A Modern Building?
49-51 Station Street are located in what looks like a modern building which houses three shops/businesses. However, I am grateful to Christine Evans for explaining, in a comment on Kirkby Living Memory Facebook Group, that her understanding was that a new frontage was added when the shop was converted from one into three but that the original building still stands.
The first shop in the modern building is Kim Nails and their address is 49 Station Street. They have been there since at least September 2017. However, in April 2017, the sign read Bellton’s Bakery & Sandwich Bar. The shutters were down and there was a “To Let” sign on the property. They had been in operation since at least October 2008.
Next door to Kim Nails is a card and gift shop called Best Wishes. Their address appears to be 51B Station Street. They have been there since at least April 2011. However, before that, from October 2008 to July 2009, there was a similar looking shop called Occasions.
Ashfield Therapy Centre
Next to Best Wishes is the Ashfield Therapy Centre whose address is said to be 49-51 Station Street. This is the base for foot health clinic Your Feet First. Ashfield Therapy Centre has been there from at least March 2022 but the Your Feet First sign only appeared late from April 2023. Previously, Your Feet First appears to have been at 68 Station Street.
Body Grooves School of Dancing
Next door, or possibly upstairs is Body Grooves School of Dancing whose address is said to be 55 Station Street. I am not sure if this school of dancing is still operational. The sign for Body Grooves School of Dancing has been there since at least August 2009. Prior to that, in October 2008, there was no sign on that door.
From September 2020 to August 2021, the current property was empty. In September 2020, there was a “To Let” sign but, by August 2021, this had gone. From at least October 2008 to March 2019, the frozen food specialists Farmfoods were based here but they are now based on Lowmoor Road.
In 1941, Mary J Newcombe had a drapers shop from 49-51 Station Street and they were the last odd numbers recorded. In that same Directory, Frank Newcombe was listed as a joiner at 1 Clumber Street.
In 1928, P H Newcombe was listed as the draper at 49-51 Station Street. As in 1941, Frank Newcombe was listed as a joiner at 1 Clumber Street.
Newcombes Drapers, Clothiers and Carpets appears on Jacques’ List of Station Street retailers circa 1920-1940.
In 1898, Philip Newcombe was listed as a travelling draper.
The shop is described in some detail by Mark Ashfield in “Christmas Pigs and a Summer Donkey” (p19). He described it as “the flourishing local empprium, the nearest thing Kirkby had to a departmental store“. Things he recalled being sold there included curtains, clothes, household linens, shoes and carpets. “The place had a reputation, and one recalls the slight figure of a female cousin seeming to shoot up six inches on the day after she left school. ‘She’s got on at Newcombe’s,’ her mother announced; and suddenly the young lady had taken a long stride towards maturity, and would know all about buttons, yardsticks, being able to tear calico in that enviable professional way. Schooldays gone for ever, she would have her hour for lunch in between serving the Kirkby shoppers; the doorway to retailing and its attendant gossip had magically been opened“.
Edith Searson, in her book(let), “I Also Remember“, also described Newcombes in some detail. She recalled it as a big shop with words painted on the brickwork on the upper part of the building. The shop was known as Newcombe’s General Drapery owned by Philip Newcombe. She noted that there were different things in different windows – boots and shoes, household drapery, women’s wear and men’s wear. She noted that Mr Newcombe’s son, also called Philip, took over the business later. One specific memory was “in later years, when bobbed hair came in vogue, a room upstairs was fitted up for the different branches of hairdressing. I remember going for a trim on several occasions. a member of the family, Evelyn Newcombe, had this hairdressing business, which developed and grew as time went on.“
The Newcombes were a well-known Kirkby family. They and their shop have been remembered fondly in a number of Facebook discussions.
In October 2010, Susan Clay asked if people recalled Newcombes. In April 2020, Christine Evans posted a photo of Newcombes from December 1967 that had appeared in a newspaper article. Then, in January 2021, Nic Clarke posted a photo of some of the Newcombes’ staff from the late fifties/early sixties. Different contributors recalled shopping there. Colleen Varnam Flint recalled buying her wedding dress there. Andy Wetherill and Alwyn Bowskill noted getting scjool uniforms there. Sharon Griffiths remembered seeing Santa there. Chris Roebuck recalled having her ears pierced there. Jen Thornley and Betty Phillips recalled there was a hairdressers upstairs. Some, such as Maureen Greaves, had worked there while others had had friends and family members work there.
Most recently, in November 2023, Alwyn Bowskill posted a number of photos of Newcombes. He noted, “that everything was kept in deep dark wood draws. I also remember that in the sixties they didn’t have tills? Your money and receipt was sent to a central cashiers office were the receipt was franked and returned with your change to the shop in a tube like container. A similar system operated by compressed air was also used in Sutton Co Op when it occupied the site of the recently closed Wilcos store!” Daphne Cantrill recalled this system saying, “Oh the joy of seeing money tubes sending the change down as if by magic! And the smell!“.
