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  Shops and Shopkeepers


Tickhill has always been a self-sufficient village; since medieval times shopping for everyday necessities has been done locally. The market, held every Friday until the end of the 19th century, together with services offered by specialist craftsmen and ‘new’ shopkeepers gave people a wide choice of goods and commodities; early closing day was Thursday.  Any extra special items had to be bought in Doncaster – a seven-mile walk, or ride on carrier’s wagon, until the arrival of the railway in 1910 and the introduction of a regular bus service in the 1920s. 

Grocers, etc,etc!

The grocer, together with the butcher and the baker, has always been one of the key traders in towns and villages throughout the country. Over the last two centuries, there have been numerous shops in Tickhill, all trading primarily as grocers, but in fact, selling a variety of other goods, usually household, drapery and home furnishings. Arguably the most successful of these was Jarvis & Son, whose family business spanned almost 150 years; in the early years of the 20th century, it faced stiff competition from the Tickhill Co-op, with its grocery, butchery and drapery departments and Hunter’s Tea Stores, another chain outlet. Other well established family businesses of the 19th and early 20th centuries included Colbeck’s on Westgate and Castlegate, Lane’s and Pearson & Son’s both of Sunderland Street and Jenkinson’s on Market Place. 

Amongst the many smaller establishments were Clarkson’s on Westgate, Clixby’s and Whinfrey’s both of Castlegate, Mrs Thirza Ludlum’s on Doncaster Road, together with Winfrow’s and Herrin’s. 

 Today (2009), Taylor’s on Market Place is carrying on the tradition of the village grocer; the business can be traced back to that of Thomas Skinn, who established his grocery shop and off-licence in Market Place in the 1880s. 


During first half of the 19th century, there were around twelve butcher’s shops in Tickhill, two of these - Wood’s on Sunderland Street and Kemp’s on Castlegate were still trading almost 100 years later in the early years of the 20th century. At this time, many butchers were still licensed to kill animals, usually in a slaughter house at the rear of their premises; some, like Thomas Brookfield and Thomas Turner were also farmers, which would suggest they reared their own livestock for slaughter and subsequent sale of meat. There were no hygiene regulations regarding the display and storage of meat, and it was common practice for it to be hung outside the shop, with smaller pieces being set out on a slab behind an open window. 

In the early years of the 20th century, the residents of Tickhill still had the choice of numerous butchers, who included Robert Bingham on Sunderland Street, Francis Fullwood on Castlegate, and William Betteridge, John Hewson, William Tiplady, Thomas Wood, Joseph Hill, William Yates, William Dawson, George Salt and Thomas Woodcock all of Market Place. The latter had been in business since the 1880s and was assisted by his brother William; by 1914 Thomas had become a farmer; his business may have been taken over by Thomas Brown, who first appears in local trade directories in 1914 as a ‘butcher’ on Market Place. Thomas traded throughout the 1920s, alongside Harry Longhorn, William Dawson, Frank Higgins and George Salt, who were all still in business on Market Place in the late 1930s. The decline, however, in the number of independent butcher’s shops may have been caused by competition from the Co-op butchery department, which had opened in 1911, and the popularity of the bi-annual pay out of the ‘divi’ to Co-op members. 


It was a common fact that many people baked their own bread, and in the first half of the 19th century, local trade directories show bakers, such as Benjamin Ashton, William Bradley and Edward Thompson on Sunderland Street, John Dawson and John Jenkinson of Westgate and William Pailthorp on Northgate were also flour dealers. This fact is also reflected in the number of baker’s shops in Tickhill, which is far less than other traders, such as butchers and grocers. 

A decline in the number of master bakers is noticeable in the second half of the century, possibly due to the emergence of successful grocery businesses like Jarvis & Sons and Jenkinson’s, who almost certainly sold bakery and confectionary goods. At the beginning of the 20th century, trade directories reveal there was just one baker, Fred Wigginton on Castlegate – and by 1936, there were none. Again, as with butchers’ shops, the arrival of the Co-op grocery store in 1909 may have had an impact. 

Chemists & Druggists

From medieval times apothecaries could be found concocting their potions and remedies in most towns throughout the country. By the 19th century, chemist and druggist shops were commonplace, dispensing and selling medicines, together with other products such as toiletries and photographic equipment; some even offered dentistry services and performed minor surgery. 

The first located reference to a chemist in Tickhill appears in Baines 1822 Directory, which names John Turner & Son as  ‘chemist, druggist and grocer’. Charles Turner, presumably his son, of Market Place continued to trade there for almost 40 years; during the 1830s, Henry Foster, and from 1841, Thomas Crowther and his son, William, also operated as chemists from premises on Market Place. These shops would have been fitted out with numerous shelves and drawers to store a range of medicinal lotions, crystals and powders, which the chemist or druggist used, together with scales, a pestle and mortar, infusion pots and other implements, when dispensing.  

