Can you remember the days when you didn’t need to go “out-of-town” to buy almost anything you needed because Westbury had it all? Although it was always difficult to decide where the town centre was exactly because it seemed divided into two distinct parts; the area around the Market Place and those shops along Warminster Road and into the top half of Edward Street. Shops were mainly quite small and were family businesses. Up until the second half of the twentieth century there were very few branches of national chains in the town.
A hundred years ago Kelly’s Directory provided a good idea of the range of retail available. About 60 shops were included in the Westbury entry. There was a wide choice of butchers, bakers and grocers. Mrs Seaward sold ladies’ clothes and there were tailors for the gentlemen. Mrs Elliott and her daughter had a china shop in Edward Street and if you needed a new pair of boots you could visit Mr Angell in Warminster Road.
If you grew up in Westbury in the 1960s you probably remember buying sweets from Mr and Mrs Gray at the top of Haynes Road and comics from Mr Conway. Did you get a new bicycle from Mr Macey or have your new school shoes fitted by Mr Norris?
For most of its history, Westbury didn’t have an actual high street as such. Then in the early 1960s, a new development linked the two existing shopping areas. Keymarkets opened and introduced supermarket shopping. The High Street increased the range of shops and many long-standing residents will remember Kevin’s Menswear, Wearcraft, Harper’s Fabrics, Missen’s and The Shoe Tree to name but a few.