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This is yet another timber framed building which was given a late eighteenth century brick front in a very elaborate and ornate Georgian style. The present roofing material used is slate which had to be brought from Wales and was not generally available in East Anglia until transport became easier in the nineteenth century.

Like so many very early houses it was originally only one room deep.  It later had its ground floor converted to a shop, and a long extension built at the rear.  The upper part remained as a dwelling, and two ground floor front doors were provided, one at each end.  The right hand one has since been blocked up. 

      

In 1910, the building was badly damaged by a fire at the constitutional club next door (now the forecourt of the United Reformed Church).  The timbered side wall was completely destroyed leaving only the brick chimney standing.  The brick front however was left almost unscathed (see postcard illustration below).  The side wall was rebuilt in brick, giving the impression of a fully brick-built house.

 

For ninety years, from 1845 to 1936, it was an ironmongers.  For the first forty of these years it was Wilson and Son.  Between 1885 and 1908 it had five owners, William Stowlger, Rosse Eagle, G H Herrod, Mr Archer, and Edwin Greenfield.

 

George Beard managed to keep the ironmongers for a little longer; he was there from 1909 to 1934. Then for the next two years it was  Allen's ironmongers. After the second world war it was a cafe called "Maison Carton" until about 1952.  In 1953, Lennard Holt moved his butchers business here from his previous shop across the road at number 143.  In 2008 it was taken over by a new owner but still traded under the name of “Holts”. Chappel-based Direct Meats maintains the business as a traditional butcher and delicatessen.

Sources: Braintree & Witham Times; Cyril Taylor; 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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