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History of Allingham Bros

Hitchin's Market Place has long been home to butchers and the meat trade. Allingham's business at 22 Market Place can trace its roots back to about 1864 when Frederick Mead is recorded as a butcher here; the name Allingham Bros was established by 1933. It may be, however, that the origins of the business go back much further still to about 1830 and one of the other butchery business located in a nearby area of the Market Place.

  • In 1816 (from the Rate Survey and Town Plan) the present shop (now 22 Market Place) was owned and occupied by John Whitney but it is not clear what business was being conducted there.
  • In 1826 (?) an unnamed/undated Directory shows the executors of JohnWhitney operating a grocer’s and tea dealer’s, presumably in the same premises as 1816.
  • In 1832 (Pigot’s Directory) the premises were a grocer’s operated by Whitney and Paternoster.
  • In 1832 (Pigot’s Directory) there was a butchers operated in the Market Place by William Lewin but there is no clear connection with 22 Market Place (but see also 1892 below).
  • In 1838-39 (from the Rate Survey of 1838 and Pigot’s Directory of 1839) the premises are described as a house and shop occupied by Whitney and Paternoster as a grocer’s, tea dealer’s and tallow chandler’s.
  • In 1841 the Census shows John Whitney and George Paternoster as grocers in what is probably 22 Market Place with John Burrows (mealman) nearby.
  • In 1844 the premises were owned by Edward Whitney and occupied by Abraham Barnard and others and were used as a grocer’s.
  • Between 1832-45 (Pigot’s Directories) there were 3 butchers operating in Market Place (Bent, Cook and Lewin); it is not clear where these were located but some or all could have been in the butchers’ Shambles that existed in the south-west corner of the square until their demolition in 1853.
  • In 1851 (Post Office Directory) 2 butchers (Lewin and Smith) are logged in the Market Place but without precise locations.
  • In the 1851 Census the premises (upstairs?) seem to have been occupied by Samuel B Geard, retired, with his family; there was John Crawley (grocer) and John Burrows (mealman) operating businesses immediately adjacent.
  • In 1864 (unnamed Directory) Frederick Mead is identified as a butcher in Market Place but without a precise location. Photographic evidence of c1870 (eg in Alan Fleck’s A Hitchin Century in Camera p16) Mead’s shop is clearly 22 Market Place.
  • After 1864 the butcher’s business of Frederick Mead can be traced with reasonable certainty from 1867 to 1889 (Hitchin Post Office Directory 1867 and Hitchin Household Almanacks 1872-89).
  • In 1890-91 (Hitchin Household Almanacks) the Mead business disappears and seems to be replaced by the butcher’s A Patrick.
  • In 1892 (Hitchin Almanack) EG Hart is takes over. Interestingly the same Almanack contains an advertisement which confirms that the address of the shop is indeed 22 Market Place (this seems not to have been affected by the re-numberings applied to some parts of the town in the 1920s); it also notes that the business was “established 1830 late Patrick” and was a “Family butcher..Home Killed meat of the best quality. Corned beef and Pickled Tongues a speciality”. Perhaps Hart was claiming a descent of the business from one of the butchers who appear in the Market Place in the early 1830s (see above).
  • By 1894 (Hitchin Almanacks 1893-95) the business (again clearly identified as 22 Market Place) has passed to Chacksfield and then in 1895 to F Message.
  • In 1899 the Kelly’s Directory and the Hitchin Almanack have Henry Rutter operating as a butcher at 22 Market Place.
  • In 1899 the premises are (still?) owned by Elizabeth Mead (Frederick’s widow, daughter or some other relation?) and let to Frank Montgomery for 21 years from December 1899 (see Hitchin Land Valuation Survey inspection 10 February 1915).
  • By c1909 the business is clearly shown as Montgomery’s in a rare photograph of the south side of the Market Place (see Richard Field’s Hitchin: A Pictorial History plate 51).
  • In 1915 (Hitchin Almanack) the business remains as F Montgomery. The 1915 Hitchin Land Valuation Inspection (see also 1899 above) records that the premises comprise a single fronted butcher’s shop of lath and plaster, slate and tile with a room at the rear, basement cellar part running under the road, a first floor bedroom, sitting room and WC and 4 bedrooms on the top floor.
  • In 1922-26 (Kelly’s Directories 1922, 1926) William Albert Favell is operating a butcher’s at 22 Market Place.
  • By 1933 (Kelly’s Directory) Allingham Brothers are established at 22 Market Place; the connection is probably with F Allingham, Dog Kennel Farm, Lilley.
  • By 1948 (Hitchin Directory) remains as Allingham Brothers.
  • Allingham’s remain at 22 Market Place today.