In a recent comment on Kirkby-in-Ashfield People Facebook Group, Carol Harrison recalled that her neighbour, Mr Nuttall, had been the manager at Newcombes. When Newcombes closed, she thought that they moved to Buxton to open their own business. It seems that this was in 1971. Roy and Joan Nuttall bought the Potters department store in Buxton. It is still run by the Nuttall family.
Photographs of Newcombes
I have a number of adverts from Newcombes between 1950 and 1969.
As early as 1901, Philip Newcombe, a draper, was living at 49 Station Street with his first wife Martha and their sons, George Ernest, Albert, Philip Henry, Frank and William Arthur. However, Martha died in 1902 and Philip married Elizabeth Wharmby in 1903. Evelyn and Lilian were her daughters.
William Arthur Newcombe
William Arthur Newcombe served as a Bombardier in the Royal Field Artillery during World War I, see Chapter 9. He was killed on 9 October 1916 and his name is remembered in the war memorial that was originally in Bourne Methodist Church and is now displayed at Trinity Methodist Church.
Len Teece’s name is also on that memorial. He was a friend of grandad’s and in his diary entry for 8 September 1915, grandad noted that Len was missing.
Len had lived in Milton Street with his parents, Philip and Annie, and two brothers, James William and Frank. He enlisted with the sixth battalion Lincolnshire Regiment. He died at Gallipoli on 9 August 1915 aged 19, see Chapter 9. As well as being remembered in Kirkby, he is commemorated on the Helles Memorial in Turkey along with 20,770 other names.
The Newcombes in Grandad’s Diaries
Grandad mentioned the Newcombes frequently in his diary right from when the diaries started in 1914.
Albert was a bricklayer/builder and, in April 1932, grandma’s father, Charles Cirket, gave him the contract to build the houses which are now 96 and 98 Welbeck Street. Work started on these on 30 May 1932. Albert did other work for grandad including, in February 1940, fixing a fireplace.
Frank Newcombe was a joiner and, in 1933, he put up a flight of stairs in grandad’s shop, at a cost of £2 12 6 (see Chapter 13).
Grandad noted when Phil Newcombe died in 1939 and he noted, in October 1962, that grandma and her friend, Florrie Booth, went to the funeral of Mary (Mrs Phil) Newcombe at Trinity Methodist Church.
Motorist Discount Centre and Motoring World
Based on a list of shops participating in a window Spotting competition, in the 1980s, it appears that Motoring World occupied 49-51 Station Street.
However, in a comment on Kirkby Living Memory Facebook Group, Dean Nixon pointed out that Motorist Discount Centre were there until 1985. I confirmed this from the 1982 telephone directory. I then found an advert for Motoring World at 49-51 Station Street in the Recorder Free Press in December 1986. So, it seems that Motoring World occupied the premises after Motorist Discount Centre.
A number of customers and staff shared memories of Motorist Discount Centre based on the photo above. Zoe Knox noted that her dad bought a spoiler for a Sierra from that shop. Dean Nixon noted working there and that “it was haunted“. He also noted that Motorist Discount Centre “went bust” around 1984 but some signs stayed up well after that. He noted being in Hull in 2022 and seeing an empty shop with the sign still up!
Residents of 49-51 Station Street
In 1939, the Newcombes living at number 49 were Elizabeth, Evelyn (b1905) and Lilian (b1909). Elizabeth was described as having her own private means and Evelyn was described as a hairdresser. Living with them was George Wharmby, described as an old age pensioner. He was Elizabeth Newcombe’s brother. There was no-one listed at 51 Station Street.
In 1921, Philip and Elizabeth Newcombe were at 49 Station Street with their two daughters Evelyn and Lilian. Fred Farnworth was also with them. He was described as a step-son and he was employed as a draper’s assistant. There was no-one listed at 51 Station Street.
In 1911, Philip and Elizabeth Newcombe were at 49 Station Street with their two daughters Evelyn and Lilian and Philip’s son, Frank who was described as a joiner. Fred Hodgkinson Farnwith was also with them. He was described as a boarder and he was employed as a draper’s assistant. There was no-one listed at 51 Station Street.
In 1901, Philip Newcombe, a draper, was living at 49 Station Street with his first wife Martha and their sons, George Ernest (b1881), Albert (b1883), Philip Henry (b1885), Frank (b1886) and William Arthur (b1888). Also with them was Fred H Farnworth described as a son and a draper’s assistant. George Ernest and Frank were joiner’s apprentices, Albert was a bricklayer’s apprentice and Philip Henry was a draper’s assistant.