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Tuesday, 14 July 2015

Sepia Saturday - Village Shops from the Past

Sepia Saturday gives bloggers the opportunity to share their family history through photographs.

I have gone for the obvious with pictures from the collection of my local heritage group Auld Earlston, beginning with Donaldson (no relation),   the Butchers, who are still trading  in my Berwickshire  village home.  

The 1901 census for Earlston lists a William Donaldson, aged 37, a butcher at 43 High Street. with his wife Isabella and sons,  John, William and Walter, and daughters Isabella and Helen.   Two years later "Slater's Directory for Berwickshire, 1903" lists  Walter Donaldson as the butcher. 

You can just make out the sign in the stone above the frontage, with the staff in their striped  aprons - and is that a carcase hanging  in the window? 

A similar image.  with the delivery boy and his bicycle. 

Times have moved on to four wheels, but this vehicle looks decidedly rickety. 

Staff outside the local Co-op Store 

 The~Co-op Travelling Shop that went around farms and more isolated communities.   

In the 1901 census, John P. Weatherly was described as a 40 years old Postmaster of 73 High Street, living with his wife, mother in law and  children. Edward, Ellen and Margaret.  The Trade Directory two years later adds to his role that of bookseller, stationer, and printer. 

His  grandson John Paterson Weatherly (1924-2006)  also ran the village  post office and earned a reputation as local historian,   gathering a wealth of archive  material, which forms  the basis of the collection of the local heritage group.  

But take a closer look at that newspaper placard outside the shop, which announces that "Crippin Removed to Hospital".

Dr. Hawley Harvey Crippen, was an American doctor  He was hanged  23rd November 1910 in Pentonville Prison, London  for the murder of his wife Cora Henrietta Crippen, and was the first criminal to be captured with the aid of wireless telegraphy.   

Mcdonald's, the Drapers - one of four such establishments in the village.


The population of Earlston in 1901 was 1677.  Shops  in the village included:

6 grocers, spirit dealers and ironmongers,  3 butchers, 2 bakers, 4 drapers & clothiers, 3 watchmakers/clockmakers/'jewellers, 1 confectioner, 1 chemist,  3 dressmakers & milliners, 1 tailor,  and 1 fishman & earthenware dealer. 

What struck me was the number of women in business - Miss Jane Douglas, confectioner;  Mrs Margaret Kerr & Mrs Jane Readman grocers;  Miss Margaret Mcdonald, Miss Jane Wood &  Miss Isa Tennant. dressmakers & milliners;  Mrs Agnes Smith,  baby linen,  Mrs Isabella Winchester, draper,  and "in charge of the telephone call office" Miss Isabella Aitchison. 

Over a century later,  we are left with 2 convenience stores, a butcher' (Donaldson's), a baker, chemist, flower shop, sweet shop, 3 pubs, 2 hairdressers, a beauty salon,  a craft shop, an electrical shop, a cafe and a tearoom  a fish & chip shop and a chinese take-away - how times have changed! 

                                          Earlston High Street at the West End

Vintage photographs courtesy of The Auld Earlston Group  

The Crippen story aroused enormous public interest at the time - See more at: http://www.historytoday.com/richard-cavendish/execution-dr-crippen#sthash.Rvy7ZSbM.dpuf

Finally two images I have featured before. but  they tie in with this week's theme, and make me smile!   My camera was ready for this lucky shot, taken in Munich, Bavaria, as the  large picture frame is carried across the road to an antique dealer.

And to revert to the butcher's theme, here is a lovely shop sign  of  a Highland Cow advertising the butcher's in Tobermory on the Isle of Mull. 

Click HERE to see how other Sepia Saturday bloggers 
have viewed this week's prompt


  1. Great old shop photographs, and the butchers in the first one are wearing those classic striped aprons that some traditional butchers still wear today.

  2. Interesting photos carrying the theme right along, but I'll have to keep my eye out for that Highland Cow sign advertising the butcher shop in Tobermory on Mull when we're there in Sept. :)

  3. I particularly like the Weatherly shop front, and the Crippen clue just adds to it.

  4. Pictures of workers in front of their shops always intrigue me. That one group with arms crossed seems very serious. Jo mentioned the striped aprons as being traditional, but that's a new look to me - never seen them before.

  5. It's interesting to see that most of these shops have living quarters over them. I think I've only ever known one family who "lived over the shop". It wouldn't be common here in Australia. I wonder if its still happening in Britain ?

  6. A magnificent feast of old photos (a veritable hog-roast, in fact). The shopkeeper in front go his shop is such a staple of early twentieth century photography and such photos always seem to be so full of social history.

  7. Aren't you great to have the resources telling which shops were owned by women back in 1901. Loved hearing which shops are in existence today, only have to wonder (which would take a bit of sleuthing) which ones are now owned by women.

  8. Isn't Tobermory gorgeous?! I haven't seen that butcher's sign before.


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