Unlocking Stourport's Past

23 & 24 Bridge Street

1911 Coronation view of 23 & 24 Bridge Street 23/24 Bridge Street in 1960's. A boarded up eyesore is all that remains today.
Mr Alan Bufton has kindly lent a photograph of the building in 1977 and correspondence from 1966 when the President & other Chief Officers of the British Medical Association visited 23/ 24 Bridge St on the centenary of Sir Charles Hastings' death. Notes by C A Bufton chart the later history of the building.

In the mid-C19th William Pheysey purchased it and set up an agricultural implement and ironmongery business. One of his main customers was Witley Court, then in its heyday. His son, William Howse Pheysey, followed, creating a company Pheysey Ltd which expanded to own four businesses in Stourport and one in Kidderminster. As the estate business declined the company suffered and went into liquidation in 1911.

The senior employees bought out the component parts - Mr Fathers, the blacksmiths business, Mr Nevil Butler, the wood shop; Mr Pheysey took the yard next to Lloyds Garage and continued the implement trade there until involved in a fatal accident whilst walking from his home in New Street early in the 1939-46 War. His son sold that business to Mr Murray Watson of Lincombe Hall who in turn sold to Burgess Motors. Mr James Bufton took over the original business at 24 Bridge St in 1912 and continued to trade as an agricultural and domestic ironmonger. He and his wife lived there until their deaths in the early 1960s. During the 1950s the business was run by James Bufton's two sons, who extended the C18th buildings to accommodate a cash & carry store with works carried out by Thomas Vale in 1956 through until 1970.

In 1981 the premises were sold to Countrywide Properties who turned them into a shopping mall. L T C Rolt, in his evocative description of Stourport in the County Books Series, 1949, singles out 'the shop front of an ironmonger situated near the river bridge (which) looks as if it might be contemporary with the building above and is admirably proportioned'. Elaborate decorations unfortunately obscure the shop front in the 1911 Coronation photograph, above. However there is a good view of it in Dr W McMenemey's Life & Times of Sir Charles Hastings, 1959, and in a copy of a 1954 carnival photograph which we have.

Further information has recently been obtained ( January 2009): In 1810 it was the apothecary's premises ( Richard Jukes and Kenrick Watson) in which Charles Hastings (founder of the BMA) served his apprenticeship before moving on to London to study medicine.
 Buftons in January 2009
This page reprinted from Stourport Civic Society Newsletter No 24 February 1998 with thanks to Mr Alan Bufton.
This page last updated 29 January 2009

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