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The End of an Era
3 Generations of the Brayford Family

It came as a surprise to many, myself included, that the Brayford family business, Brayford’s of Woolton, newsagent and delicatessen, 149 Vale Road, was to cease and be taken over by a new owner. It is therefore appropriate to record here a business that has been run by three generations of one family, a tradition that was once quite common in Woolton.

Early history of the site
The 1813 Enclosure map shows that the land in question was owned by Dr John Bede Brewer, parish priest of St. Benet’s Priory, Watergate Lane. Fr. Bede Brewer  was the founder of Ampleforth College in Yorkshire)...

The Castle Inn
The Much Woolton Tithe Map for 1840 shows an unnamed street laid out. However, it wasn’t until the first 6-inch Ordnance Survey map of 1848 that this new thoroughfare is actually named as Castle Street.

The first mention of the Castle Inn is in the 1861 Census, which records John Smith, aged 47, painter and beerseller, his wife Mary and 4 children as the occupiers...

It would seem that the Castle Inn, built sometime between 1840 and 1848, took its name from Castle Street, but from where did Castle Street take its name?

The Brayford family business
In 1949, Daniel Brayford (1908-89) started his general store business in 54 Vale Road, a shop located at the corner of Castle Street and formerly the Castle Inn public house, which once had its front entrance located, coincidentally, at 54 Castle Street! You can still see the original bricked-up windows and entrance door of the Castle Inn...

Street numbering was completely different then to what it is now, and very confusing to say the least! Fronting onto Vale Road, and adjacent to Mr Brayford’s general store, were three cottages, two of which were numbered 56 and 58 respectively, with a third cottage apparently having no number (58A? - two cottages made into one perhaps?). This was followed by an allotment site that extended up to Quarry Street, then three more cottages, 60, 62 and 64, the latter making the corner with Cobden Street.

Daniel Brayford altered the layout of his premises over a period of several years and by the early 1960s the corner shop was as it looks today, presently numbered 151...

Mr. Brayford’s son, Peter (1942-97), became a partner in the business in 1960, the business from that date becoming Brayford & Son. The cottages adjacent to the shop, 56 & 58 (and 58A) were purchased in 1969, demolished and rebuilt as seen today and by 1970 were four separate shops... The double-fronted shop (149) was the newsagents on the left with general delicatessen and butchers to the right and were now trading under the name of Brayford’s & Company. The original corner shop remained as the general food store. The business became Brayford’s of Woolton c.1979.

In July 1982 Sainsbury’s opened their Supermarket with its drive-in entrance in James Road, off Kings Drive, with a pedestrian-only walk-through entrance at 7 Woolton Street, the original shop, Morphet’s the butcher, having been demolished. The Bear Brand factory closed and the combination of the two saw falling sales figures in their general food store. This resulted in David Brayford (1962- ), grandson of Daniel Brayford, starting his mobile sandwich business in the 1980s, and the eventual closure of the corner shop general store (151) in 1995, which was then converted into two self contained flats...

147 Vale Road, adjacent to the newsagent shop, was intended to be a betting shop but Peter Brayford didn’t possess a gambling licence so another planning application was submitted, this time to use the shop as a launderette. Unfortunately this too was refused. Eventually a Mr McKay, who had a gambling licence, leased the premises until c.1981-2, after which it was converted to a ground floor flat...

100 plus hours over seven days a week became too much and the decision was taken to sell the business as a going concern, and on the 15th June 2002, having served the local community for 53 years, three generations of the Brayford family business ended.

On the 16th June 2002, Hamayun Saleem took over the business and continued, by agreement, to trade under the family name of Brayford’s of Woolton.

In April 2004, Hamayun Saleem sold Brayford’s of Woolton to Ali Salem who is still the current owner. This same month work commenced on 151, the former corner shop general store, to refurbish the two flats.







Last updated :: December 2006
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