The Growth of Shopping in Park Street

For at least 200 years there has been a large number of shops in Park Street, which by the late 1700s had become one of the most important streets in the town. Because of this it was paved in 1776. The shopping area grew from a mixture of private houses, small factories and workshops. By the early 1800s there were many shops, selling a wide variety of products and offering a wide range of services.

This can be seen from the following list, compiled from Parson & Bradshaw's Staffordshire and Commercial Directory for 1818.

Baker and Flour Sellers:  Isaac Highway.  Thomas Meeson.
Blacksmith:  Thomas Edwards.
Book Keeper:  William Fletcher.
Boot and Shoe Makers:  Joseph Bowrin.  Richard Middlemore.
Breeches Maker:  George Cliff.
Bricklayer: Edward Bowring.
Bridle Curb Maker:  Timothy Glover.
Bridle Cutters:  James Busst.  Benjamin Wiggin.
Brush Makers:  Charles Hall.  William Unitt.
Buckle Makers:  Thomas Banbrook. William Wilkinson.
Butcher:  George Fox.
Coal Merchant:  Forster & Fyfield.
Cooper:  Edward Genders.
Currier:  George Forster.
Furniture Dealer:  James Thomas.
Gardener:  Thomas Parker.
General Dealers:  C. & J. Adams.  Charles Windle & Sons.
Glove and Breeches Maker:  George Cliff.  John Cliff.
Grocers:  Samuel Hawkins.  Isaac Highway.  James Thomas.
Hairdresser:  Sarah Holmes.
Harness Maker:  James Busst.
Ironmongers:  Badger & James.  Thomas Fowler.  Henry Marlow. Charles & John.
Joiners and Builders:  Joseph Moore. James Stokes. Joseph Unitt. Robert Whitney.
Key Maker:  James Hart.
Lock Maker:  James Walters.
Platers:  Joseph Whitehouse.  James Whitehouse.
Public Houses:
George & Dragon. Licensee - Thomas Croxall.
Golden Cup. Licensee - Jonathan Smith.
Nags Head. Licensee - Richard Hickin.
New Inn. Licensee - George Fox. (Coaching Inn. Coaches daily to Birmingham).
Red Lion. Licensee - John Sheldon.
Spread Eagle. Licensee - Joseph Whitehouse.
Swan With Two Necks. Licensee - Sarah Wilson.
Saddlers' Ironmongers:
C & J. Adams.  David Badger.  Joseph Bagnall.  William Elwell.  Hughes & Newton.  Samuel Sharratt. Thomas Standley.  Charles Windle & Sons.

Solicitor:  Charles Marklew.
Stirrup Maker:  Simon Ross.
Surgeon:  Mr. Thomas.
Tailors:  Peter Miles.  Simon Smith.

Pigot's National & Commercial Directory for 1842 lists the following businesses:
Baker and Flour Seller:  Thomas & Charles Highway.
Boot and Shoe Makers:  Stephen Jennings.  John Lawton.  Edwin Smith.
Bridle Cutters:  Charles Adams & Son.  Fairbanks & Lavender.
Brush Makers:  James Eagles.  Charles Hall.
Buckle Makers:  John Mewis.  Joseph Tucker (who also made buttons).
Butchers:  Fanny Farrington (pork butcher).  James Hayes.  Thomas Kendrick.
Carriage Lamp Maker:  Charles Cooper.
Chemist:  Joseph Brindlay.
Clothes Seller:  Joseph Beckett.
Coach and Harness Component Makers:  W. Brooks & Company.  Fairbank & Lavender.
Curriers:  Joseph Bowrin.  Edward Holden.
Hairdressers:  John Hutton.  Thomas Whitney.
Harness Maker:  Charles Adams & Son.
Hat Maker:  Luke Pearson.
Iron Dealers:  William Gray.  Henry Marlow.
Ironmongers:  Charles Adams & Son.  R. W. and J. James.  George Walton.
Music Teacher:  Hyla Holden.
Public Houses:
Woodman. Licensee - William Cooper.
White Horse. Licensee William Oakley.
Three Cups. Licensee - Maria Scudemore.
Swan With Two Necks. Licensee - Richard Shutt.
Spread Eagle.  Licensee - Phineas Somerfield.
Red Lion. Licensee - William Nightingale Jones.
Rodney. Licensee - John Male.
Angel. Licensee - James Hayes.
New Inn. Licensee - James Kilner.
Saddlers:  Vincent Beams.  Richard Moody.  William Owen.  Henry Thomas.
Saddlers' Ironmongers:
Charles Adams.  William Henry Brookes & Company. Fairbanks & Lavender.  Joseph Lavender.  Sophia Newton & Company. George Walton.
Shopkeepers:  Robert Allen.  Caloe Thomas.  Mary Carver.  Elizabeth Jennings.  James Thomas.  Henry Turner.  Isaac White.
Surgeon:  George Adams.
Wire Stripper:  William Gray.
By the latter part of the nineteenth century there were a large number of shops in Park Street, which became one of Walsall's busiest streets. Charles Crooke had a beer and wine shop on the corner of Park Street and Station Street, opposite the railway station. In about 1870 he converted the shop into Crooke’s Music Hall, which became the Alexander Theatre. In 1886, when it was acquired by William Henry Westwood, it was known as the Gaiety Theatre. The theatre was rebuilt in 1890 and became the Grand Theatre.

