Vintage invoices and receipts give a visual snapshot of life in any village, not least our own! The following sample provides us with a rare glimpse of Tattenhall High Street immediately following ‘The Great War’. Artefacts such as these confirm how diverse were the businesses in Tattenhall and its immediate district, the purchases that were made, the legal tender of £ s d (pounds, shillings and pence) that was used and the variety of activities in which the local community was involved.
Interestingly too are the number of ‘postage stamps’ that appear on the receipts. Under Section 101 of the Stamp Act of 1891 every person who received a sum of £2 or upwards was required by law to give a stamped receipt. This practice provided the Government with a source of revenue.
As the century progressed, however, there is evidence to suggest that this practice was ignored, resulting in a considerable loss of revenue to the Exchequer. So great must the loss of revenue have been to the Government that it prompted a question in the House of Lords (reported in Hansard). Lord Silkin requested clarification on both ‘the estimated loss of revenue’ and ‘what action, if any, did Her Majesty’s Government propose to take to prevent (this) loss of revenue’.
The receipt to the left relates to ‘John Baker’ who was the local Baker and Confectioner. He and his wife (Catherine) and son (Richard John) all worked in the business and lived on Church Bank in Tattenhall (1911 Census).
From a collection of invoices relating to The Barbour Institute, we can see that there were several ‘High Class Grocers and Provision Merchants’ including a ‘Confectioner and Bride Cake Manufacturer’, a ‘Creamery Proprietor’, ‘Family Butchers’, ‘Motor and Cycle Agents’ (from whom a 32, 20 or 14 seater char-a-banc or a private car could be hired), an ‘Iron, Zinc and Tin Plate’ provider and several ‘Ironmonger and Hardware Merchants’. Interestingly some of the stores appeared to close on ‘Wednesdays at 2 o’clock’. The ‘Bazaar and Boot Stores’ would have catered for a range of daily needs as would the ‘Plumber, Glazier, Painter and Paperhanger’ together with the ‘Gasfitter’. There is even evidence of an ‘undertaker’. ‘The Coal, Coke, Lime and Salt Merchant’ was based at Tattenhall Road Coal Wharf.
The range of local leisure activities from this particular vintage document collection include the ‘Rural Cinema and Entertainment Company’, the ‘Tattenhall Rifle Club’ (including the Ladies Rifle Club), the ‘Tattenhall Cricket Club’, The Aldersey Arms Hotel on Tattenhall Road and the Bear Hotel in Tattenhall itself. A pianoforte with a monthly rental of 30s was hired by the Barbour Institute and local committees and parties give a further glimpse of the social history of the village. In these days of ‘Risk Assessment’, it is interesting to read the requirements of the Broxton Petty Sessions in providing a Cinema Licence and of the rules and fire regulations relating to the provision of ‘Animated Picture and Cinematography’.
A wide range of colour advertisements also appear on the vintage invoices and receipts. Visual evidence like this captures the post war period in our locality and points to a society (presumably with greater disposable income) which was to be persuaded by the merits of advertising. The basic ‘telephone numbers’ e.g. ‘No. 8′ and the references to ‘telegrams’ also provides a glimpse into Tattenhall’s most recent past.
A collection of vintage receipts can be found on the next page.