PHILIP Hale Chesters' grocer's
shop at the end of Hospital Street was so successful that over the years he
opened more branches in Pepper Street and High Street. Sadly, none of the
branches still exist.
The picture above was taken around 1901
but the building, and two public houses round the corner in Pillory Street,
were demolished in 1910. Not only was the old building replaced by a more modern structure
- designed by Nantwich architects Bower and Edleston - but the
end of Pillory Street was widened to its present dimensions. Previously,
there had been many accidents on the blind corner.
Today, the more ornate building has
identical frontages on to both Hospital Street and Pillory Street. The
"porthole-like" windows in the roof of the new building were not favoured by everyone
when they first appeared on the Nantwich street scene, some
likening them to the recently-launched ship, "The Lusitania".
Mr Chesters, and around a dozen
apprentices, "lived over the shop", as did many business people of the day.
The premises were
occupied by other businesses, including H.S.Jones and Son, wholesale
confectioners, and Boots the Chemists, before the present owners,
Nantwich historian Andrew Lamberton added: "The
current shop was built in 1911. The architect
was E.H.Edleston of Edleston & Bower. It is now
Grade 2 listed, and described as "a corner block of unusual design with
details of French late 17th Century derivation." If you examine the
carved swags of fruit, you will see that every one is different. I know
Boots the Chemist had it in the 1960s and before Christians it was a
In 2015, the corner of the building (see below left) is occupied by
Pockets, a men's clothing business. Clive Christians is further along
Pillory Street - in a building called (prominently) No 1 Pillory Street.
oThis page was sparked by a
request for more information about the "fabulous" building seen by Caz and
Tony Bowers when they visited Nantwich. A comment from them appears on the
Things You Say page.
AFTER reading the
information here, Caz e-mailed:
"Thanks for your prompt and most interesting
account of the building. They don't build 'em like that any more do
"We didn't notice that the
swags were different but
will certainly be making a return
visit to this very
pretty town to take another look.
"The photo of the interior as a
grocer's brought back
happy childhood memories of going into a similar grocer's
and sitting on a large wooden chair while my grandmother had some butter
cut from a large slab.
"She would sometimes take a selection of
biscuits from a row of glass-topped tins on a stand in front of the
counter - an early version of 'pick and mix' ! She'd hand them to the
grocer who weighed them and tipped them into a brown paper bag which he
then swung round by the corners to secure it, a manoeuvre which always
"Sides of bacon hung from ceiling hooks
above the counter and the huge red bacon slicer was another source
of fascination for me as a small child, I remember the grocer asking my
grandmother if she wanted it slicing on number 3 or number 4. Happy
those happy days next time you are in Nantwich, Caz. Call in at
A.T.Welch, the pork butcher, grocer, delicatessan and coffee shop in Hospital Street,
and have some bacon sliced at a thickness of your choice. And while you
are there, have a look at the replica old shop. [Other
coffee shops are available.]
On a personal note, this is my mother serving
counter at P.H.Chesters. A similar photograph would appear to
that this was taken around 1935.
Note the chair for the use of customers, with a
letter C cut into the back.
Unlike these days when a dash around the
supermarket is the norm, customers sat in the chair while the assistant
fetched the required
items from the shelves and made up the order.
There appear to be Easter eggs on
the counter. And are the counter
top and the insets made of marble?