Churchill's in 1938
Winsham's other businesses

Other Winsham Businesses-mainly before the Millennium
     This may seem a strange delineation, but it is explained by the fact that in the Millennium Year, the Winsham Millennium Book was produced to give a ‘snap-shot’ of, among other activities,  all the businesses that were operating in the parish at the time. The Millennium Book can be found on the Web Museum by clicking HERE.

     The businesses that  are detailed below are mainly the ones that finished trading before the year 2000. Most ceased trading by the start of World War II. It is not of course a complete list. There were boot makers, milkmen, tiny sweet shops; any way of earning a few pounds or shillings might be tried. Some carried on for years. However, some businesses  are included that are still trading, where in the opinion of the Editor they justify inclusion in order to present  a fair picture of business activity in the parish over the last fifty years or so.  Inevitably ,this is a subjective decision and also dependent on knowing about them; as a result some may have been missed. They can always be added on request.  The yard-stick is that the business has been in existence for more than fifty years. Farms are not included. They are to be found in the Millennium Book and in the Farming in Winsham gallery.


The Woollen Mill
Without doubt the largest business ever to operate within the Winsham Parish Boundary was the Woollen Mill (water-powered) located by the river just below the site where the sewage recycling plant now stands. Standing four storeys high and built from local stone, in its prime in the middle of the nineteenth century it is said to have employed some six hundred workers. During that time the population of the village increased to over a thousand, compared with the 764 in 1805 and 750 at the present time (2012)
Opening in 1830 or thereabouts, its owner was Samuel Ousley Bennett and he produced West of England Cloth, a strong, dense, napped woollen cloth capable of keeping out the wet which was very important before the days of waterproofing. More can be found about this by clicking on his picture.Woolen Mill
Sadly, this new found prosperity was not to last. With the massive development of steam powered technology for manufacturing both cotton and woollen cloths in Lancashire and Yorkshire, competition proved too much and the factory closed. It was however reopened in the years that followed, processing flax. However this initiative was not maintained for very long, and by 1914 the building was deserted, only to be used for dances and band practice. During the Second World War it was demolished.
The Old Bakery
This enterprise was run by a well known Winsham family, the Boaits, who were related to the Acklands and the Courtney’s. It was located opposite the Church, at what is now No 15 Church Street.  During Daisy Boait’s time it was a successful bakery. It also sold groceries and sweets. The baker who Daisy employed(and a very good one by all accounts) was a character named George Forsey,  who delivered the finished product, twice a week,  to the outlying hamlets-Purtington, Hollowells, Cricket St. Thomas, etc. at night, to local farms . According to reliable reports, the horse and cart (a covered wagon), often used to return to the shop, empty, without George. No satisfactory explanation for this was ever given! However, the speculation caused a lot of local amusement!
In earlier years, before the Great War, Boaits also sold salt fish (remember that there would have been no refrigeration), which had to be soaked in water overnight before it could be eaten. Apparently it was very popular. This business which was known to exist at the turn of the last century was still running in the 1950s.
One other function of Daisy's bakery was that she always opened the ovens on a Sunday morning. With the Church opposite, always  well attended, many of the churchgoers would take her their Sunday roasts  on the way to church and collect them, ready for serving at home, when the church service was over. (Apparently this practice started when Bakers were not allowed, by law, to bake bread on Sundays.)

Winsham Stores
Winsham Stores -  C. 1950
Winsham Stores
Winsham Stores in the mid 1970s

As explained in the section devoted to the Winsham Shop, around the beginning of the 1900s, the Post Office moved across the road to a substantial building next to the Jubilee Hall and adjacent to 'The Bell'
       It employed in addition to the Post Master, and no doubt, an assistants, two uniformed post men, and a uniformed Telegraph Boy. A few years later, it is not known exactly when, the Post Office building was to share the premises with the Police, a situation that continued probably continued until some time in the mid-1920s.
     In 1927, the premises were taken over by Mr Ralph Milden, who established the steam bakery. Bread was baked in an outhouse at the back. In 1931 this business extended to become 'Winsham Stores' which then sold groceries as well as bread. This continued throughout World War II, but in 1950 the property was divided up with part of the building (now known as No.7 Court Street) remaining as a shop, and the adjoining part now known as 'Devonsedge', becoming a residential property, into which Ralph Milden and his wife retired .

