Neal relations at Cuckoos Cup, The Wrekin

Uncle Ernest the pharmacist

I’m preparing for a major exercise digitally scanning a whole lot of old family photos (first half of 20th century) so have been checking over my family history records of those I know feature. It might make it easer to organise the scans and make sure all relevant info is gleaned from attached notes etc.

The Laddiman family from Shropshire certainly are in the mix. Ernest John Laddiman married my great aunt Eliza Neal in Norwich, 1905, and at the 1911 census they were living at 14 Market Square, Wellington, Shropshire. He was a pharmacist so I thought I’d try to find any old photos or postcards of the chemists shop, online (knowing none were in our collection). With some helpful suggestions from Ancestry’s Facebook groupies, the Wellington History Group website (on WordPress just like Cutlock & Co) did the business.

Bates and Hunt 14 Market Square May 1960A 1960 photo shows the chemist at 14 Market Square as Bates and Hunt – see Wellingtonia issue 7. Bates and Hunt also had another branch in New Street, which seems to be the original one – it is listed in the 1895 Kelly’s Directory (available on Ancestry) as:

Bates James Limited, chemists & grocers, wine & spirit merchants, dealers in mineral water & tobacco, & agents for W.& A. Gilbey Lim. wine & spirit merchants, 82 New Street”.

There is also an entry:

“Hunt Edward Joshua (James Bates Limited), chemist & grocer, 82 New Street”.

J Halls Chemist Market Square 1890sThis presumably is the Mr Hunt that became a partner later. The furniture (and more?) from the original branch is now the basis of the chemists at Blists Hill Victorian Town open air museum.

At 1895, 14 Market Square was already a chemists, but the name in Kelly’s is Joseph Hall (name just visible in the 1890s photo to left, below the Olivers sign). I am told (via Wellington History Group) that by 1900 it was in the hands of Mr Bates. Ernest will presumably have taken on managing the shop (the 1911 census gives his job as ‘Pharmacist and Photographic Dealer’) when the family started living over it. This would have been from between June 1906, when eldest son John was born in Streatham (London), and March 1911. How much would a chemists have changed from the Victorian shop preserved at Blists Hill?  A fair bit but certainly much more to come. (I didn’t watch much of the recent BBC series Victorian Pharmacy, perhaps I should have.)

Bates and Hunt slip case 1940

Dad recollects the name Bates and Hunt, and reckons Uncle Ernest was at a different chemists in the last stages of his working life, out in “Hadlow” (probably Hadley), perhaps setting it up as a new branch. My guess was in the 1940s but the slip case (is that the right phrase?) now inserted in this item is for a photo of Eric and Vera’s wedding in 1940. The branches seem to be in the order they were opened – earlier photos have less of them – so assuming no more than one a year Hadley would be 1938 at the latest.

Ernest Laddiman with wife Eliza and eldest son Jack

Here’s one Laddiman photo from the collection.

As an aside, William Withering “Physician, Botanist and Mineralogist”, was born in Wellington 1741, moved to Birmingham and was one of those brainy types who were members of the Lunar Society and moving forces in scientific and technological progress in this country. He started out working as an apothecary in Wellington, an eminent predecessor for a Wellington pharmacist.

Bates and Hunt (Chemists) Limited was dissolved as a company July 1997 (from Companies House search). Is the current oil distribution company of the same name connected?



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3 responses to “Uncle Ernest the pharmacist”

  1. Clive avatar

    Bates & Hunt chemists started doing animal feed(chicken food?) and from that grew Bates and Hunt Agricultural. In turn B&H Agric started offering fuel to farmers with a tank vehicle, this grew into Bates & Hunt Petroleum. Up to about 1975 both Agric and Petroleum were subsidiaries of the Radnorshire Company in Knighton but all owned by Rank, Hovis, McDougall. Moving on Agric and Petroleum and probably other RHM companies were sold to Dalgety. A little later Petroleum was split off into a stand alone company which was subsequently the subject of a management buy out.

    1. Cutlock & Co avatar

      Thanks for that information, Clive. Now I know why the trading name carried on.

  2. Gary ensor avatar
    Gary ensor

    My father worked for Bates and Hunt in Kenya in 1953 to 1960 – the principal owner was Edward Kenneth Royden Hunt and owned the chemist shops of Bates and Hunt prior to going to Kenya circa 1950 to farm on the Kinangop before returning to live in Winkleigh, Devon in 1963.

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