This photograph of Harvey’s two adjacent shops, 76 and 78 High Street was taken in June 1908, a date identifiable because of the Daily Mail billboard outside the shop which makes reference to the Pan-Anglican Congress.

Harvey’s sold almost everything at this period, and were not just the newsagents and confectioners which most of us remember today.

Bicycles and bananas, groceries and gramophones were all for sale at Harvey’s.

One shop became a café for a while and there was a photography and printing interest as well; the words Harvey’s Printing Works were written boldly along the top of the first-floor windows at one time but this seems to have been painted over by 1908.

Over the years all sorts of various enterprises were tried; some worked, some did not.

The story of the Harvey family in Andover goes back to the 1840s when William Harvey came to Andover from Brading in the Isle of Wight.

By 1841, at the age of 21, he could describe himself as a journeyman tailor which meant he had served his seven-year apprenticeship and was entitled to charge by the day but could not employ others.

Whether he served his apprenticeship in Andover or the Isle of Wight is not known but there were plenty of tailors in the bigger towns of the island, though none in Brading itself.

Soon afterwards William was to take over the shop at 78 High Street, where he remained as a tailor all his life.

In 1847 he married Jane Dale, the daughter of local entrepreneur Charles Dale, at the Congregational church in East Street – now the United Reformed church.

Father-in-law Dale seems to have been involved in several businesses, being described in a local directory of the period as an auctioneer, a cabinet maker and a dealer in china and glass and he may have been instrumental in getting Harvey his shop.

Sadly, Jane died in 1853 and with two young daughters to bring up, the widowed William married for a second time in 1855.

This was back in Brading, to Mary Warder whom he almost certainly knew from childhood.

The couple returned to Andover and had two sons, William and Frederick, the latter taking over the shop on the death of his father in 1884.

Fred Harvey was educated at the former Andover College which was in West Street, next to Portland House (that street is now part of the Chantry Centre).

He briefly helped his father in the shop but the tailoring business was not for him and when he took charge at the age of 20, the premises reopened selling fruit.

His wife, Jane Gregory, whom he married in the Congregational church in 1885, was a born businesswoman and it is probably due to her influence that Harvey’s developed into the enterprise it became.

Both were non-smokers, tee-total and non-conformists.

It was a partnership that lasted almost 60 years and was to weather some very testing times during their long life together.

These included an attack on the shops by rioters when an affiliation order brought against one of the sons was dismissed by the local Bench and the entry of the bailiffs into his shop when he refused to pay repeated fines for non-vaccination of his children.

The anti-vaccination movement was strong during the late 19th century and there were other shopkeepers of Andover who also felt the same way. 

The first shop was also the final one, although there were altogether four sets of premises between the two world wars, three of these in one line and another on the opposite side of the road.

A few years after this 1908 photograph was taken, Harvey’s opened a sub post-office at No 80, after a new general post office was built in Bridge Street in 1913.

A public clamour for a more convenient office in the High Street was met by the GPO, who gave Frederick Harvey the role as sub-postmaster.

This was a position he held for 25 years until an inspector unfortunately walked in one day and found the old fellow asleep at the counter window.

The sub-post office was then transferred to No 92, further along the street.

Mrs Harvey died in 1943 but even after the war, Fred Harvey was still to be seen in both snow and rain, delivering newspapers and attending to business.

Andover Advertiser: Frederick Robert Harvey. Photo by Charles WardellFrederick Robert Harvey. Photo by Charles Wardell

He finally retired in 1950 and died in 1952 aged 87.

The tradition of shop-keeping was carried on by his son Ronald and his wife Olive and they took over No 78 High Street, in addition to the shops they already owned around the town – Jennifer’s in Bridge Street and The Handy Stores in Salisbury Road and Junction Road

Olive had been elected to the borough council in 1945 and became the first woman mayor of Andover in 1949.

Her opposition to the introduction of the chemical sodium fluoride into the water supply (then administered by local councils), was a diverting episode.

She was able to galvanise the electors of the town in opposition and over three successive years of borough elections, anti-fluoride candidates were elected until there was a council majority against the measure and the fluoride was removed.

It was perhaps a set-piece demonstration of democracy in action. 

In the mid 1960s, as a wedding present, Ronald and Olive’s daughter Christabel took over the shop and, with a short gap, ran it until 1997 when she retired.

There are very few family businesses in Andover that can claim to have run for 150 years over four generations.

Shaw’s the grocers, about which I have already written, surpasses it at 180 years’ duration, but so far as I know, that is the record.

Harvey’s surely comes second.

Andover Advertiser: This is how 76 and 78 High Street look nowThis is how 76 and 78 High Street look now