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53 Great Norwood Street (formerly 23 Westside)
In 1855 this was a house occupied by James Russell, a chimney sweep. By 1871, although the name was unchanged, Mr Russell listed his occupation as a stationer - perhaps this was the son.
In the census of 1881 the house was lived in by Mary Denley, a tin-shop keeper. In Victorian times tin shops sold metal hardware items such as baths, buckets, saucepans and kettles. She was followed by Thomas Davies, a grocer, in 1892 and by Mr W.H. Papworth, a cabinet maker, in 1897.
At some time in the later part of the 19th century the garden was built over to form a shop and from about 1906 until the late 1920s Thomas Giddings, a grocer, occupied these premises. By the outbreak of World War II the trade had changed again when William South, a cycle and baby carriage dealer and repairer, was here. Sadly, his younger son Charles, a corporal in the Hussars tank unit, was killed on active service in November 1941, aged just 20. A former student at Cheltenham Grammar School, he sometimes helped his father in the shop before he joined the army.
In 1948 these premises were advertised for sale, together with the "existing greengrocery and cycle repairers business". Perhaps both trades co-existed but it is difficult to imagine. The double fronted shop was measured as 16 feet x 14 feet 6 inches. At the rear was an outside toilet, a coal house and a corrugated iron shed.
In the early 1950s the shop was bought by Horace John Baughn, a greengrocer, who moved from 7, Great Norwood Street and lived here with his wife Kath and stepson Geoff Morse. Geoff, who was a newspaper boy at Thomas's newsagent in Suffolk Parade, recalls that Horace would sometimes stand in the shop smoking, with the ash falling all over the fruit and vegetables! How times have changed. Mr Baughn eventually went broke when he overbought a load of plant pots and couldn't sell them. He sold the shop in 1959.
By 1964 Barretts menswear shop had opened a branch here, having previously been located at 135 & 137 Bath Road (site of the present Sainsburys supermarket).
In September 2008 the shop was fully refurbished as The Dance Locker by local people Fiona & Graham Maycock and Debbie Day. This shop provided a range of quality dancewear including clothes, shoes and accessories.
In 2016 the trade changed when Sam Oldfield established his photographic studio here.
Researchers: Stuart Manton & Jill Waller (Sept 2016)
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