Bath Road │64 previous / next │main map / bath road map
244 Bath Road (Formerly Woodford House)
Woodford House started the 20th century as a confectioner’s shop belonging to Mr G. Chambers, who in 1906 formed a partnership with Mr Smith. However, by the following year Woodford House was the home of a hairdresser, Mr Thomas Poulston, his wife Charlotte and their family. By the mid 1920s another hairdresser, Albert Sermon, was in residence but by far the longest trade here is also the present one. This chemist’s shop was known as the Leckhampton Pharmacy for around 70 years, originally under the ownership of Mr Wickham.
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 first of the businesses that were to form a group of pharmacies. After entering into partnership with Mr C. Gregory, Wickham Pharmacies Ltd was established and the Leckhampton Pharmacy was created. Also in the group were the Norwood Pharmacy and another in Hewlett Road.
Leckhampton Pharmacy dispensed medicines and had a reputation for good customer care. A chair was provided for customers and advice on medical matters could be obtained at a much lower cost than visiting the doctor. Medicines were prepared in the back office by the pharmacist and were wrapped in stiff white paper sealed with melted wax, for which purpose a flame was kept burning. As today, perfumes and cosmetics were available but in addition photographic films could be purchased and developed.
Mr Wickham was highly respected and sat on various pharmaceutical committees, to which he devoted much time. He and his wife lived nearby in Leckhampton Road and it was there that he died suddenly in 1952, having just returned home from the shop. After his death Mr T. Critchley took over and some readers may remember both him and Mr Nicholl, a chemist who worked here for many years. Still a chemist shop today, it has been owned by the Rowlands group since before 2000, at which time the pharmacist was Mr Chris Llewellyn.
Researcher: Marilyn West