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70 Newland Street

No. 70 has 15th-century origins, and is in a prominent corner position fronting onto a wide pavement area. Because of Its prominence in Witham’s past trade and its contribution to community life, this shop is important to the history of Witham. The front of the shop is a facade put on to an older building and overlaps the shop next door. It is plaster rendered and pargetted inside a wooden surround. This  building has been occupied by a stationers shop from 1800 to 2001; the back part was a printer's  workshop.

 

On March 1st 1869, one of the country's strangest and Witham's first four-page newspaper appeared. It was called "Tom-Tit". Published by Richard S. Cheek, printer and bookseller here at the price of one halfpenny and with a circulation of 1500. About the end of the nineteenth century the business was run by John Day. By the start of the 1900s Bernard Afford had taken over the business as printer and stationer. He produced picture postcards of Witham, many of which are still around to-day. In the printing works behind, many posters, leaflets and documents relating to Witham's activities were printed. The Chelmsford firm of J H Clarke came to Witham in 1926 and were to occupy the shop and printing works until about 1970. It was after Clarke's closed that the shop was taken over by Martin's, newsagents and stationers and the Witham Post Office was transferred here in 1994 but was later moved again to McColl Newsagent further along Newland Street. Next a Discount Superstore held the premises until the restaurant franchise Prezzo opened in 2014. The building boasts an Ordnance Survey Benchmark.

 

Sources: Braintree & Witham Times; Albert Poulter; Cyril Taylor; Janet Gyford; Witham & Countryside Society.

Text and Photographs: John Palombi and Cyril Taylor unless otherwise accredited. Illustrations: John Finch and Julie & John Denney. Translations: Google.com. Original Concept: Joy Vaughan, Witham Town Centre Strategy Group. Narration: John Rhodes
 

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