The Leamington Business Directory for 1899 lists many hundreds of small businesses at a period that was arguably the heyday of the independent trader in Leamington Spa. Many of the entries relate to what we would today call service industries. Whether you wanted a paper hanger, a bill poster, a bone setter or a laundress there was someone ready and willing to meet your needs. Many of these one-man/one-woman businesses were operated from the home address of the person providing the service. T hose whose business involved retailing frequently set up shop away from the more fashionable and more expensive parts of town. William Goss , who had spent many years working for Wackrill & Co. the Bath Street house furnisher whose interests extended to directing funerals, set up in business in a small building next to the church rooms in Leam Terrace.
We know very little about William’s life or how successful a business he ran, but a family member has sent us several photographs which we are pleased to share with you. What they illustrate above all else is the pride and the sheer professionalism that people like William displayed in the running of their businesses a hundred or more years ago. William’s business premises (below) still survive and were for many years the offices for local MP James Plaskitt
Alan Griffin June 2013