The Shop at the Top of the Street

One of the Straw family shop bags

Worksop has always been home to a number of trades and accompanying industry. It had originally capitalised upon the surrounding Ducal Estates such as Clumber Park, Thoresby and Hodsock Priory for employment. With the introduction of a railway station at Worksop in 1849, new industry developed as the distribution of goods was made significantly easier to the surrounding towns.

Shortly after the station was opened business and industry began to increase. In 1852 the Clinton Malt Kilns opened near the station to capitalise on the new transport links. In 1875, Sheffield based brewer Thomas Berry opened the Station Kiln. This was followed in 1876 by John Perry’s Kilns in Eastgate and in 1880 by William Stones on Gateford Road. It wasn’t just malting that was thriving in the town though.

In 1854, the first colliery opened. By 1871 almost 600 men were employed at the Shireoaks Colliery. By 1900 around 50% of the town’s population worked in the mining industry and brought as much as £12,000 of miner’s wages into the town. For the Straw family business this was an enormous asset.

The Straw brothers, William Snr. and Benjamin opened their family shop in 1886, amidst this surge in production and demand for produce from not only the Dukeries but also the working families. Benjamin and William Snr, came from Sutton-in-Ashfield, where their family had run a successful earthenware and pottery business.

The business started very well, and William was able to buy out his brother and set up alone. Over the coming years, the shop continued to support a growing family and enabled the Straws to purchase and very fashionably redecorate Endcliffe Villa in 1920 as their family home. The shop continued to be a family run business until 1962 when Walter Straw, William’s son, retired. Many of the items in the shop can still be found in Endcliffe Villa where they were returned after the shop closed. 

This year, some of these objects help to showcase the Straw Grocers in our display `The Shop at the Top of the Street`. Explore more about the devleopment of industry and trade, the expansion of the town and changes which enabled the family business to go from strength to strength.