THIS photographic postcard was produced by Frederic Pearse and posted in 1904.

During this relatively early period, Pearse went all around Andover, taking innumerable shots of the local scene and produced them as postcards to sell in his shop.

One may look at this view and wonder who at the time would possibly buy this; it is almost wholly lacking in interest and life.

Whether Pearse was interested in creating a record of the town or whether his aims were purely commercial, is impossible to tell but those of us interested in how the town once looked have to be eternally grateful to Frederic Pearse for what he captured of Andover, as it was 120 years ago.

READ MORE: History of business on Andover's High Street - David Borrett feature

This is a rare card, almost certainly because it was a non-seller and the original printing of perhaps a dozen copies or so was never repeated.

On the left is the Capital and Counties bank before it was taken over by Lloyd’s in 1918 who re-constructed the frontage to Horace Field’s design, as it is today.

Next door, we can see Oxford House, run by draper Frederick John Reeve at 20 High Street.

Reeve was born at Tardebigge, near Redditch, Worcestershire, son of farmer John Reeve whose farm there extended to almost 300 acres in 1871.

Farmer John was unlucky in his marriages – or rather his wives were – as he married four times between 1862 and 1878 and was thrice widowed.

Frederick John was the eldest son of the first marriage and it would be interesting to know something of his early history, having three stepmothers before he was 15, and in all likelihood expected to take on a family farm.

Yet, by the time he was 18, in 1881, he was working as an assistant draper in the High Street at Shifnal, in Shropshire, where George Reynolds and his wife Charlotte ran an established family shop.

Frederick’s father may have been disappointed at his son’s choice of career but maybe it was the right time to get out.

Agriculture, after 25 years of growth, was entering its Great Depression, largely owing to competition from abroad, particularly America where almost limitless land was being utilised to produce corn on a massive scale.

Census returns provide a 10-yearly annual snapshot and we cannot know whether he stayed long at Shifnal or whether his next move was to Oxford or whether he went somewhere else first, but by 1891 he is recorded as living in Castle Street, Oxford, again as an assistant draper but not living above the shop as before, so it is not possible to know exactly for which of the numerous draperies in Oxford he worked.

In early 1894, he married Alice Emily Mills at Midhurst and the couple eventually arrived in Andover to open the shop at 20 High Street, naming the building Oxford House.

In 1898, the couple had their first child Gerald Fred but he sadly died before his second birthday.

Then on 3rd December 1901, Alice gave birth to twins, George and Tom, who were baptised the same evening.

There was a reason for the swift christening and no doubt the curate who conducted the ceremony was called out for reasons of emergency: both boys died a few hours later.

Infant deaths were common in those days and life for all was uncertain but for some it was more uncertain than for others.

The couple were to have no more children and Frederick Reeve died himself in early 1904, aged 41.

Alice carried on with the shop until her death in 1915, aged 49. It was a sad and tragic tale.

Another draper, Edward Cordery, then moved in to No 20, giving way to his son John by the 1930s.

Around the outbreak of the Second World War in 1939, it became a branch of W H Smith, booksellers and newsagents.

This remained so until the mid-1970s, when they moved across the road to their present premises.

Today it houses C & M DIY, which seems to stock just about everything.