Disappearing shops…

WHERE HAVE ALL THE SHOPS GONE?

It was a very sad day on Thursday 29th January 2004, when the last Shop in Mount village closed.  I can remember when there were three shops, Post Office, Blacksmith’s Shop, Petrol Station, two Butchers’ shops, milk and cream from the farms, the School and, of course, Jory’s Carpenters’ Shop.

With the help of Daphne Bate, Frank Smeeth, Douglas Rogers, Harry Willcock, John Jory and Cyril, I will briefly take you down memory lane, up to some 80 years ago, when Mount was a hustling and bustling village serving as a hub for the neighbourhood.

I am not old enough to remember the Pub – “The Soldier’s Arms” – and in any case I would not have been a very good supporter.  I believe the Pub closed around the time of the First World War.

Milk and cream could be bought from, either Mrs Colwill at Pool Park or from the Deebles at Mount Pleasant Farm.  There was always a race between my brother Tom and myself as to who would be sent to get the cream.  If it was my turn I would go up to the Deebles for their thicker crusty cream.  Tom used to run out to Mrs Colwill as he liked her thinner cream.

Mrs Carbines, Harry Willcock’s grandmother, ran a General Stores from her house at Westlands, which was in fact built by Mr Carbines.  Further up the village, Mrs Dark ran a Shop in a wooden hut on the gable wall of Crossways.  Jack Wherry and his wife also had a General Stores selling sweets, groceries and cigarettes from what is now the front room of Sunny Cottage.  Cyril tells the story of when he was in Jack Wherry’s Shop with his father, who gave him a penny to buy sweets.  However, Cyril promptly darted out of the door of the Shop.  Later when Matthew Keast caught up with him, he wanted an explanation.  Well, Cyril had run down to Mrs Dark’s as you could get two more toffees for a penny than up at Jack Wherry’s.  Cyril was suitably admonished.

Jack Wherry also ran a Cobblers Shop in what became Noel’s Shop.  He was particularly renowned for selling Holdfast Boots.  In addition to repairing boots and shoes, Jack Wherry was also the village Barber.  After his time Mr & Mrs Surridge who lived at Ingleside bought the Cobbler’s Shop and turned it into a General Stores.  They were followed by Mr and Mrs Aspey who after selling Ingleside moved to Rosevean and later sold to the Watson family.

Jack Wherry was regularly called upon by local people to slaughter their pigs which most households kept in the back gardens and fed on scraps.  What a versatile man – shopkeeper, cobbler, barber and slaughterman.

The Post Office was originally solely a Post Office, run by William and Mary Knight.  Betty Courts extended the trade to a shop about 65 years ago.  This part of the Post Office was known as “Betty and Brenda’s Stores”.

The Postmen incidentally, used to come out from Bodmin in the morning with the post, deliver around the area and then spend the middle of the day at The Post Office, before taking the afternoon post back to Bodmin.  That was how my father – Bill Webster – met my mother – Mary Knight.  Mary’s parents kept The Post Office and Bill Webster was a postman coming out from Bodmin.  Therefore, he spent quite a few hours everyday at The Post Office and romance blossomed.   The Post Office, like many in rural areas, sadly closed in 2002.

If you recall where the Post Box used to be situated in the wall of the Post Office, there used to be a doorway, which would lead to stairs up to a room over the Post Office and Shop, which was the original Reading Room.  When Treveddoe Mine was in full operation, quite a number of men would use this room to meet and read newspapers.

The Blacksmith’s Shop was of course the single storey building alongside Smith’s Cottage. This was run by Norman Wilton and his father before him.  Although Norman lived at Trevelyan, their business was based at Cardinham and Norman and his workman – including Sonny White and Reg Ballinger – would open up the Blacksmith’s Shop at Mount on Fridays.  Cyril well recalls horses lined up at the bottom of the village waiting to be shod.

Before there was a Butcher’s Shop in Mount, Jude Olliver used to come over from St Neot and sell his meat from inside the door of The Soldier’s Arms on Saturday afternoons and evenings.   I wonder how many men came home of a Saturday evening somewhat worse for wear having either forgotten or spent the money for the Sunday joint?

