Businesses

Compiled by Corinne Gibbons and Jan Cooper,

Ninfield Local History Group members

Post Office, High Street, Mavis Spandley, Harold Ramsom and Milly Hayler (nee Pocock).

Manchester Road

– formerly Ashburnham Road until the 1960s

– known locally as “Back Road” in the 1990’s

Grocers and Drapers

Mr. Wickens ran Wickens & Sons in 1890. The building dated from around 1700 and was demolished in 1990. They must have had a delivery round of groceries as Mr. Freeman was the van man. By 1913 the store was run by Mr. Botting then renamed Manchester House it was to become Ninfield’s supermarket in the 1960s and by 1973 the Post Office moved in here.

London House housed a shoe shop with a Mr. Bowden in charge and  then later run by a Mr. Sargent from 1940. It had a short turn as a Wool Shop in the 1980’s. Then the post office on the move again, was here in 1990 when Manchester House closed. It is now a B&B.

Bakers

There was a bakers at the back of High Knoll from 1841. From 1890 it was run by the same family of Sargents up until the 1950’s after which the bake-house was replaced with a bungalow.


High Street

– known locally as “Front Road” in the 1900’s

Post Office

Sub-postmaster and grocer Mr. A.E. Smith became sub-postmaster at Ninfield in 1905, replacing Benjamin Bourne. Like his predecessor, he successfully combined running the village post office with operating a grocery store. In the early 1930s his sons ‘Josh’ and ‘Pickle’ began shouldering some of the work, and the business, previously known as “A. E. Smith”, became “A. E. Smith & Sons”. At the post office counter was Miss. Ella Crouch. Also at the shop worked Mr. Frank Duke, Mr. Roy Bourne, Mr. F. Spandley.  The grocery and post office were still operating under this expanded name in 1938. Smith’s post office in the High Street (Front Road), caught fire on the 11th January 1908 and was rebuilt on the same spot until 1975 when it was demolished. The Post Office moved to other premises.

Ninfield old Post Office in the High Street.

Ashburnham Mill, Morris & Divall, was a Post Mill in working order in 1890 and Mr. William Morris was the Miller. Mr. Divall ran the bakers from a building just beside the Mill. Later it was Mr. Reg Catt in charge. He took over from Miller Morris. He too had a baker’s round. This bakery is now closed and the mill pulled down in 1937 because it was unsafe.

Bakers

Mr. Wells and sons had a bakers on the High Street from 1913 -1983. In 1913 George & Amy Wells took over The Bakery in the High Street with their sons Ron and Cyril.  A horse and cart was used for deliveries until George acquired the first Model-T Ford van (the first in the village) which he subsequently sold for 25 shillings ten years later.  The Infant teacher at Ninfield C.E. Primary School in the 50s, Miss. Aimes, later married Mr. Cyril Wells, (now deceased), who part-owned the bakery with his brother Ron. Ron was born in Ninfield in 1916 and became the village baker at Leicester House (The Bakery) in the High Street.  Ron, his wife Grace, and brother Cyril continued their family business until Ron’s retirement in 1983 when the business was sold.  A life-long Methodist, Ron died on 27th March 2012 after celebrating his 95th birthday in 2011.  

Tea Shop

The Green Teapot was first a butchers on the High Street from 1891 until the late 1920s. It then became a Tea Shop sometime in the 1930s before closing in 1950’s. It is now a private house.

G. Clifton, Electric shop, were a wood and coal merchants in 1915. John Munn, and Thomas Sargent sold coal during this time from a house which was later used for selling  electric goods in the 1960’s. Mr. Bowden sold photo equipment and developing was available.  

Chemist Shop

The 1960’s chemist shop was run by Mr. Kitchen  who was the Chemist. With help from Mr Goodyear, then Mr. Cooper. It closed in 1978 and is now two flats.


The Green

The Forge

The resident blacksmith in 1890 was Mr. Will Fairall. But by 1913 it was Mr. Steer. In the 1930’s the building was modified for use as the gents toilets for the new Public House. Later it was demolished  to make room for a car park. New Inn was the name of the pub when it moved  from the beerhouse into the new 1930’s  building. Later, the demolished Forge made way for the car park.

United Friends beer house was in the house next door to the present public house in 1890. The Inn keeper was Mr. Bill Kenward.

The Blacksmiths Inn was first called The New Inn, then in 1970s United Friends, before its last name change in 2000.       

Rose Cottages

In 1890 one of the tree cottages was where Amos Chapman had his Cobblers shop and by 1918 his three daughters had turned it into the Sweet Shop then later,  Mr. H Roberts had a Barber’s Shop.

Wheelwrights

In 1913 Mr. Crouch was the carpenter in what had been the wheelwrights for many years. His brother Ted had the Coach Paint Shop next door. The two houses Fairview and Fairmount now stand on this spot.  

Tobacconist             

This little shop in 1913 was for many years run by Mr. Henderson who also sold sweets. When it closed in 1978 it had been run by Mrs. Molly Morris.

