Answers to Questions


Victoria Wine, Bushey, 20th Century

September, 2007




Tracey Woods (matdeeny @t, Threshers Wine Shop Manager, Bushey, writes: We are trying to find when 124 Bushey High Sreet (now Threshers wine shop) started trading as an off license (we believe it may be 1937 as that is the earliest license stamp we can find in the shops records) and if Victoria Wine started the property trading as an off license. We have tried the internet, various local books and the Bushey Museum but to no avail. The shop will cease trading on Wed 10th October 2007, and we would like to know as it may be a nice article for the local paper.

My personal library is very limited after about 1901 - which is why I normally have a cut off for enquiries after the First World War, but I have some limited information.

The 1937 Kelly's Directory for Hertfordshire lists Victoria Wine Co at 76a High Street, Bushey. It is not listed in the 1933 edition and a quick scan failed to reveal any wine shops (but plenty of pubs and beer retailers) in Bushey.

In fact Victoria Wine Co. seems to have started selling in Hertfordshire at about this date as it is not listed anywhere in the county in 1933 but in 1937 it is listed at the following addresses

        170 St Albans Road, Hatfield
        103 Eastbury Road, Watford
        Faircross House, High Street, Watford
        76a High Street, Bushey
        Watford Road, Croxley Green
        High Street, Boreham Wood

I also note than the Kelly's Watford Directory for 1960 lists Victoria Wine Co at 76b High  Street, Bushey. In fact, in 1960 Bushey High Street has many "a"s and "b"s and you may want to check whether the modern "124" is the same property after a street renumbering.

For further research you will find the Watford Central Library has a very complete selection of trade and street directories on the open shelves in the Family History room. Most of these will cover Bushey and if so it is just a question of looking up the business by name, or the number in the High Street, for the years available, and a comparison of similar years may help to show if there has been a street renumbering.

The main research room may have other material, such as town guides, which could contain early advertisements. They may also be able to advise you on licensing records and may even have old pictures of the High Street which show the shop.

I don't know if you know it but in 1866 William Winch Hughes, wine merchant of 52 Great Tower Street, London, styled his business the "Victoria Wine Company". He died in 1886 and when his widow died in 1911 there were 96 branches. [From "Wine and the Vine: An Historical Geography of Viticulture and the Wine Trade"  By Tim Unwin - extracts available on Google Books]

If you can add to the information given above tell me.