhampton Pharmacy. Also in the group were a pharmacy in Hewlett Road and the Norwood Pharmacy. By 1962 this shop and the neighbouring one at number 4 Great Norwood Street had been renamed Northwood Pharmacy, under the proprietorship of G.M. Muckart and it remained a chemist's shop until the late 1960s.
Research: Karen Wilson & Stuart Manton (July 2016)
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