Stanstead Abbotts Local History Society

Frank in the shop 1942.

No 8 High Street, Stanstead Abbotts


 During the early 1900`s No 8 High street, Stanstead Abbots was already an established Cycle shop and Saddlery business this being operated by a Mr. Samuel Long, the business was of a general trader in cycle goods, and a chandler re. saddlery, he also had a premises in hoddesdon,  an early photograph in the High Street series, 1920`s shows a gent standing in the doorway of No 8, and is probably Mr Long.


 On the 12th day of October 1923, the business changed hands, being bought  by Mr Frank Andrews, all stock in trade manufactured or un manufactured including all tools, implements, utensils,and articles used in the business were bought for the sum of £590. Frank having been in business in  Hoddesdon was now in a larger, more suitable location, moving with  his family from Park view cottages, Capel lane, Rachael his wife, sons Sonny and Alfred {Fella} and daughter Jean, were now in residence.


 Trade at this time was very much involved with the local farming commununity, Tractors were few due to their high price, therefore harness repairs and leather goods were much in demand, also reaping machines { binders } had many belts and canvas carrying mechanisms, all of which over time needed repair or replacement, people would at this time repair their own boots and shoes, leather hides were sent by rail, and many arrived at the station with a piece missing, obviously someone else had a hole in their boot!.


 Cycling at this time was for many people the only means of transport, cars were few, and only for the better off, so a good deal of trade involved cycles new and secondhand, an agency for Raleigh cycles was established, as the years rolled on the family grew up, and Alfred { fella } was drawn into the trade ,and worked alongside his father in both the leather and cycles.


 1939 and Alfred { fella } was called up for army service and very soon shipped off to Egypt, where in the R.E.M.E.workshops he carried on his trade as a saddler, back at No 8 Frank carried on, he did not have the best of health, having been through WW1, and survived, although affected by being gassed, this left him prone to chest infections, and weak during the cold winter weather, however, survival was the word, and as a true blue was an ARP Warden on duty at Esneye by the Searchlight unit and watching out for incendiary bombs.


 1946 saw the return of Alfred { fella } and a reduced business in the saddlery, WW2 had caused many farms to become more productive,and horses were old fashioned, but cycles were still sought and in fact in very short supply, so a good trade in rebuilt cycles was pursued , gradually things got better and a few cars were available, and for some, affordable!, Frank was by now slowing down, and semi retired, Alfred {fella } took over the business and did venture into the motorcycle trade, in a small way. By the 1970`s the cycle trade was again very slow, and Alfred {fella } sold the property in 1972 , this property then became the business of  D C Butler Motorcycles which continued until the business transferred to another location in 2012. 

Tom & Jean Gilby { Nee Andrews}