Walter Smith’s Grocery Shop at 19 Market Place

In the early years this shop was not numbered but it is located in the Market Place across the alleyway from the property that today is inhabited by Starbucks.

The row of buildings along the North side of Newark Market in the early 20th century. Walter Smith’s shop at No.19 is visible

The row of buildings on the North side of Newark Market Place, early 1900s. Walter Smith’s shop at No.19 is marked

The first reference found is in 1784 in Bailey’s Western and Midlands Directory 1783-1784 where a business in the Market Place is listed as a grocer run by William and Samuel Drury. There is an assumption that the location of this shop is as above as it is known that Mrs Drury was running the business in 1820.

Extract from Bailey's Western & Midlands Directory 1783 - 1784 showing William and Samuel Drury as Grocers in the town.

Extract from Bailey’s Western & Midlands Directory 1783 – 1784 showing William and Samuel Drury as Grocers in the town.

The shop next gets a mention in the book History of the Town of Newark-upon-Trent , written by Richard Phillips Shilton and published in 1820, when it is in the hands of a Mrs Drury. There is a record of a marriage between Samuel Drury and Ann Storks at St Nicholas, Tuxford, Nottinghamshire on 24 October 1783. Samuel and Ann had a number of children including John who was baptised at St Mary Magdalene, Newark on 26 April 1796 and by 1828, as recorded in Pigot’s Directory of Nottinghamshire 1828-1829, p.635 col. 2, the business was being run by Ann Drury and son as a Grocer, Tea Dealer and Tallow Chandler.


There are two further references to the shop in William White’s Directory of Nottinghamshire 1832 and Pigot’s Directory of Nottinghamshire 1835. At this point there is no mention of Ann Drury but her son, John, is continuing as a grocer, tea dealer and tallow chandler. In the electoral rolls for Newark between 1832 and 1840, John Drury is listed in the Market Place as an inhabitant paying scot and lot. This was a municipal tax paid by burgesses and others and until the Reform Act of 1832 it was recorded as a qualification for the borough franchise in parliamentary elections. John Drury died in the early months of 1841 in Newark and his probate record listed at the Prerogative & Exchequer Courts of York, Probate Index 1688-1858 in July 1841 shows that he left £3000. At the time of the 1841 census taken on 6 June 1841, the shop was occupied by John Harvey aged about 20, born outside of Nottinghamshire and a grocer. Also on this census record, listed directly below John Harvey is a Jane Drury, aged about 40 and born outside of Nottinghamshire – her occupation is listed as independent. Research has not been able to identify her relationship if any with the rest of the Drury family.

Walter Smith's Grocery Shop in the late 19th century - possibly with Mr Smith himself in the doorway

Walter Smith’s Grocery Shop in the late 19th century – possibly with Mr Smith himself in the doorway

When the 1851 census was taken, John Harvey is shown as living in Albion Street, Newark and is still a grocer. The shop in the Market Place is now in the hands of Albert Woolfitt aged 28, born in Clifton, Nottinghamshire, married to Julia aged 24, born in Newark and the business is recorded as a grocery partnership employing two assistants, Henry Oswin and John Chambers. Albert and Julia were the grandparents of Donald Woolfitt born in Balderton in 1902 who became a well know actor-manager especially renowned for his productions of Shakespeare and in particular his portrayal of King Lear. He changed his surname to Wolfit at the start of his stage career.


In White’s Directory of Nottinghamshire 1853 and Kelly’s Post Office Directory of Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire 1855 the shop is listed as Kitchen and Woolfitt, Grocers & Tallow Chandlers. Edmund Kitchen is recorded in the 1861 and 1871 censuses of Newark, as a grocer in Victoria Street and a licensed victualler at 4 Market Place respectively. According to the 1861 census Albert Woolfitt is still running the grocer’s in the Market Place. In the electoral rolls for Newark in 1864 and 1868, the Woolfitt family are in Market Place and William Street respectively.

No.17 Market Place at G. H. Porter's grocery shop in the 1950s

No.17 Market Place at G. H. Porter’s grocery shop in the 1950s

By 1869 the shop is listed in Morris & Co.’s Commercial Directory and Gazetteer for Nottinghamshire at 17 Market Place as a grocery run by Walter Smith. It is not known exactly when he took over the business but presumably between 1864 and 1869. There are no records of Walter Smith in the electoral rolls during this period. At some point between 1885 and 1894 the shop was renumbered as 19 Market Place, which it still is today, Walter Smith remained the proprietor of the grocer’s shop until about 1920-22 when it was bought by G H Porter who already owned the grocer’s shop on the corner of Bridge Street. This second shop was run by his son, Cyril, until 1960.

By the mid 1960s the premises were home to Robinson’s tv and radio rentals (see photo), who are still listed there in the Newark trade directory of 1970.

No.17 Market Place as Robinson's tv rentals in 1964-65

No.17 Market Place as Robinson’s tv rentals in 1964-65




Whilst every effort has been made to confirm the accuracy of the precise location and occupants of the shop at 17/19 Market Place, there is a possibility that errors have been made and if anyone has any further information I would be very pleased to receive it.






Researched by Jenny Campbell, October 2016