Now that we have lost the Post Office it is becoming difficult to remember that Woodborough was once a village with local facilities, with shops and traders, writes David Bagley.
In the first half of the 19th century the population grew rapidly (500 to 900) with framework knitting providing an alternative to farming but then as this died market gardening became a more important source of employment. Numbers dropped to around 700 until new housing developments came in 1970 and since then growth has been steadily increasing.
In the earlier years shoemakers and blacksmiths were essential. The Baguley family were shoemakers for 100 years, trading at the west end of the village at Chimneys and Alveys were cobblers at the east end of Main Street for 80 years until 1991. At least two blacksmiths operated in Main Street, hence Forge Cottage and Old Forge Cottage as reminders of this.
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There were several small shops along the length of Main Street. One in Johnson’s Square was owned by Bish Richardson, then Johnny Ball until 1930, then Pittwoods and Lethbridges up to 1976. In Roe Lane Marriotts ran a small general shop from 1870 to 1940, continued by Cynthia Hallam until 1968.
A bakery was run in a cottage on Lowdham Lane up to 1900, then transferring to Davenport House on Main Street until 1922. Benjamin Greaves operated a small butchery from a cottage opposite the Nags Head where the outhouse which was the slaughterhouse was altered in 1997. John Allison ran a butchers shop near the middle of Main Street for 100 years.
What we remember as the Post Office took over the former Nottingham Co-operative store in 1982, originally the Woodborough Industrial and Provident Society which opened in 1874. The replacement shop next to Church Walk finally closed in 2002. The old Post Office also served as a general store run by two generations of the Foster family.
No.2 Shelt Hill has an interesting history. It was a poultry farm in 1930 and then also provided a petrol pump outside (in 1933 selling Pratt’s ethyl at 1s 6d per gallon!). In the 1940’s afternoon teas were offered and fish and chip sales and ice creams continued for another ten years.
Woodborough also enjoyed eight pubs and beer houses but that is another story. In the meantime can we ever expect to have a Post Office service restored? More on this topic can be found at our website.