The Colbecks were another family, who traded in the latter half of the 19th century as grocers, chemists and druggists; both John and George junior had shops on Castlegate: John from the 1860s, and George junior a decade later. At the beginning of the 20th century, there appears to have been only one practising chemist in Tickhill – Charles Henry Bradshaw; he was followed by Ernest Edward Thwaite and by the end of the First World War, Richard Kenneth Plummer: all were dispensing from premises, once again, in Market Place. 


From the 1850s onwards, photographers’ shops and studios could be found on most high streets throughout the country; until the early years of the 20th century, Tickhill people lucky enough to own a camera would have had to rely on the local chemist or make a visit to Doncaster to obtain their photographic supplies. 

However, in 1908, George Crossland opened a photographic goods’ shop on Castlegate from where he was to trade for well over a decade; photographs show his shop windows full of framed photographs, which would suggest he offered a picture framing service but, it has not been established whether he had a studio and actually took portraits. He also appears to have taken many photographs of Tickhill during this period, which can be identified by the distinctive handwritten caption etched onto the glass plate before printing; although, it has been alleged that he reprinted photographs taken by earlier photographers. 

George also traded as a book dealer, and operated a Lending Library, offering a good selection of scientific books and novels by popular authors. 

Painters and Decorators

Today (2009), there are numerous shops in our towns and cities selling goods for home improvements - known as DIY (do it yourself), together with many professional businesses offering painting and decorating services. In the late 19th century, local hardware stores or ironmongers, such as Edgar Jeffery of Market Place and George Colbeck would have supplied the former, with John William Hill and Samuel James offering the latter - however, it would, only have been the gentry and middle classes who could afford to use their services. 


Until the 20th century, the majority of Tickhill shopkeepers traded as grocers, drapers and butchers, others were simply described as ‘ shopkeepers and dealers in sundries’; by the second half of the 19th century, a few specialist shops, such as a hairdresser and china dealer, had started to appear, and these were followed in the early years of the 20th century by fruiterers, fishmongers, greengrocers and a toy dealer. 

The arrival of the Co-op in Castlegate in 1908, together with the popularity of cycling and the advent of electricity and the motor car introduced Tickhill people to a whole new range of goods and services. Specialists traders, such as cycle dealers, William Batley on Northgate and Benjamin Gledhill of Castlegate, radio dealer, Albert Winfrew on Market Place, and garage owner, Maurice Preece, who had established a motor repair service and petrol station on Castlegate in 1919, all benefited from these new trends.  

The ‘shopkeeper and dealer in sundries’, or general shopkeeper, as they were now known, was still popular and many were owned by women: Mesdames Millicent Wibberley of Northgate, Kirza Ludlum on Doncaster Road, Mary Ann Turner and Mary Milner of Castlegate, together with Elinor Childs, and Miss Ada Heyes of Sunderland Street were among their number, along with Miss Marjory Dernie, who opened a ladies’ hairdresser’s on Westgate in the 1930s. 

Around the same time, Tickhill’s first ‘fast food takeaway’ opened, with Edward Gleadall on Castlegate and Harry Tomlinson on nearby Westgate both vying for business selling fish and chips. 

In 2009, Tickhill can still be described as self-sufficient, with a range of businesses, including two supermarkets, a greengrocer, florist, butcher , baker, fashion boutique, carpet shop, bespoke kitchen and bedroom shop, together with a tanning studio, garage and a choice of ‘takeaways’. There is, however, one business that has served the community faithfully for the last 200 years - the Post Office.  Early postal services originally operated from the Red Lion, however a move to new premises on the corner of Market Place and Sunderland Street in 1848 saw the beginning of 100 years of service by the Lye family; after the Second World War, the Post Office moved to Sunderland Street. Sadly, it is no longer a business in its own right, and now operates its services from a counter in Tate’s (the Spar shop) in Market Place - an area, which has been the focus of trade for well over 200 years.  


Baines, Edward, A history, directory and gazetteer of the County of York. Vol.1. West Riding.1822.

Beastall, Tom, Tickhill: portrait of an English country town. Waterdale Press. 1995.

Doncaster Chronicle: various references

Doncaster Gazette: various references

Doncaster Gazette Directories: 1891-1938/9

Doncaster Mutual Co-operative & Industrial Society: Committee minute books 1908-1911 .

Hill, Carol, Butcher, baker, cabinetmaker: an illustrated history of the shops and shopkeepers of Doncaster. Waterdale Press. 1989.

Kelly’s Directories of the West Riding of Yorkshire 1867-1936

Pigot & Co. Commercial Directories for Yorkshire, 1828 –1841.

Slater’s Directories of the Northern Counties 1848 &1858

Tickhill census 1841-1901.

Tickhill Tithe Award & Map 1848

White, William, A history, gazetteer and directory of the West Riding of Yorkshire. Vol.1. 1837.





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