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161 Years of Williams

2nd January 2023 @ 6:06am – by Judy Evans
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160 years at williamswilliams039 newsagents audlem squaresignwriting at williams39 newsagents

A thank you to our customers this century, last century and the one before !

If it was not for your support, and our amazing team of staff (both past and present), Wlliams of Audlem would not be celebrating our 161 th. year in business, this year !

When my Great-Great Grandfather, Eli Williams, took over the business in 1862 ; Queen Victoria was on the throne and Lord Palmerston was Prime Minister, America was in a state of Civil War and the first professional football team (Notts County) had only just been officially formed.

The shop was already a successful drapers that was run by the Kirkham family. Unfortunately the Kirkham's children all died in infancy (for a variety of reasons). The Kirkhams, who were staunch Baptist, therefore had no heirs to take on the business on their death. However, to our good fortune, the local circuit Baptist Minister, was aware of the Williams family — who were already established drapers based in Tarporley (also Baptists). The Williams were looking for additional business premises, as there were two brothers wishing to continue in the trade.... and only one shop !

And so in 1862, Eli Williams first rented, and then subsequently purchased, Manchester House in Audlem — our current shop premises.

Manchester House was constructed in its current form, around 1842, by the then owner of the building next door (Mr Podmore of Madley) — where the cycle shop is located today. The Podmores were wealthy investors & speculators, but did not ever live in Audlem as far as we know.

It would have been named "Manchester House" to advertise the shop's trading links to the then 'cottonopolis' of Manchester — no doubt to convey an air of sophistication to the goods being sold within — hoping to set them apart from the previous home spun, home made woollen items previously produced & worn by the local country folk. It is not uncommon to find many other 'Manchester' or less frequently, 'Liverpool', Houses in the North West of England or North Wales. You may well see other, mid nineteenth century commercial premises (usually shops or former shops) of the same name, if you keep your eyes peeled, when visiting other towns & villages.

However, back to the future now — enough of the history lesson to contend with your hangover !

We'd just like to say, that with your support , we hope that our family can continue serving the community of Audlem, and surrounding area, for a few more centuries to come

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