Researched and written by Christopher J. Hogger

This article describes the grocers shop / general stores which operated in Church Street, Effingham from the early 1870s until the early 1970s. It was named in various ways during its century of operation but, for convenience in this narrative, will normally be referred to as ‘the Stores’.

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Supplements to the Article

One example of a press report about the voyage of Captain William Reath Bennett to South America:

Inquest on William Love published by The Hampshire Advertiser County Newspaper on 20 June 1883:

Old Bailey Proceedings of the trial of George Onslow in 1892:

The trial of George Onslow in 1895 published by The London Evening Standard on 20 June 1895:

Residents’ Memories

Some residents have written down, or related to us, their memories of the Church Street stores, of which the following are examples.

The late Mary Rice-Oxley:

“Stantons was originally Balchins who delivered by horse and cart. George Biles was the delivery boy who appeared on village postcards.”

We have no evidence that Mr Balchin ever operated the premises; he had simply had it built and then let it out. Her reference to postcards almost certainly relates to those like the one below, from her own collection. However, this photograph was taken no later than 1918; George Biles was not born until 1916 and so cannot possibly be the boy seen here. 

Click image to enlarge.

The late George Ranger, as recorded in 1991 by Mary Rice-Oxley:

“Before Burchetts were at the shop (Stanton’s later) were Yates, called Sniffer, they had a boy and a girl. George Biles worked for the Burchetts.”


This is clearly muddled because the Yates took over two years after the Burchetts had departed in 1910; and George Billes cannot have worked for the Burchetts as he was born six years after they left.

A current resident:

[Recalling Joseph Stewart Adams, the school’s head teacher, nicknamed “Gaffer”]

“… he was something in the army in India and he got malaria … but the boys in school hours he used to give them a basket they carried between them up to Stanton’s shop opposite St Lawrence church … well that was an off-licence and grocery store and they used to take the basket and go and get Gaffer’s booze in school hours. Can you imagine? It was quite a common sight. They used to carry a big basket of stout or whatever he had down to school during hours.”


This is certainly something that would be unlikely to happen in the present day!