The farm is on Barford Road. This photo is held in St Neots Museum – Ref SNEMU image no. G182
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 However, the sign that once read High Street to the left of the 1st floor corner window has been replaced by a sign saying Market Square – which is too large for the brickwork and actually overhangs the corner.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.
The New Inn, St Neots: The pub, on the High Street, (Now ‘The Coach House’) is said to be haunted by Henry Rich, Earl of Holland, who died on March 9 1649.
Holland and his troop of 400 men arrived in the town after being forced from Kingston-Upon-Thames in Surrey by Parliamentary forces.
The earl, who barricaded himself in the inn with some of his men after Roundheads followed him to St Neots, was eventually caught, put on trial and sentenced to death at the Tower of London as a traitor.
A woman reported seeing an apparition of a tall man wearing an ankle length cloak. He walked across the bar and into the yard. Thinking it was a customer who stayed after closing time, the woman went to investigate but found the back door was still locked from the inside.
Captain Rudolph (Rudolf) Meade SMYTHE
Died of wounds 14th September 1915.
Rudolph was born on the 15th June 1885 in Caxton, Cambridgeshire. His parents were Henry Meade Smythe, who died before 20th March 1902 and Fanny Catherine Smythe (nee Pritchard). They married on the 1st May 1884 at Portsea in Hampshire.
Rudolph became a Second Lieutenant on the 16th March 1911 and by the outbreak of war lived at Eaton Ford, St.Neots in Huntingdonshire. His will was made out whilst on the SS Braemar Castle on the 6th August 1915, leaving his entire estate to his mother, Fanny.
2/Lt Rudolph Smythe sailed with the Battalion on the 26th July 1915 but was “decidedly annoyed” to be dropped off at Alexandria, Egypt with the reinforcements on 6th August 1915. As a result he did not take part in the 15th August attack in Gallipoli but landed with the reserves at Suvla Bay 23rd August and commanded Biggleswade’s D Company after the reorganisation in September 1914.
2/Lt Smythe spent less than 3 weeks on the peninsula before being killed by a sniper shot to the head. Although he was rushed to 16 CCS, he never regained consciousness and died the following morning.
Rudolph is remembered on the Helles Memorial, Gallipoli and can be seen in the 1915 Officers group photograph here, third from the left of the third row. His brother, Lieutenant Barlow Woollcombe Smythe, MC also served in the 5th battalion.
The Battalion War Diary records:
“13 Sep 1915 In trenches. Work of improvement continued. Our ships guns bombarded enemy trenches doing considerable damage at 1130. CAPT SMYTHE wounded.
14 Sep 1915 In trenches. Work as usual. CAPT SMYTHE died of wounds.”