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150 Bath Road (formerly 5 Thirlestaine Place)
There was a baker and grocer in this row of shops at the end of the 19th century, when it was owned by widow Sophia Sykes and her son Frederick, who baked their bread here. In 1899 Thomas Coole, formerly the landlord of the King William Inn, bought the business from Fred Sykes and traded as a bakers and grocers. Thomas was born in Cirencester about 1854 and after his marriage in Quedgeley in 1880, he and his wife moved to Cheltenham. He stayed at these premises for 21 years until he retired. Mr Coole died in June 1934 at the age of 80.
Mr Joseph Cecil Wilson and his wife Edith May lived here during the 1920s. It was now known as 13 Upper Bath Road and it appears from registers and street directories that they also used the property next door which had become number 15 Upper Bath Road and was set back from the road. Maybe this was used as the bakery?
Mrs Edith John – no relation to the butcher two doors away – took over for a very short time, using it for her baker’s shop. By the start of the thirties it had become the coal merchants William H Bennett. However in October 1937 this shop, the adjoining garage and a house in adjacent Clare Street were sold. The shop was used for the sale of oil and other motoring accessories. Eventually the shop was demolished to enable the owners of the garage next door to make some improvements.
The Coal Yard
At the turn of the last century this large corner site belonged to Alfred Grimes Stockwell (Coal Merchants). What an appropriate middle name he had! Cheltenham born Alfred, his wife Mary Ann and their children lived at No 1 Clare Street, which was adjacent to the coal yard. By the time their daughter Ethel married – just after the outbreak of the war in 1914 – the family were living at ‘Broadclyst’ in Leckhampton Road, a much larger house. Around 1925, when Alfred would have been approximately 70 years of age, the coal yard was taken over by the London & Bath Coal Exchange.
At the start of the 1930s the coal yard closed and the site was taken over for use as a garage and filling station, called the Thirlestaine Service Station. The premises boasted four electric pumps and had nine brick lock-ups. A large sign on the wall read R.O.P. – 11½d per gallon. R.O.P. stood for Russian Oil Products. As the notice remained there for several years, presumably the price did not change! The garage continued under various owners, the longest being the Rawlins family, until it closed in March 1996.
After lying empty for almost twenty months, a tool hire firm from Tewkesbury, J P Tool Hire, took on the office premises as a shop, using the old forecourt as a customer parking area. They were here until about 2002 and in 2003 the site was redeveloped for The Natural Grocery Store.
Researcher: Marilyn West
Update: Stuart Manton (March 2017)
The photograph below is possibly the last to be taken before the redevelopment of this corner site in 2003.
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