Explore Headley - The High Street

Adopted as the 'logo' for the village, the Chestnut tree at the crossroads is a feature which marks the start of the High Street. Planted in September 1891 on the site previously occupied by the village stocks. The tree was planted by the Rector Mr Laverty, the butcher - Mr Wakeford, and the landlord of the Holly Bush - Mr J Kenyon, who was by reputation an 'old soldier who could tell a good tale'. The wrought iron bench which circles the tree is inscribed with the various names and versions of name for the village which have been seen over the years.

Chestnut Tree
The Chestnut tree in winter


The High Street itself has changed greatly - only three shops remain. Previously the frontage between the Holly Bush and the White House was occupied by three wooden buildings with corrugated iron roofs. The variety and types of businesses reflected a different lifestyle! Mr Kennet was a watchmaker and jeweller, Mr Louch a harness maker; other occupants were a haberdasher, a tea shop, a dairy, a house agency, a wet fish shop, and fancy goods perfumery and sweet shop.

Opposite in what is now a private house was the Churchgate Stores owned by the Curtis family, and was a general store open from 8am to 7pm. At some point the building was used - at least in part - as a school, and it was from there that Anne Coombes (Nee Shrubb) as a six year old remembered the soldiers marching 'in force' into the village in 1830 to deal with the Workhouse Riot. To prevent the children's view of the event, Mr Allfield the schoolmaster 'pulled the blinds down when we saw the soldiers'. 
During the Second World War the building was commandeered, housing initially the Pioneer Corps, and then the Canadian Tank regiment personnel.
It was later to become 'The Buttery' when it was set to be a 'high class' restaurant, and latterly it reverted to being a general store, supermarket and the village Post Office - all now gone.

Where Suters' garage now stands used to be two more wood and corrugated iron shops. Mr Middleton's barber shop - complete with the sign hanging in a wrought iron frame showing "Headley Toilet Saloon" on one face, and "Freemans' Darvel Bay Segars" on the other. The sign and the barber's chair are in Suters. The adjacent shop was a cobbler's shop belonging to Arthur Knight.

Link to a Francis Frith Collection photograph - 1901

Link to a Francis Frith Collection photograph - 1919