Morland Terrace – 120 years on


The end house of the terrace was originally occupied by renters. The Mansfield family occupied 4 rooms in 1891 and two young single working men occupied another four rooms. I assume they shared the kitchen and any washing facilities.
By the 1950s this had become a double-fronted shop as it is today. It was occupied by the Co-op and I think (although memory is a little vague) that half was taken up with fruit and vegetables and the other half with flowers.

The shop now occupied by AMA was for many years a butchers shop, first Dewhurst and then taken over by Baxters. My mother used to shop here for meat. The butcher was a genial chap from Leamington by the name of Fred Cross. My friend David Snow, after working as a butchers delivery boy, started his apprenticeship here in 1957 before moving on to a successful business career. 

The original occupant was Walter Scott, a coach painter, and his family.

The present Lloyds pharmacy was established as a chemists by Douglas Roberts in the early 1950s. I remember him working for Ewart Dale on the Stratford Road prior to that, presumably learning the ropes. The added string to his bow was his extra training as an optician, so he was able to offer this service in a back room, even though there was an established optician, F. Blagrove, two doors down. Roberts had an engaging personality and this must have been a great asset to him in building his business. I note that his name survives with the optician’s business next door.


The house at the centre of the terrace, with the central doorway flanmed by an optician and a Lloyd’s pharmacy was originally a single residence and in 1891 was occupied by William purslow and his family. He was the works manager and one of the most important men in the town. His occupancy may have coincided with the period when two of the canal-side villas were demolished to make way for workshop expansion and the construction of The Gables.


The shop frontage at number 9 has preserved its Edwardian frontage. In the 1950s the occupants were paint and wallpaper dealers, Byrne and Kershaw. In those days wallpaper was popular and the wall-covering of choice. Paint was mainly reserved for wood. These were still pre vinyl and acrylic paint days. Paint was oil-based, required a lot of preparation and took a long time to dry. The primary component of white paint was still lead oxide.
the residential occupants in 1891 were James Carter and his family. He also had two young male boarders. James Carter was an “Iron trimmer” by trade, which sounds very much like a lost occupation.

Morland terrace begins with the Newsagents at number 5. In 1891 the Biddis family lived here. Walter Biddis was a works foreman and was then 41 years old – well established with his family. In the 1950s Sid Davies ran this as a sweet shop. They sold Walls ice cream here and Woodwards across the Square sold Lyons.
Next door lived quite a small household – Henry Gamble, a coach painter, and his wife, and her younger brother, the 20 year old William Jones, a music teacher.


This corner building was not identified with Morland Terrace in 1891 and looking at the variations in architectural styling I would guess that it was erected by a different builder, possibly a year or two after Morland Terrace.
The occupant in 1891 was Richard Stapley, a 38 year-old Draper. He and his wife came from Brighton and presumably had sufficient capital to set up in business here. The older children were born in Brighton but the youngest, just 2 months old in 1891, was born in Wolverton, which would suggest that they had not been resident for very long and may well have been the first occupants of the building. This was a commercial establishemnt from the very first. Stapley also employed a 29 year old Draper’s Assistant and a 13 year-old domestic servant.
As I mentioned earlier, the shop was a grocery – Dudeney and Johnston. To some degree the present occupiers have returned to Richard Stapley’s trade.

Morland Terrace

The Radcliffe Street side of the Square was originally called Morland Terrace, and there is still a plaque embedded in the wall to record it as such. the huses here were variously numbered as part of Radcliffe Street or The Square, eventually settling upon the latter.

In 1891 the Buckingham Street corner was occupied by a Mr Richard Stapley and his family. He was a draper and outfitter, so from the very first this building was a shop and has continued so to this day. In the 1950s it was occupied by Dudeney and Johnston, Bedford-based grocers with a lot of branches in the region. These were pre-supermarket days, but chain grocers like Dudeneys and Sainsburys were able to offer a better selection of product, often at a better price, than the local, corner-shop style grocer. I suppose there were quite a lot of Dudeney & Johnston-style grocery chains across the country in those days. J. Sainsbury’s was merely one of many, but they had a London base and were obviously able to parlay that advantage into today’s supermarket. Even so, that transition took 40 years.
The other residents of Morland terrace were (in order north to south) Walter J Biddis, a foreman coach builder, and family; Henry Gamble, a coach painter, with his wife and brother-in-law, a music teacher; James Carter, iron trimmer, and family; William Purslow, manager of the carriage works, and family; Allan Mills, coach trimmer; Robert Dakin, coach body maker, and wife; Edwin Wood, Foreman, Fitting dept. and family; Heber Williams, Secretary carriage dept. and captain 1st Bucks RVC, and family; Walter Scott, Coach Painter, and family; Frederick Mansfield, Railway carriage maker, and family; John Clewett, Coach Body Maker, and William Coop, Blacksmith.