The original Butcher’s Shop was situated at Trevelyan, (the lower side of the porch) and run by Charlie Roose.  Wallace Rogers (Douglas’s father) came down from the Welsh coal-mines to lodge at Sina in 1912 and actually helped Charlie Roose build Trevelyan.  This was the first brick house in the area and was the subject of a considerable amount of interest and was originally called The Rosary.  After the war Wallace started farming, regrating and running a Butcher’s Shop at Hole Villa, on the lower side of the road from the houses.  His Slaughterhouse can still be seen in the lower corner of the field.  Wallace gave up his butchery business in 1959.

Herbert Worden took over Charlie Roose’s business and John Smeeth, (Frank’s father), worked for a while for Mrs Worden in her Butcher’s Shop, which she kept running after Herbert had gone to America.  However, John Smeeth soon started on his own in the room which is now the higher part of Sancreed Cottage, then owned by Jim and ‘Cill Courts.  John Smeeth originally slaughtered his stock in a Slaughterhouse in the top corner of Chapel Field, just on the lower side of Muddy Lane.  Later however, the Smeeths built a new Slaughterhouse at South Bofindle.  Frank Smeeth gave up the butchery business in June 1970.

Both Wallace Rogers and John Smeeth had their rounds and to serve the gradually increasing number of vehicles in the area, Jorys ran a small Petrol Filling Station from their forecourt, with two pumps.  For many, many years the petrol was hand pumped and only latterly were the original pumps superseded by electric pumps.  Jorys stopped selling petrol in 1972.

I mentioned that Wallace Rogers did “regrating”.  Wallace, John Smeeth, Matthew Keast, and others, would buy eggs, cream, butter, rabbits and the like from local farmers, their wives and trappers and then, once a week, travel up to Plymouth Market from Doublebois Station, to sell them at Plymouth Market.  Mathew Keast used to go up on Saturdays whilst John Smeeth and Wallace Rogers went up on Thursdays.  In later days the two butchers drove up in their vans rather than going by train.  On alternate weeks Frank and Douglas would travel up instead of their fathers and there was often a race to be first over the ferry.   In those days there was a 30 m.p.h. limit for commercial vehicles and I have heard that Douglas was caught for speeding on one occasion!

I am sure there are things I have forgotten, stories and names I have got wrong.  You must remember I am writing about when I was a very, very young girl.  I apologise for any errors, but those readers who have memories of the commercial life of Mount can perhaps add to, or correct, my story.  In particular I wonder if anyone has any photographs of the premises remembered above.  Jackie Smeeth and Annie Ovenden would be delighted to hear from anyone with further memories or corrections for future editions of the Newsletter.

Barbara Keast

More stories from the past…

Got your own memories to share?  Or any photos showing how Mount and Warleggan used to look in the old days?  Share them –  by email, through comments (below) or dropping off a pendrive/memory stick with Chris W (in Mount) or Gill K (in Warleggan)

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  1. Love reading the story. My great grandfather & great uncle worked at Sina Farms in Warleggan and I would love any information about the farm or them, John May, died 1894 & William May died at Sina Farms, 1975.

  2. Do you know how ‘The Rosary’ got its name and why it changed to ‘Trevelyan’? My Great Great Grandfather lived there in the 1930s.

    • Karl. I am afraid at present I am unable to shed any light on the origin of the name “The Rosary”. The name was changed to “Trevelyan” when the Harris family moved to the farm (no longer a working farm). I am assuming that your gggf was Charlie Roose who operated a butcher’s shop from The Rosary in the 1930’s?

  3. A really nice account. I too love to hear about the way things used to be. Seems a bit hard to imagine all those shops now.

  4. i love reading about the history of the village and people in it… it makes me smile….. even in my short (well nearly short)years the village and the people in it have changed… there are only a few of the old ones left now. but we welcome new and young people into the village with the hope that they can keep the spirit of vilage life alive..

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