23 Station Street

King Clouds Vape Shop

King Clouds Vape Shop has been at 23 Station Street since at least July 2018. Before that, from at least June 2015, it was Harvish Convenience Store and, in September 2017, the property was available to let. In April 2011, it was G I Jane’s and, in August 2009, it looks as if it was empty. In October 2008, it was Kirkby Carpets.

23 Station Street in August 2023
This photo appears on Annesley OC Heritage Extra and is included here with permission. It was taken in May 2022 from Floral Expressions, the former electrical shop of Mr Kalancyz. In addition to the Vape Shop, it shows Triple 7 and Challans

Kirkby Carpets

I am grateful to Steve Mcgough for posting on Kirkby Living Memory Facebook Group that he was the owner of Kirkby Carpets.

Gas Showrooms

According to Sue Hardy on Annesley OC Heritage Extra, the Vape Shop was once a gas showroom, something also noted by Edith Searson. In a discussion on Kirkby Living Memory Facebook Group, both Chris Spencer and Christine Evans recalled it being the Gas Showrooms.

Looking up Station Street in the eighties. The Gas showroom is visible on the right. This photo is from the Kirkby-in-Ashfield People Facebook Group and is used with permission.

Hutchinson and Sons

In 1941 and 1942, number 23 was occupied by Hutchinson and Sons, stone and marble masons. They appear on Jacques’ List of Station Street retailers circa 1920-1940.

Entry in 1941 Kelly’s Directory. There is a similar entry in the 1928 Kelly’s Directory

Photographs of Hutchinsons

The same photograph of this shop appears in both David Ottewell’s book “Kirkby-in-Ashfield and Annesley on Old Picture Postcards” (#15) and in “Kirkby & District from Old Photographs” by Frank Ashley, Sylvia Sinfield and Gerald Lee (p104).

Postcard showing Hutchinson’s shop. Wightman’s is visible in the distance. While this postcard is similar to the photo in the books mentioned above, it is not quite the same
This photo of Station Street shows Hutchinson’s in the distance on the left. I cannot quite make out other shops. The photo is from Kirkby-in-Ashfield Facebook Group and is used with permission
This photo of Station Street also shows Hutchinson’s in the distance on the left just beyond the horse and cart. I cannot quite make out other shops. The photo is from Kirkby-in-Ashfield Facebook Group and is used with permission

Recollections of Hutchinson’s

In Mark Ashfield’s book “Christmas Pigs and a Summer Donkey” (pp18-19), he describes how he was scared to go past this shop in the dark as a ten-year-old child. “Behind the shop window were examples of the mason’s art: tombstones of varying design and elaboration. A miniature graveyard, in fact; a place to be sped past on dark and windy nights. Behind and adjoining the chilling area was a house. No doubt, to those who lived there, homely enough, but adding something that was more than a touch macabre.” In a discussion on Kirkby Living Memory Facebook Group, Dot Grice expressed similar feelings noting, “This shop always frightened me a bit as a child it always looked spooky“.

However, in her book(let) “I Also Remember“, Edith Searson describes the different emotions that Hutchinson’s evoked for her, “it is a lovely thought, even today, 68 years later. to think of the Stonemason’s premises, Hutchinson’s, as I remember it. It was like an oasis in the desert, on a hot or tiring day. Everything looked cool there were plants growing among the pieces of stone, and it always looked as if rain had just fallen on it, freshening all the plants up. I remember seeing ferns and shamrock, but I can’t remember specifically the other plants , but it all looked so natural.

She noted that Mr Hutchinson’s two sons helped him in the business but that it changed to E M (East Midlands) Gas Showroom “at least 20 years ago“, that is in the 1960s. In a discussion on Kirkby Living Memory Facebook Group, Christine Evans wondered what year in the sixties Hutchinsons closed. She thought she vaguely recalled the gravestones but she was not sure as she would have been a very young child at the time.

The Hutchinsons

Edward Hutchinson was the Mr Hutchinson in question. The two sons were Albert Edward (b1893) and Thomas Henry Hutchinson (b1898). They had two sisters, Alice (b1892) and Annie (b1896), who were both elementary school teachers. Edward was born in 1864 and he married Alice Green in 1890. He died in 1929.

Grave of stonemason Edward Hutchinson and his wife Alice in Kingsway Old Cemetery in August 2023

Applications to the Kirkby Tribunal During the First World War

Both Albert and Thomas applied to Kirkby Tribunal for an exemption to military service during the first world war. At one hearing, there was an exchange at that Tribunal between the Military Representative and Edward Hutchinson as to whether work as a stonemason was in the national interest. The basis for the application was that the business was dependent on the son because of his father’s infirmity. However, the Military Representative commented “it is not in the national interest that you two should be putting up gravestones.” Mr Hutchinson replied “people keep dying anyway” to which the Military Representative responded that they were dying at the Front too.

Residents at 23 Station Street

In 1939, siblings Albert, Thomas and Annie Hutchinsons were living at 23 Station Street. They were also there in 1901, 1911 and 1921 with their sister, Alice, and their parents Edward and Alice. They are consistently at number 23 with no variation across the different censuses.

In a discussion on Kirkby Living Memory Facebook Group, Jane Burchell recalled that Miss Hutchinson continued to live above the shop even after it had become the Gas Showrooms.

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