For 127 years, Barretts has had a presence in St Neots, but now, director Alan Huckle has confirmed that the store will be closing. According to the Hunts Post’s 26th May Article , he said “The decline has been dramatic, it all happened very quickly”
1900 – Market Square, St Neots, from the east showing the north side from Barrett’s corner to the Bridge & Half Moon Hotel, child in foreground with hoop. about 1900
The Store announced in late 2015 that it was considering its options, but that it may have to shut down.
According to the Cambridgeshire Community Archive Record, Barretts was opened in 1888 by Arthur E Barrett, and Charles Huckle started working there in 1889. Arthur E Barrett died in 1893, leaving his widow, Kitty running the business with Charles. Charles and Kitty Married in 1907, but Kitty died in 1908, and Charles inherited the store.
Barretts are doing a closing down sale open to the public on the 3rd of June.
St Neots, View from Barretts Corner into the Market Square with troops and band playing in 1915
Barrett’s shop was in the corner shop between the Market Square and New Street in St Neots. The shop sold clothing hats and hosiery. This shop window is full of shoes.
Behind the boat is Barretts shop and on the right is Freeman Hardy and Willis shoe shop.
The shop has changed little from the 1940s apart from the shop signage above the windows. However, the sign that once read High Street to the left of the 1st floor corner window has been replaced by a sign saying Market Square – which is too large for the brickwork and actually overhangs the corner. Outside the shop are traffic lights and their accompanying box which houses the workings for the lights. This indicates that traffic is sufficiently increased that the lights are needed at this road junction.
Compared to the 1950’s photograph the whole shop front has now been painted and new shop signs have been put above the shop windows. The shop windows in some cases have been enlarged and the shop is still selling clothing.
Barrett’s acquired a 1960s concrete facade which altered the shop front considerably. The Street sign for the Market Square was put on the building but not the sign for New Street. The shop continued to sell clothing until the 1980s.
Clarkes shoe shop was formerly Claytons Electrical and leather shop, and also Barrett’s general store.