I AM grateful to Carol Hammett for this photograph of her grandfather Leslie Keel standing at the door of the shop that he ran with his brother Rufus.

The site at the corner of the High Street’s junction with Newbury Street has long been known locally as Carr’s Corner; however, this was just before the period when David Carr, and later his son Mark, ran a clothing shop here.

These newly-converted premises were once the entrance to the hotel but its rooms were now confined to the upper floors only, accessed by a street-level doorway to the right.

Rufus and Leslie were two of the nine children of Rowland Keel and his wife Mary who lived at 94 High Street for most of their married life.

Rowland was born in Andover in 1862 and brought up by his eldest sister Priscilla after his mother died when he was four.

He trained as a French polisher, setting up in business as a young man, first in London Street, then, after marriage, in Winchester Street before finally settling in the house that still stands today, just beyond The Willows tea-room.

Carol tells me that the couple eventually occupied the identical No 96 as well and it was possible to go through the front door of one and out again next door.

By 1901 Rowland was able to offer all the services listed in the shop sign above.

His workshop was at the old tan yard in Marlborough Street, now sadly a rather derelict and overgrown part of Andover that craves attention.

A major part of his business was the upholstery of new furniture to customers’ specifications, as well as re-upholstery of second-hand and antique articles.

Although he never ran a conventional retail outlet, the shop above seems a natural extension of his work and doubtless Rowland was a major force behind the enterprise, though by then he was becoming elderly.

The two brothers seem neither to have had any shop-working experience, nor perhaps were they competent upholsterers themselves.

Leslie had hitherto been an office worker in various businesses, locally and further afield, while Rufus had briefly been in Canada with his family, and returned to Andover in 1926.

The period of the shop seems to begin in February 1929 when Leslie is recorded as leaving his job as a clerk in Swathling, in order to ‘improve his position’.

The brothers were unlucky in their timing. The depression that was set off by the Wall Street crash in October 1929 caused many businesses to founder and close, as money became tight and customers cut back on their spending.

By April 1932 Rufus Keel filed for bankruptcy and Keel Bros was wound up - though it seems a brotherly disagreement prior to that date caused the partnership to break up before that and Leslie was by then no longer involved.

One can only too easily imagine the pressures of trying to run a business with little income.

Leslie remained in Andover, bringing up his family in Millway Road, while Rufus moved to Beckenham in Kent, first becoming a window dresser and eventually running a furniture shop.

His luck certainly changed in 1954 when he won £75,000 on Littlewood’s pools and bought each of his three sons a house and a car, while he and his wife May treated themselves to a world cruise.