By the end of the century, the Metropolitan Bank had a branch in Park Street and in 1900, Walsall's most successful theatre, Her Majesty’s Theatre, opened at the top of the street. There were several pubs and dining rooms and a branch of Lloyds Bank and Lloyds Bank Chambers, which opened in the early years of the 20th century..

Park Street in 1900.

    Businesses in Park Street in 1900:
1.   R. T. Jupp. Tailor and Outfitter.
3.   Magor Limited. Chemists.
5.   G. Attkins & Son. Grocers and Provision Merchants.
7.   John Cleland. Boot and Shoe Maker.
9.   Frank H. Tandy. Tobacconist.
11.   New Inn. Licensee - Mrs Margaret Ann Donnellan.
13.   E. T. Holden & Son. Tanners and Leather Work.
15.   James Baker & Sons Limited. Boot and Shoe Makers.
17.   Three Cups. Licensee - Joseph Russell.
19.   Robert Breeze. Printer and Tobacconist.
21.   Mrs A. E. Wilde. Woollen Warehouse.
23.   James Gilbert. Ironmonger.
25.   Magor Limited. Chemist.
27.   Ralph Richman. Linen Draper.
29.   Charles Albert Froggatt. Grocer.
31.   E. A. Denham. Advertising Contractor and Stationer.
33.   Joseph Hague. Grocer.
35.   J. Drew. Butcher and Cattle Dealer.
37.   Briggs and Son. Boot Manufacturer.
39.   John Hubball. Hairdresser and Hosier.
41.   White Horse. Licensee - George Thomas.
43.   Simeon T. King. Tea Merchant.
45.   Samuel Allen. Pork Butcher.
49.   John Hill. Dining Rooms.
51.   E. Taylor. Confectioner and Pastry Cook.
53.   Durham Ox. Licensee - George Jeffries.
55.   Grand Theatre.
57.   Joseph Russell. Tailor.
59.   Nelson & Sons. Meat Importers.
61.   Singleton & Cole Limited. Tobacco Manufacturers.
65.   Eastman & Company. Butchers.
67.   Drug Supply Stores.
69.   Red Lion. Licensee - Thomas Jones.
71.   H. V. Jessop. Chemist.
73.   Amos Randle. Fruiterer.
75.   Walsall Picture Framing Company.
77.   A. F. Wood. Butcher.
79.   E. H. Moffatt. Jubilee Restaurant.
2.   Ennals & Company Limited. Gentlemen's Hosier and Outfitter.
4.   Metropolitan bank.
6.   John Stirling. Clock, Watchmaker and Jeweller.
8.   Rutland & Lett. Wine and Spirit Merchants.
10.   Boots Drug Company Limited.
12.   Samuel Reading. Grocer.
14.   Maypole Dairy Company.
16.   Barratt & Forrester. Tailors.
18.   Frederick Thompson. General Draper.
20.   Edward A. Biggs. Jeweller.
22.   Star Tea Company.
24.   William Plant. Wine and Spirit Dealer.
26.   James Fenton & Sons. Cabinet Makers.
28.   George Denham. Draper.
30.   New Station Hotel. Licensee - Mrs Mary Winkle.
32.   F. W. Longmore. Gentlemen's Outfitter and Hatter.
34.   Tom J. Vigus. Clothier and Tailor.
36.   Paramore & Bluck. Confectioners.
38.   Broomhall & Company. London Tea Stores.
40.   Stephens & Stephens Limited. Drapers.
42.   George Elliott & Son. Pharmaceutical & Analytical Chemists.
44.   William Page. Fishmonger.
46.   Empty.
48.   Butler Brothers. Wholesale Saddlers.
50.   Midland Supply Company.
52.   Priory Hotel. Licensee - Edwin James Diver.
54.   Joseph Noake. Harness Makers and Saddlers.
56.   Cyrus Cutler. Glass and Colour Dealer.
58.   Henry Gee. Baker.
60.   William Payne. Pork Butcher.
62.   Swan With Two Necks. Licensee - John Sheath.
64.   Eliza P. Dutton.
66.   Joseph Frisby. Boot Stores.
68.   Thomas C. Sheen Company. Baker & Confectioners.
70-72.   Robert James Miller. Printer and Stationer.
74.   Edward Butler & Sons. Wholesale Saddlers.
One of the prominent businesses in 1900 was a grocers run by Attkins and Son. It was founded in the 1850s and had three large windows overlooking Park Street. The large store sold groceries, provisions, butter and cheese, home-cured hams, bacon, tea, and coffee, etc. Also Gilbey’s wines and spirits, Bass’s and Allsopp's ales, and Guinness stout.

