Priory Square Shops



corner of Priory Square and Coke Street (now called Newhaven Avenue)


The Clatworthy family had the shop on the corner of Coke Street and Priory Square as grocers and glass, china, toy and smallware dealers.

In our archive is a piece of Arcadian China, in the form of a miniature vase and stamped with the shop’s name.  

St Edmund’s Church parish magazine published monthly which started in 1863 was available to buy at their shop, costing one penny.  Thomas Clatworthy served on the committee of Mansfield Woodhouse Cricket Club in 1865.  He was also a quarry owner and bought his gunpowder from Betts the High Street Ironmongers.

In 1891 Thomas rented a house at 1 Pleasley Vale Road from Charles Vallance.  In the early 1900s Thomas was a member of Mansfield Woodhouse Urban District Council, and served as its chairman 1910 to 1911.  He was one of the party who welcomed Major General John Talbot Coke home from the Boer War in 1901 and, in June 1914, Thomas was one of the councillors who met the King and Queen during their fleeting visit to Mansfield Woodhouse while on their travels up and down the country.

‘Woodhus lad’ Albert Homes lived in the first house on Coke Street, next to the little shop run by Mrs Clatworthy.  In one of his letters to the Chad Newspaper he wrote that she was sweet and kindly and he remembered seeing her cutting slices of corned beef out of a large tin on the counter.


In the mid -1940s Mrs Joan Longstaffe took over the sweetie shop cum general store on the corner of Priory Square and Coke Street.  She exposed all the old beams in the shop and stripped them back.  The old stone storage lock up she had is still there, now used as the garage to the first house on Newhaven Avenue.  Mrs Longstaffe had the shop for no more than two years before the Baileys took it over.


Mrs Frances Fell, nee Bailey related to me her memories of her parents’ shops and she took some photographs after she had decorated the shop windows to celebrate the Queen’s coronation in 1953.  Here are some extracts from her story:


Albert and Edna Bailey had two shops on Priory Square from 1946, next door to each other, hugging the corner of Priory Square and Coke Street (now called Newhaven Avenue).

The first was a hardware shop that sold nails and screws, fireplaces, wallpaper and packets of top white and distemper used for decorating just after the Second World War.  They were stockists for Nine Elms Paint and also on sale there were ‘Duddlies’ of assorted sizes depending on how many pints of water the miners wanted to take down the pit.  (‘Duddlies’ were tin water bottles made especially for this purpose.)


Then there were the fish tanks made up over the shop by Mrs Fell’s father and Mr Brown and made to customers’ requirements.

They also cut glass to measure.  Walter Wilcockson remembers Bailey’s shop on the corner of Coke Street and Priory Road that sold sweets and cut pieces of glass among other things.  He remarked how the shopkeeper had glass-cutting apparatus out at the back of the premises (perhaps the old stone storage lock up used by the previous shopkeeper was where Mr Bailey kept his glass cutting equipment?).  Mrs Fell said how people would come into the shop with all kinds of things with which they had measured their windows, including bits of string, shoe laces and old stretched tape measures etc.  But the best one was the day someone came in the shop with two pieces of elastic, one to show the length and one for the width. The look on her father’s face must have been a picture.  He refused to cut the pane of glass and went to the man’s house and measured the window himself with his own steel tape.


Their other shop sold sweets and it was licenced to sell tobacco.  In about 1946/47 they managed to get some toys, dolls, train sets etc which were very scarce just after the war.  Mrs Fell can still remember the day in 1953 when sweets came off ration.  By that lunchtime there wasn’t a sweet or bar of chocolate left on the shelves.  Later on they sold household items, kitchen ware, tea sets, etc.  To celebrate the coronation of the Queen in 1953 Frances decorated the shop front windows.

In about October/November 1959 the shop front was modernised after being damaged.  The driver of a lorry coming down Debdale Lane lost control and ended up wedged in the front of the shop.  There was glass, sweets, and fireworks all over the pavement and a damaged gas meter.  Luckily the accident happened early morning and no one was hurt.



The name above the shop is still Bailey as seen on the photo from the early 1970s.

[Was it later on in the 1970s that the area around Priory Square was redeveloped and several buildings were demolished including Bailey’s shop?]

Please add your memories to this article.  Thank you.  I hope I have spelt the name of the tin water bottle correctly.


Compiled by Ann Sewell
Archivist for the Old Mansfield Woodhouse Society.
Credits and sources:
St Edmund’s Church Parish Magazines 1863 and 1865
Kelly’s Directories
Ratepayers list for 1891
Urban District Council minutes
Memories Letter in the Chad from Woodhus Lad 1985
Memories interview with Mrs Longstaffe
Mrs Fell’s memories and photos
Mr Wilcockson’s memories
Keith Morris’photo.
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