WE RETURN to Chantry Street this week, looking down the street in about 1905. On the left is the shop of Walters the butcher, a haunch of meat hanging in the doorway, the proverbial butcher’s dog, and almost certainly Fred Walters standing outside to pose for the photographer. Beyond is the Phoenix Inn and its associated brewery to the rear which was demolished to make room for the Chantry Way service yard.

The shop building itself is now a treasured part of Andover’s past, mentioned in the new edition of Pevsner as having ‘twin 18th century shop fronts, nicely wonky’. However, it too was once in line to be demolished, along with the Angel Inn around the corner, until a campaign to save the Angel successfully curtailed the extent of development and probably saved this building too. In somewhat dilapidated state by 1969, the shop itself was just habitable and on the market to let, an opportunity taken up by Ruby Holloway who opened her shop ‘Bric-a-Brac’ there before buying it outright two years later. Once it was theirs, Fred, Ruby and daughter Wendy could set about restoring the building. One of the last parts of the shop to be uncovered was the ancient brick-lined cellar under the shop floor, and briefly used as a storage area for old stock, until Mrs Holloway sold the contents to one young ‘rookie’ dealer for £35 who was grateful to buy some cheap stock with which to start off.

Until the mid-1960s the shop was the premises of Frank R Simpson, a stationer and confectioner who had taken over the shop from his uncle, John Herbert Simpson, some 30 years before. Uncle John had been a printer by trade but had come to Andover in around 1918 and opened a stationer’s shop.

Just prior to the First World War, the shop had been occupied by Walter Frederick Hardy whose stock-in-trade is unknown but had gone off to war, been injured and died in Salisbury in 1918. He seems to have had little connection with Andover except to have been here briefly with his young family, one of whom was enrolled in Gale’s Infant School next to the church, which was only a stone’s throw away.

At the time this photograph was taken, the Walters family were three generations in the same house. William Walters and his son Fred were both butchers by 1900 but were once shepherds in various parts of the county; it seems a curious change of career.

Before the Walters family, Miss Emily Pearce was a marine store dealer here for a few years and then before her, William Harman was engaged in a similar occupation. Marine stores were the antiques shops of their day and so in the course of 80 years or so the building’s stock-in-trade had turned full circle. Today, in complete contrast, the shop has become a barber’s premises, a brand-new endeavour for somewhere that over the years has seen such a diversity of business.