On the opposite side of the street was J. Fenton & Sons furniture shop, which had a factory at the back where furniture was made. Products included dining and bedroom suites in all woods, and a range of tables, carpets, rugs, and mats.

An advert from 1899.

An advert from 1916.

An advert from 1916.

A view of Park Street before 1900 with the Three Cups Inn on the left and a tram passing James Gilbert's ironmongers shop. In the distance is the Grand Theatre. From an old postcard.

A similar view from before 1900. From an old postcard.

Her Majesty’s Theatre, which opened in 1900. From an old postcard.

Looking towards Park Street from Digbeth. On the right is Ennals & Company Limited, gentlemen's hosier and outfitter. The building was demolished in the early years of the 20th century and replaced by Lloyds Bank. From an old postcard.

A similar view taken a few years later with Lloyds Bank and chambers on the right. From an old postcard.

By the mid 1930s, a wide variety of shops could be found the street.

Park Street in 1935.

    Businesses in Park Street in 1935:
1.   A. Smith & Company. Tobacconists.
3.   Taylors. Cash chemists.
5.   Attkins & Son. Grocers, wine and spirit merchants.
7.   J. Baker & Sons. Bootmakers. Previously J. Cleland & Sons. Bootmakers.
9.   F. H. Tandy & Son. Tobacconists.
11.   New Inn. Licensee - Charles Victor Mycock.
13.   E. T. Holden & Son Limited. Leather goods manufacturers.
15.   J. Baker & Sons. Bootmakers.
17.   Three Cups Inn. Licensee - Charles Baxter.
19.   Whitfields. Costumier and mantle maker.
21.   Fred Burn. Tailor. Also H. G. Wadsworth. Estate Agent.
23.   W. Barratt & Company Limited. Bootmakers.
25.   Boots the Chemist.
27-31.   R. Richman & Son Limited. Drapers.
33.   National Provincial Bank Limited and Bank Chambers.
35.   Frank Platt. Solicitor. Also C. L. Wilson. Chartered Patent Agent.
37.   A. Moss & Company. Jewellers.
39.   F. J. Batchelor. Mantle Warehouse.
41.   White Horse. Licensee - William Albert Hall.
43.   Premier Wallpaper and Paint Stores.
45.   A. Preedy & Sons Limited. Tobacconists.
51.   Collette. Coat and Gown Specialist.
53.   Durham Ox Inn. Licensee - William Taylor.
55.   Grand Theatre.
57.   W. R. Wootton. Hairdresser and Fancy Goods Dealer.
59.   C. Shuffrey. Draper.
61.   C. W. Greaves. Newsagent and Tobacconist.
61b.   H. Beebee & Company. Curriers and Japanned Leather.
65.   J. Sharman. Boot Dealer and Stationer.
67.   Hughes and Holmes. Ironmongers.
69.   Red Lion. Licensee - Thomas Purton Cole.
71.   W. A. Bell. Chemist.
73.   Central Piano Saloons Music Warehouse.
75.   Central Piano Saloons Music Warehouse.
77.   Warwickshire Furnishing Company Limited. House Furnishers.
79.   Warwickshire Furnishing Company Limited. House Furnishers.
2 - 6.   Lloyds Bank Chambers.
8.   J. H. Greenwood. Ladies' Outfitter.
10.   J. & F. Stone. Radio Supplies.
12.   Orton Garnett. Gents' Outfitter.
14.   Maypole Dairy Company.
    Marks & Spencer.
    True Form Boot Company. Boot Dealers.
32.   Wilson's Gown Specialists.
34-36.   Fifty Shilling Tailors.
38.   Scotch Wool and Hosiery Company.
40.   J. Sainsbury. Provision Merchants.
42.   G. Elliott & Son. Chemists.
44.   W. Timpson Limited. Bootmakers and Repairers.
46.   Peacock's Stores Limited. (Peacock's Bazaar.)
48.   Butler Brothers. Saddle Tree and Riding Saddle Makers.
50.   W. H. Smith & Son. Newsagents and Stationers.
52.   Priory Hotel. Licensee - James Bolton.
54.   Hill's Furnishing Company Limited and Lane's Butchers. Jacey Buildings.
56.   Cutler's Cooked Meats.
58.   Mayfair Café.
60.   E. James Limited. Pork Butcher.
62.   Swan With Two Necks. Licensee - Victor Harold Worrall.
64.   J. H. Dewhurst Limited. Butchers.
66.   J. Frisby Limited. Bootmaker.
68.   Cooles'. Bakers and Confectioners.
70-72.   R. J. Miller. Stationer and Post Office.
74.   Ideal Home Furnishing Company. Also E. Butler & Sons Limited. Saddle and Harness Manufacturers.
76.   Hubball's Chemist.

