This view from a postcard in David Howard’s collection was taken by Frederick Pearse in c1905.

The shop on the left is his own premises, known as The Andover Bazaar, with a tremendous display of goods, hanging from every hook, bar, nail and anything else available, in readiness for the day to come.

Even the doorway looks crowded with goods - difficult surely for the customers to pass in and out.

All these shops seem to run into each other and, before returning to Pearse’s, let us just glance at the others: the shop next door with three matching gas lamps is Hilton’s shoe shop, the frontage covered with a wealth of footwear, carefully balanced.

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Up one more is the London Central Meat Company, outside of which stands a young lad with white apron, an apprentice perhaps, learning the butcher’s trade.

Just above his head hangs a large cut of meat, a great attraction for the sun and the flies - but in those days, nobody minded about that.

A tobacconist and another shoe shop are further up still.

For those who can remember The Andover Bazaar at No 63 High Street, run for so many years by Miss Elsie Pearse as a toy shop, it may come as a surprise to see the goods on offer here.

Certainly, from outside it looks more like a shop specialising in wickerwork, with every type of basket hanging precariously, as well as fold-up stools.

Its first proprietor, Frederic Pearse, was certainly a local character.

Among the earlier local photographers to set up a studio for portraiture (in 1869), he is reputed to have been the first to own a bicycle, probably a penny-farthing.

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He was also a staunch anti-vaccinationist, opposed to the terms of the 1867 Vaccination Act that required all children up to the age of 14 to be immunised against smallpox.

His ten children, born between 1872 and 1890 were all subject to the terms of the Act but Pearse refused to comply and by 1897 he had been prosecuted 60 times and fined over £40 (over £5,000 today).

Finally, he was sent to Winchester prison for three days; on his return to the town he was greeted at the Town Station by a cheering crowd.

After Frederic’s death in 1929, the photographic side of the business lapsed and Pearse’s became principally a toy shop, run by daughter Elsie.

Indeed, the 1939 register, taken on the outbreak of war described her as simply ‘toy dealer’, though perhaps other goods were still available there.

Many locals will recall that cluttered emporium, with bare boards on the floor, the makeshift shelving and the wealth of toys, games and jokes.

Gradually the materials altered from tinplate to plastic and from clockwork to battery-powered but essentially it all remained the same.

Perhaps the hissing of iron-bracketed ancient gas lamps is a step too far back but this was the atmosphere in old family-run shops of Andover (and everywhere else) before the sanitising influence of town development, modern marketing and the risk-averse health and safety lobby changed everything forever. Never again will there be any High Street shops like these.

Elsie soldiered on until Christmas 1968, delighting generations of Andover’s children with her shop stacked with all the latest things as well as the unsold treasures of years gone by.

During the final days, there was a grand sale, when everything in the stock rooms was brought down and sold off.

There was a fine crowd inside the place on that last bleak Saturday morning but there were great bargains; somebody, it was said, had bought a boxful of old Frederic’s photographic postcards for £1.

Andover Advertiser: The same view today, with all the old shop buildings demolished and replaced.The same view today, with all the old shop buildings demolished and replaced. (Image: David Borrett)