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148 Bath Road (formerly 4 Thirlestaine Place)
Plumber Richard Williams lived here from about 1870 with his wife Mary Ann, sons James and Charles and their daughter Flora. Richard was born about 1835 in Somerset but the rest of the family were Gloucestershire folk. Mary Ann was born in Withington and their children were all born in Leckhampton. Both sons went on to earn their living in the building trade.
Charles followed his father into the plumbing business whilst James went into carpentry and joinery. Like many carpenters he also became an undertaker and was known by the locals as ‘body-snatcher‘ Williams! James continued his business at these premises for over 30 years. He died here at the age of 65 on January 20th 1926.
The 1930s saw a change of business when Mr Joseph Henry Ingram occupied the premises. Mr Ingram was a boot maker and repairer and was often to be seen with a mouth full of tacks held between his teeth! A steep step led the way into his small dark shop where he did the repairs assisted by his wife. They were amongst the first boot repairers in the area to have a machine to assist the sewing of the leather. Both Mr and Mrs Ingram were deaf and Mr Ingram was unable to speak either. This didn’t present too many problems for their customers as on the counter were slips of paper and a pencil. This was for Mr Ingram to indicate the price of the repairs and the day that they would be ready, usually in two or three days. To have shoes soled and heeled would have cost about half a crown (about12p), much cheaper than a new pair.
To the left of Mr Ingrams shop was a passageway, leading to stairs to the Gospel Mission Room which was over the bootmakers premises. The Sunday School, under the supervision of Mr Brookes the Pastor, was held here. The arch over the doorway can still be seen today.
Joseph Ingram mended boots and shoes here until the start of World War II, when for a short time watch repairer Oscar Carl Young occupied it. By 1942 a manufacturing company had taken over the premises. J Allen and Co were latex manufacturers and made amongst other things, rubber gloves. The company moved to Lydney at the end of the decade, most of the staff left and found other jobs. One of them, Frank Middleton moved across the road to Corinth House and continued there.
The property then changed trades completely. It was occupied for just a few years by Mrs Eveline Sallis as a fruit shop. Eveline was the daughter of Dick Cripps the baker, whose bakery shop was across the road.
After Mrs Sallis left the shop it became Ballinger’s greengrocers shop, which as a Mace Store also sold grocery. The owner Bruce Ballinger was related to two other Bath Road traders. His grandfather was the butcher Charles Ballinger (6 Waterloo Terrace) and he was the nephew of hairdresser Archie. The local college was a source of income for Mr Ballinger, as not only did he make deliveries to the college itself but the boys were allowed to have accounts at the shop. Bruce decided to give up the fruit trade in the early 1970s and for the next few years until retirement, dealt in antique and second hand goods.
Today number 148 is the premises of Andy’s Barber Shop. Taken over in 1986 by Andreas Savides it had a ladies department for some years and was known as Andy’s Unisex Salon.
Researcher: Marilyn West.
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