Styler’s the Drapers

From Andrea Kilcawley ( nee Mansell)

I attach a picture you may be interested in for your website.  Harry Styler was my great uncle.  He ran the drapers shop in Church Green East.  I am not sure of the dates.

I am particularly interested in finding more details ( picture if possible) of my great grandfather’s butchers shop which was at 58 Beoley Road until sometime in the early 1910’s.  His name was Frederick Styler.

I live in London but am going to be in the area on 16th March for the whole day.  Is there anywhere I can go to look up archives of this kind in Redditch.

Thanks for your help.

Andrea Kilcawley ( nee Mansell)

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  1. From Peter Harris…

    Reference the picture in the March newsletter re Styler the Draper. I lived for three years as his neighbour at T.N. Gold the Vets, at no.7 Church Green East from 1965 to 1968. The old man Styler that I remember was a shortish man with a round bald head, wisps of white hair and thick lips. He lived over the shop with his wife, who was also small of statue and white haired. The picture of him and his wife may well have been taken in his younger days.

    The shop window resembled a clothing shop from the mid eighteen hundreds. There were the full length white men’s vests as you see in old Westerns, plus many other undergarments from a long past age. Most of the ‘whites’ had succumbed to the sun and were now a sort of creamy brown hue. There were collarless shirts and starched loose collars, men’s underpants and long johns, plain and plaid scarves. Bed linen, sheets and pillowcases were in abundance as were ladies passion killer bloomers hanging up for all to admire in a prominent place in the window. he also sold bolts of assorted material from which your requirements could be cut.

    Stepping inside the shop was like entering a museum. The old wooden counter and the wooden till which went ping as it was opened reminding one of times past. Very past! The floorboards had seen thousands of boots wearing away the wood around the nail heads sticking up. Access to the upstairs was via an iron circular staircase, similar to the one that used to be further up in the old Indicator shop. In winter it was not unknown for him to have a lighted candle in the shop as his only form of heating and defence from the icy winds blowing in from the street.

    Mr Styler was a lovely man who had difficulty in walking and also climbing the stairs to bed. The kitchen was situated behind the shop and was somewhat spartan to say the least. I used to call in regularly for a chat as he sucked on his empty pipe. He told me he couldn’t afford tobacco as it was so expensive. I used to pop down to Walls newsagents and treat him on occasions as the bubbling noises emanating from the depths of his treasured pipe were somewhat disturbing. On one occasion he was coming out of his kitchen clutching an old iron frying pan containing three sausages. There was one for his wife and two for himself. They had been cooked in water as he couldn’t afford any fat.

    When he and his good wife eventually passed away, great wonder was expressed at the size of his not inconsiderable estate as I recall.

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