     The Shop was then sold to Arthur Hood, who resold it in 1951 to Arthur Higgins, who in1954 sold it to Mr H.J. Ackhurst, who maintained the business until 1969. Before it was purchased by Mr Ackhurst, it is believed that the shop was tenanted by the Bartlett family, who also ran a mobile shop in a van to the outlying hamlets.
     In 1969 it was sold to Joan & Bill Dearle, who ran the business from the late Summer of 1969 until the Spring of 1971, when it was sold to Mr J.F.Cane. In 1972 , ownership passed to Phil & Diana Kershaw who continued trading until 1979. At this point the Winsham Store stopped trading. The shop area was then converted in to living space and this has remained as their home.  Diana is now a Deacon of St.Stephen’s, following a long term as a teacher at Winsham School. Phil is the long standing Treasurer of the Jubilee Hall.
The Railway.
Winsham , although close to the  railway line, might have turned out differently if it had been possible to persuade the railway company to build a station, or at least a halt. The village was thrown into an uproar when the track was laid around 1860, between Crewkerne and Axminster-a single track affair that is still in use to-day (2013). The navvies used to drink at the local hostelries, and trouble would follow. A newspaper report tells of, on one occasion, an angry crowd of them chasing our local policeman across the fields after he had tried to enforce closing time.
Despite these inconveniences, and  several attempts by the Parish Council in the early 1900s, the GWR could not be persuaded that it would be economic to provide the facility. The railway runs at the bottom of the village. This picture dates back to 1910.  Ian Monkton tells us that the line was never part of the GWR.
Railway The line was built by the London & South Western Railway (L&SWR) as their main line from Waterloo to Plymouth via Okehampton, and to its branches in Ilfracombe, Bude and Padstow, and as such carried the famous 'Atlantic Coast Express' every day. It was built in 1860 as single track, but within 10 years it had been doubled and remained that way until 1967, when it reverted to a single track. On nationalisation in 1948 it became part of British Railways Southern Region until 1963 when all lines west of Salisbury were transferred to British Railways Western Region. In preparation for privatisation it became part of Network South East in 1986, and today is operated by South West Trains.

L.E. Churchill-Motor & General Engineers
     Churchill's was located in Fore Street opposite the Manse. It is believed to be located on land owned by Manor Farm. It started as a blacksmith and forge and in later years run by Fred and Neddy Churchill. Fred was the blacksmith and farrier. As years went by, and the business of shoeing of horses fell away, they then embraced the motor car, selling.  petrol and carrying out repairs to motor vehicles, tractors and associated farm equipment.
     They also sold paraffin, and charged the batteries that were needed for powering radios. Mrs Churchill was a dressmaker, who did a lot of work in the village. After Neddy Churchill's death in 1966 a lifetime interest in the business transferred to Ray Ashman, an employee. Sadly Ray died in middle age in 1983, when the business then passed to Raymond (Ringo) Gough. The business was sold in 1997 to Dave Woodland, Woodland Autos. The business is now run by his son Richard.
Woodland Autos is now a modern 'state of the art'  vehicles maintenance business. It also carries out the regular MOT tests required by law.

