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1862 – 2012. 150 not out!

1st January 2012 @ 7:07am – by Derek McKelvey
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Williams (Newsagents) Audlem, celebrates a special anniversary year in 2012 – one hundred and fifty years in business.

During this period it has been run by the same family, by each successive generation!

For those unfamiliar with the background behind the business, here is a brief history:

Eli Williams took possession of Manchester House (our property at 1 Shropshire Street) in 1862 – it was so named, as the tradition of the time dictated, because it sold cotton goods originating from Manchester.

At this time, the business specialised in dress-making, drapery and haberdashery; employing several seamstresses to produce clothing for the more affluent, and selling fabric to the less well off. They catered for children, mourning wear and everyone in between.

At the turn of the century Eli's son, George Williams, had added a printing press and newspapers – though the in-house printing sadly finished with the outbreak of the Second World War.

After the First World War his daughter, Hilda Dutton, had assumed command – she was a woman of good business acumen and confidence who, unusually for the period, could drive a car and ride a motorbike!  

Besides running the shop very successfully over the War years, she also built up a thriving order/delivery service in the Wrenbury and Aston district – an early version of the doorstep delivery services that are operated by some supermarkets today!

In 1958, Hilda's youngest daughter Megan, together with her Salford born husband, Derek McKelvey, bought the business – running it together for nearly 50 years, until their middle daughter Judy, took up the reigns before the turn of the last century.

With the domination of the supermarkets, and the growth of on-line shopping, surviving in today's challenging economic climate has required more changes. Today the family business has moved its emphasis away from clothing, and into specialist newsagency, greetings cards, solid fuel products, household & DIY basics, dolls houses, giftware and tourism.

Five generations and still going strong!

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