My grandfather [Robert Fletcher] went into business in Ramsgate at the beginning of the last century. Dates seem to vary between 1902 (according to Andrew Block: London Antiquarian Booksellers. 1933) and 1905 (terminus ante quem as my father was born in the back parlour of this shop).
By about 1910 he was trading as “H. A. Fletcher at Ye Olde Booke Shoppe” (H.A. were my grandmother’s initials) at 46 High Street, Rochester. In 1911-12 he was briefly in partnership with E. Bolleter (known as the Baron, my grandfather being known as the Sergeant-major) as E. Bolleter Ltd. at 94, Charing Cross Road on the corner of New Compton Street (see Philippa Bernard’s Antiquarian Books : A Companion . p.98).
In 1913 there was a brief period of trading under his own name in Camberwell, before, in August 1914, returning to his previous occupation as sergeant-major for the duration of WW1. Demobbed in 1919, he set up in Porchester Road, Bayswater as R. Fletcher Ltd, joined in 1921 by his son Alick, and in 1922 by his second son W.R. (Bill- my father).
In 1927 the firm moved to 23 New Oxford Street (previously occupied by Chas. J Sawyer), and sometime around 1931 to 9 Bloomsbury Street, were, on 22. May 1933, R. Fletcher Ltd went into liquidation. The next day, the partnership of R. Fletcher, A. Fletcher and W.R. Fletcher, began trading under the name of H.M. Fletcher (successor to R. Fletcher Ltd).
H. M. Fletcher (this time the initials were his daughter’s, Helen Mary) has continued to trade (without going broke again) to this day, at the following addresses:-
- 1933-35 49 Cecil Road, Enfield, Middlesex
- 1935-37 15 Essex Road, Enfield, Middlesex
- 1938- c.1940 27, Cecil Court, London WC2
- C.1940 – 1947 227, Willow Road, Enfield, Middlesex (my grandfather’s private address)
- 1947- 1992 27 Cecil Court, London WC2
- 1992-97 201, Cardamom, Shad Thames, EC1
- 1997- Much Hadham, Hertfordshire
The partnership has consisted of :-
- 1933-45 Robert Fletcher, Alick Fletcher, W.R. ‘Bill’ Fletcher. In August 1945 Bill bought Alick’s share and Alick Fletcher set up in Guildford / Windsor / Guildford again.
- 1945 -56 R. Fletcher and W.R. Fletcher In 1956 R. Fletcher sold his interest to I.M.Fletcher (my mother)
- 1956-65 W.R and I.M. Fletcher. I began working (full time that is) in the business in 1957. In 1965 I became a partner. (My father refused to pay Callahan’s Selective Employment Tax to employ his own son.)
1965-1992 W.R. , I. M., and K. R. Fletcher. When we moved from Cecil Court my parents finally retired.
- 1992 – to date Keith & Marina Fletcher.