Arthur & Mary Chapman
166 Bath Road
Keith Eagles has provided more information about his grandparents, Arthur & Mary Chapman, who lived and worked at 166 Bath Road (now "Big Fish"). Arthur came from Essex and married Mary at St Gregory's church in Cheltenham. He was deeply interested in mechanical and electrical matters all of his life and it is said in the family that George Dowty would call on him from time to time to seek his help in solving mechanical problems in the early days of the Dowty firm. He served in the Gloucestershire Regiment in the Great War. The shop at 166 bath Road sold hardware and also charged batteries for radio sets in the days before everyone had mains electricity.
Mary's family were Italians, called Cascarini, who arrived in Cheltenham in the late 19th century. The family retained many family links with Italy. Mary's brother Louis Cascarini was killed in the First World War and is buried in the British military cemetery at Ramallah in Gaza. He is commemorated on the war memorial in the Promenade.
On leaving Bath Road the Chapmans moved with their 8 children to Karoo Cottage in Church Road, Leckhampton. Mary was quite entrepreneurial and sold lemonade at the cottage gate to passers-by. They moved again to Chapel Lane, off Great Norwood Street, where Mary made and sold ice cream and Arthur ran a workshop. In the late 1930s and through World War 2 Mary Chapman had a grocery shop at 43 Great Norwood Street. Apparently it was quite normal for her to split cigarette packets in order to sell just one or two cigarettes according to customer demand. Mary died in 1964 and Arthur in about 1971.