A view from the early 20th century with Attkins & Son, grocers, wine and spirit merchants on the left, along with J. Baker & Sons, bootmaker's shop. On the right is Lloyds Bank. From an old postcard.

A similar view from around the same time. From an old postcard.

Another view with Maypole Dairy on the right. From an old postcard.

A view of the opposite side of Park Street looking towards The Bridge. On the right is R. Richman & Son Limited, drapers, with Boots the Chemist to the left. From an old postcard.

Looking up Park Street from The Bridge with the Grand Theatre and Her Majesty’s Theatre in the distance. From an old postcard.

A similar view from the early 20th century. From an old postcard.

A busy shopping day. From an old postcard.

An advert from 1936.

In June 1937 Her Majesty’s Theatre closed and was demolished to make way for the Savoy Cinema, later known as the A.B.C. In June 1939 the Grand Theatre also disappeared after being completely destroyed by fire.

Park Street in the mid 1920s. On the right is J. Frisby Limited, bootmakers, The Swan With Two Necks pub and E. James Limited, pork butcher. From an old postcard.

The top of Park Street in the 1920s. From an old postcard.

Another view of the top of Park Street. From an old postcard.

An advert from1916.

Looking down Park Street towards the Bridge in the late 1920s. On the left is E. James Limited, pork butcher and Melias grocers. From an old postcard.

A 1950s view of the top of Park Street. From an old postcard.

An advert from 1954.

An advert from 1954.

An advert from 1954.

A 1950s view of Park Street with the A.B.C. Cinema in the distance. From an old postcard.

A 1960s view looking towards the A.B.C. Cinema. From an old postcard.

A view from the 1970s with Woolworths on the right. From an old postcard.

After the Second World War, Park Street continued to attract large numbers of shoppers. Many well-known companies such as C & A and BHS opened large stores in the street. One significant development was the opening of the Saddlers Shopping Centre in April 1980. It is named after the town's most famous industry and is built on the site of E. T. Holden & Sons tannery, much of which was destroyed in a fire in January 1908. Part of the development included the modernisation of the railway station. The shopping centre was refurbished in 1989/90 and joined the now closed Marks & Spencer store.

In the 1960s and early 1970s the Quaser Centre across the road was built. It is now known as the Park Place Shopping Centre and includes Wilkinsons and Boots. A new Woolworths store was built at the top of Park Street in 1996 as part of the Town Wharf Development, along with the shops between Station Street and the Red Lion and the ex-BHS store. The top of Park Street was also tidied up in 1999 as part of the Town Wharf Development. Another well known landmark in Park Street is the 'Needles' Canopy at the end of Butlers Passage. It was made and designed by the sculptor, John McKenna and commemorates the town's leather industry. Butlers Passage is named after Butler Brothers who manufactured high quality riding saddles in a factory that was alongside the passage. The firm went into voluntary liquidation in January 1981.

Sadly, as people's shopping habits have changed over the last decade or so, many once familiar high street names have disappeared. Park Street has lost some once-important shops including Woolworths, BHS, C& A, Marks & Spencer, and T. J. Hughes. Hopefully this trend will not continue, and Park Street will soon have a number of new shops and an increased footfall.

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