Dear Readers,

As I was saying, when my family and I came to live in Stalbridge fifty-something years ago, the decision was not to decide what to buy today, but which shop to buy it in!   The only thing on one’s shopping list that one could not buy here was heavy furniture – and dental treatment.   I’ll tell you what I mean.

This is where Dikes supermarket used to be located

Understandably, my favourite shop was Meader’s who employed me and taught me how to be a helpful shop assistant.   Meader’s was a large two-storey ironmonger on the corner of the High Street and Station Road, owned and managed by the brothers Dick and Cyril Meader.   They were direct descendants of Charles Meader, jeweller, who founded the shop in 1873, but by 1971 in addition to jewellery they were selling nails, screws, paint, wallpaper, dustbins, garden tools, curtain rings, light bulbs, ornaments, cigarettes – and much more.   It was a very useful shop!

Charles Meader- He pretty much sold anything and everything

So, taking Meader’s as a starting point:  I am standing at the shop’s door on the corner of the crossroads at the centre of the village, on the corner of the High Street and Station Road.   Opposite me, on the corner of High Street and Barrow Hill was, and still is, the post office but today it sells more than postage stamps being much more of an Open-All-Hours corner shop selling all manner of useful things.

Stalbridge Post Office in 1986

On the corner of Ring Street and Barrow Hill was Grace Haberdashery & Gents’ Outfitter & Bridal Shop.  The shop has had several owners since, but is empty as I write.  The opposite corner of the crossroads, Ring Street and Station Road, hasn’t changed: it still has two stone cottages with the Congregational Church next to them, down Station Road.

You can see Graces shop in this old photo of the crossroads

But that is all for now.   I’ll continue later, turning away from the crossroads, turning left from Meader’s into the High Street where the first ‘shop’ we find was the very popular Crown Inn – but more of that in my next letter.