Victory Garage
The present building and business dates from the late 1940s. However its roots precede this date. It started  with Ed Partridge, and his wife Hilda (Meech), running a taxi & minibus service during the war. They lived in what is now known as Victory Cottage, next to an open space. After the war the idea came to them to build the present building, calling it Victory Garage. Its main purpose was then to be a service area for the small fleet of Bedford  passenger coaches that they were then running, called Victory Coaches. These ran for a few years, and then continued with the minibus services that had started during the war. During this period there was also a small shop selling sweets and confectionery at the side of Victory Cottage. This came to an end in about 1959. However the link with the automotive business did not end. Tony Meech then opened in 1959 his second hand car business-T. Meech Car Sales. This successful business remained in Winsham until 1969, when it moved to Furnham Road, Chard, where it continued  until his retirement until 1991.
Shortly after Tony Meech's move, Ray Ashman, the new proprietor of Churchill's, in Fore Street, bought the premises. Roger Beer took over the premises in the early 1980s, and has been there since, with Nick Boyland's  Rhino Trikes  opening its doors at the rear of Victory Garage in 1992. Roger Beer has also played an important part in the life of the business; he was Chairman of the Parish Council from 2007 until 2012, and has been an active member of the Winsham Street Fair committee for many years.

K.D.J. Slade & Sons Ltd
This flourishing business was started by Ken Slade immediately after WWII, in 1946. It is now a third generation company, operating as building contractors, housing developers, bespoke joinery and design and build packages. More information can be found in the Business Section of the Millennium Book. The company has built , developed or converted many properties in Winsham, as well as elsewhere, as well as being a significant employer. The Slade family have also played an important role in the community, Colin Slade was Chairman of the Parish Council from 1995 until 2007, and Margaret & Colin  also played a leading role in the organisation of the Street Fair for many years.

Butchers -Mr Warren-Church Street
Christopher Warren moved to Winsham in1936 or thereabouts, lodging with the Courtenay family. He resurrected the Butchers business at No.1 Church Street opposite, Victory Garage, and married Doris Webb from Kingstone shortly afterwards. Together they built up a good business, although in the early days it was very hard. He had to look outside the village for business, and used to cycle on a delivery bicycle as far as Stoke Abbott for very small returns! Doris manned the shop when her husband was not there, and also cooked meat pies and faggots for sale in the shop. Robert, their son, went to school at Winsham School and his account of his young life can be read in the Reminiscences Gallery.

Art Manning's Garage.
In Fore Street was Art Manning's Garage. Described in Robert Warrens memories of Winsham...
I must mention Art Manning’s garage, the first on the right going up Fore Street . It was an emporium of absolute junk! He brought the daily papers to the village, provided the distilled water for wireless accumulators and sold petrol from a very old pump where he hand pumped the fuel up to a large glass measuring cylinder until the required amount was shown and then discharged it by gravity into the car’s fuel tank. He was a character and used the oldest phone that I have ever seen in use; a voice horn on a long plastic stem and an earpiece on a long lead. Furthermore he always blew into it noisily before talking.'

Other Winsham businesses....

'There were two cobblers ( shoe makers ) in Winsham before World War II, one was Mr. Frecknall, he lived and had his shoe repair business at the Malt Houses in Court Street, his was the last house in the row towards the pathway to Broadenham. 

The second and most interesting was Dan Butler. He operated from a back room in his home, thought to be the house number 36 Church Street. Dan was also one of the local Royal Mail delivery men and delivered for Fore Street, High Street, Broadenham and Back Street. Appleby's shop  was then back  incorporating the Post Office'.  (Dennis Summers)

Jack Masters-Harness maker.*
Bert Gill-Men’s Barber- Back Street, on corner of Colham Lane. *
George Brown-Basket Maker.*
George Peadon-Undertaker-Ivy Cottage, Back Street.*
Tom Spurdle-Veterinary Surgeon and general health advisor for Winsham Residents.*
Tom Hellier-Butcher.*
Charlie Spurdle-Blacksmith & Forge- Church Street.*
Willie Welch-Ammerham Mill (Water) - Grain and Animal food stuffs.*
Sydney Wheaton-Cattle Dealer
Nurse Van Vyen-Nurse.*
Mr Harvey-Whatley Bottom Mill (Water) - Grain and Animal food stuffs.*
Gilbert Peacock-Builder
Butchers -Mr Warren-Church Street. This business  after World War II was then taken over by Mr Holloway, who ran it for a long period until, we think, the 1980s.

* All marked with an asterisk are mentioned in 'The Winsham I Remember' by W.H. Paull. Click HERE

Page created in2013

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