Curiosity of the Month

Museum volunteer Ian Gregory has selected March’s Curiosity and he has focused on local history again which is never a bad thing, given his fondness and knowledge of the subject. Over to you, Ian:

There is, among thousands of old photographs in Buxton Museum, an image of an off-licence. A sign outside reads ‘Old No. 2.’ India Pale, Irish Whisky and imported cigars are advertised on large ground floor windows. The name above the door is John Lawson.

DERSB 2004.45.477

I don’t remember this particular shop but seeing its picture made me think. There was a time within living memory when Buxton and other small towns were full of shops offering a range of goods and services. My mother can recall that period. Buxton had a furniture showroom, shoe shop, pet shop, butchers, electricity showroom, confectioner, menswear and more. A village as small as nearby Dove Holes even had its own Co-op, where the locals could buy the necessities of life.

Today things are different. Many villages have lost their shops altogether. Even in Buxton there are empty units and charity shops where thriving businesses once stood. This is due to several factors, not least the rise of the motor car and the internet which are outside of the individual’s control. One or two old businesses are still there; Potters, Hargreaves and J. Westons spring to mind. Nevertheless, I doubt I’m alone in wishing for more life in our high streets.

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