The History of Upton Shop

I was around 11 years old when my sister married Michael Butler who was the Son of Ted & Vera Butler owners of Upton Stores. The shop was on the north side of a house then called ‘Dulce Domum’ which has been nicely extended and is now called ‘Lavender House ‘

Most stock was purchased from a local wholesaler, Harvey, Bradfield & Toyer in Didcot, Bread was supplied by Livings Bakery also from Didcot. Incidentally there used to be a Bakery in Upton in Frog Alley owned and operated by Mr A. E. Rowland and deliveries were done using a Horse Drawn Cart.

Two Paper rounds covered the whole village, the Post Office was operated by Vera, there was also a Village Phone Box next to where the Post Box is now. Paraffin was sold by the gallon, measured and filtered to remove any water. I remember bacon was sliced on what seemed to me to be an extremely dangerous machine with a large spinning cutter on one side.

On Saturdays I used to go on the bread round with Ted Butler to Churn Estates and used to meet a rather jolly gentleman who was Sir Charles Colston  he lived in a house called Saltbox and he owned Colston Washing Machine Co.

The Mobile Shops were driven by Michael, the first was a converted Horse Box called ‘ Lucy ‘ which if I remember was very smokey. As time went on she was retired and a nice new blue  Karrier Bantam Shop was purchased and was named ‘ Bluebird’. This was later overturned and written off by a future owner of the business. The mobile shop covered Blewbury, Churn Estates, Chilton and the houses and prefabs at AERE Harwell.

As time went on the shop became less profitable and the upper store was let out to ‘ Upton Craft ‘. Things such as Pottery, Knitted items, Clocks, Corn Dollies, Honey, Paintings and Jewellery were all for sale and made locally by village residents.

Sadly the shop closed some years ago now and I somehow doubt if we will ever have another, but bearing in mind what has happened this last year who knows what may develop in the future.

Chris Smith