Dressmaker

1933 Mrs. Mitchell had a dressmakers premises at 1, Sunnyside Villas.

Butchers

M. Pont & Son. The Pont family had been butchers at their shop on The Green for three generations. They also had the slaughter house next door. Bullocks, sheep and pigs were killed there. Mr. W. Veness was a good hand with the pole axe. Mondays was the usual killing day. The slaughter house was demolished in January 2013 long after it had closed down.

M. Pont Butchers, Mark Pont and his wife on the left, Gilbert White far right, 1912.

Cycle Shop

Mr. Munn had a busy cycle repairs business during the 1950s.

Commercial House

The Stocks was the name of the Coach Inn at the time when there were toll gates in place around the 1880’s. By 1890 it had changed to stables next to the Inn and housed the coach horses.  It was here that the foxhunt met for the hunt. In the 1930’s a new public house was built and a change of name again to The Kings Arms. It was to stay the same for the next seventy odd years until in 2009 it became the Carvery.       

Garage

Bridges Garage, at the cross road to Catsfield where it is still to this day, was once thatched. Those were the days before Health and Safety regulations. Later another garage, Wilmots Garage along the Bexhill Road, opened for car repairs. This closed in 2010.


Church Lane

Shoe Repairs

Mr. Bowden had a small shop in 1918 and by the 1950’s Mr. Tate was making and repairing shoes in Church Lane.


Standard Hill

Moor Hall

From 1930-1980’s Moor Hall was a posh hotel. Sadly demolished in the 1990’s

Luxford House

Luxford House ran tea rooms in 1930, formally, Lower Standard Hill Farm.

Luxford House Team Rooms

Coombe Cottage

Coombe cottage in Coombe Lane was the home of Mr. Tugnett in 1918. He was a watch and clock maker who also tended the time pieces of the Ashburnham and Normanhurst Estates.


Would you like to know more about the Shopkeepers and Traders of Ninfield? Our book, authored by Liz Darbyshire, is full of fascinating insights:


Lower Street

Morhouse was a double fronted shop in the 1890’s with a grocers one side and a drapers the other side in the hands of John Wrenn. It appears as Mr. Cramp was the  proprietor by 1915. The building dates from before 1700 and is Grade II listed.  Now a private house.

Shoe Shop

Neville & Co. was a shoe shop in 1905 with John Beeney the shoe maker.

Men’s Hairdressers

Joe Hutchinson’s little shop was a popular men’s hairdressers up on the bank in Lower Street in 1915. His sister Olive had a ladies hairdressers next door. 

The photograph shows Joe outside his shop in Lower Street where the bus shelter now stands.  The photograph dates from the 1930s.       

Saddlers

The Saddlers Shop was heavily relied upon to make and  mend all the harnesses and equipment of the horse dependent community. Mr Johnson in 1895  was followed by a Mr. Wightwick  in 1903. The shop was moved to the other side of the road.

Cycle Shop

William Catt was in 1915 a cycle agent he also repaired cycles in the back of his house.  

Grocers

1918 Mr. Hopper’s grocers shop, was later in the 1950s run by Mr Phillips, before turning into a well renowned cheese shop, Frost’s Cheese Shop, which closed in 1979. The present day post office was finally moved here in the mid-1990s.

C. Pook and W. Hooper in Lower Street.

Post Office                    

After demolition in 1975 the Post Office moved to the back of Manchester Stores in Manchester Road (Back Road).  When this general store closed the post office was moved to London House and then for a short time into Strawberry Cottage next to the United Friends pub (formerly the New Inn).  It is now located in the premises previously occupied by Frosts Cheese Shop with our lovely postmistress, Sophie, firmly and efficiently in charge! In February 2013 the post office wall adjoining the village stores was knocked through to combine  the two.

Sweet shop and General Stores

In 1918 Mr. & Mrs. Pook had a sweet shop (Pook’s) which was then later run by Mr. and Mrs. Harmer. In 1964 it became the ‘Star Value Stores.’ It carried on as a General Stores by the Goodwin’s in 1967 behind the counter. Today it is the Ninfield Stores with Chris Moore, one of the last two shops still serving the village. The other being the Post Office next door.

Rose Cottage

 Rose cottage used to be a Butchers shop with Mr. Ottaway as the butcher in 1918.    

Engineers

Packham Bros. were well known engineers who took their huge thrashing machines round the local farms at harvest time.


Russell’s Green

Sweet Shop

1n 1918 a Mr. Hoad had a sweet shop called The Clockhouse along the Hooe Road on the corner by Russell’s Lane.

Tannery

An important business, the tannery employed a lot of villagers and supplied the local Saddlers and glove maker with leather. It closed in 1886.

Other businesses in Ninfield included several Market Gardens, a glove maker,   orchards, dog kennels, a brickworks and also Jeffries Nurseries.

Workers at George Sargent’s Market Garden