Local News

Victorian shop front exposed

Friday 26 June 2020

A late Victorian shop front and signage has been exposed after contractors removed scaffolding from a building in Market Street.

The premises at 7 Market Street were occupied by Gilbertson & Page at the turn of the century, selling feed for game and livestock, as well as equipment for sportsmen and gamekeepers. The company also occupied 9-11 Market Street, now home to Toni and Guy hairdressers.

The Gilbertsons were originally wine, spirit and provisions merchants, trading as James Gilbertson & Sons out of the Egyptian building in Fore Street now occupied by Lussmanns restaurant.

The partnership of Gilbertson & Page was formed when Alfred Page joined the business in 1874 and the Fore Street grocery business was developed, with the company being awarded a Royal Warrant in 1884. The following year the company branched out in to the manufacture of game food products. 

The Market Street premises were occupied in 1898 when the grocery and game food businesses were separated.

The company relocated to industrial premises in Tamworth Road in 1909 and later started manufacturing biscuits for human consumption under the brand name Chadwell Biscuits.

The business expanded further in 1958 when they purchased the Town Mill in Mill Bridge - a flour milling operation run by the Ilott family that transferred operations to larger premises next to the granary in Tamworth Road.

Gilbertson & Page occupied the Town Granary and other buildings in Tamworth Road

Page House at Richard Hale School is named after Frank Page, who was a director of the business, as well as a councillor from 1908 and Mayor from 1912-13. He was killed in the Battle of St.Julien in 1917.

The company - under new ownership - is now based in Welwyn Garden City and best known for their dog food products.

The Market Street premises have recently been a betting shop, bird feed store and womenswear shop. Works are currently taking place to add a flat above the premises.

Note 27/6/20: There is some debate as to whether G&P purchased the Town Mill at Mill Bridge or the Town Mill in Tamworth Road. Some sources are unclear about this. We are awaiting further clarification of the facts.

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