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Albert's 'Ardware - Past and Present


Watchet's Heritage - Albert's 'Ardware

Watchet's Historical Buildings
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In 1900, this building was the very hub of the town and attracted numerous customers from many of the outlying villages as it was, incredibly, a fully-fledged department store!

The business was known as W.L.Copp & Co General Emporium and had specialist departments through what is a large and extensive building which included at that time the Little Lighthouse shop to one side and New Horizons shop to the other. Here, you could come and buy or be fitted for a suit or have a dress made or altered. You could furnish your home with all the necessary furniture and fittings from the various departments - there didn't seem to be anything you couldn't buy here.

A good many Watchet residents were employed at this location, which would have hummed with commerce and was witnessing the coming and going of many of the horse-drawn vehicles. It would be some years before the motor vehicle was commonplace on our streets, some delivering stock and of course others delivering to customers.

Over time, the building has been divided into various different businesses, although a fire in 1939 threatened to destroy the whole building and required extensive restoration. Numerous individual enterprises have been in occupation apart from the main building including a bespoke tailor, greengrocer, florist and the last remaining bank, Lloyds, which closed a few years ago.

"Albert's 'Ardware" as it is today is a popular destination for all those with DIY needs and retains a direct reference to the late Albert who was responsible for its present form. He originally had a much smaller shop in Esplanade Lane which was for many years known as Copp's Lane.

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This page is provided by Watchet Conservation Society with the help of Watchet Chamber of Trade
Text and history provided by Nick Cotton