1920s photographs of shops in Wickford High Street.

I live on the Isle of Wight and I have recently found among a collection of old family photographs, three photographs of shops taken in the 1920s. My grandfather, Harry Hodd, lived in Wickford between 1920 and 1930, and he had a boot and shoemaker’s shop in Wickford High Street. His sister, Mary-Ann, married Henry Fairhead, and they ran a grocer’s shop, also in the High Street. The third photograph shows my grandfather and another man outside the premises of A.H.Dench, printers, but I have not been able to find out if this is in Wickford. I am also not sure when the Hodds and Fairheads began to trade in Wickford, but I know that Harry Hodd moved to Guildford in 1930. I would welcome any additional information or photos relating to the period when my family lived in Wickford. In particular, since I am not familiar with Wickford, would it be possible to indicate on other photos where these shops were?

Harry Hodd, outside his shop.
Harry Ralph Hodd
Harry Ralph Hodd
My grandfather and another man outside the premises of A.H.Dench, printers.
Harry Ralph Hodd

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  • Hi
    I can confirm that Florence Fairhead was my grandmother, and did indeed run the toy shop as the youngest shop owner, as she was given this responsibility by her father, Harry.

    By Sarah Casemore (19/01/2024)
  • Re Fairhead… If you look at the windows above the current Halls Corner Britannia fish and chips shop, you can see the three leaded windows are identical to the Fairhead shop. The concrete shape separating this building from the garden shop next door still exists although the original Fairhead shop windows above the garden shop have been replaced.

    By Paul Chapman (20/05/2021)
  • The top picture, H.Hodd, was in a row of shops on the east side of the High Street, now demolished. It was more or less where the main entrance to Prezzo is now (https://www.wickfordhistory.org.uk/content/places/in-and-around-wickford-and-runwell/then-and-now-photos). The Fairhead shop is still standing, and is now Halls garden and pet supplies on the west side of the High Street. Dench printers I don’t recognise at all. I suspect this wasn’t in Wickford.

    By Peter Ostrowski (05/07/2020)
  • Middle photograph.
    I do not recognise this building, past or present, and doubt the photograph was taken in Wickford.
    However, H. Fairhead did have a shop in Wickford, trading from the east side of the High Street, opposite what is now Hall’s Corner, and he describes his business as a “high class family grocer”. He was a confectioner, a tobacconist and he sold well known brands such as Lyons Tea and Cadbury. There is a picture of his shop on page 63 (right hand side) of Judith Williams’ book, Wickford: A History (Phillimore). In my own book, Wickford and Around Through Time (Amberley), there is a colour picture showing a closer view of the scene taken in 1980. H Fairhead was then occupied by Yau Lee, Chinese Take-Away (page 48). The building has now been demolished. However, there is for comparison on the same page of my book a more up to date picture taken after the replacement buildings were erected. There is also a black and white picture of a similar view to my 1980s picture on this website which shows Yau Lee. It is under the heading Wickford High Street, Views from Hall’s Corner.
    Further, you may be interested to know that the Chelmsford Chronicle newspaper dated Saturday 18 December 1926 states a 15 year old Miss Florence Fairhead has opened a toy and fancy goods store in Wickford and she claims to be the youngest shop keeper in Essex. I do not know if she is related.

    By David C Rayment (19/04/2020)
  • I am Henry Fairhead’s great granddaughter and can confirm they moved to Guildford.

    By Sarah Casemore (09/04/2020)
  • I dont remember those shops?

    By ALAN HIGLEY (07/06/2017)

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