O C Jewers (station yard)
Reproduced from The Elmswell Newsletter, April 2002, with permission:
The building in our cover picture has been part of the Elmswell scene since about 1852 but has recently been demolished as it reached its 150th birthday.
The first occupier of the building was Joseph Fison of Stowmarket who opened a depot in Elmswell when the railway arrived in the village. Fisons sold mainly salt which was widely used for animal nutrition and as a preservative.
In 1878 John Henry Newson bought the building and the property next door which is now the vets’ surgery. Our picture shows the store in about 1910 after O.C. Jewers had taken over both buildings from Mr Newson. The store at that time had wooden sides and an external wooden staircase to the upper floor.
The building was used for O.C. Jewers’ business as seed and agricultural merchants. The picture shows some local farm workers collecting supplies by horse and cart. The workers came from a wide area and before they began their return journeys Jewers would give them a token which could be exchanged for beer at the local public houses, usually the two nearby, the Crown or the Red Lion.
The Old Reading Room became O.C. Jewers’ office after WW1, and remained so until 1973.
The sack store stood on the north side of the railway, between Jacob’s cycle workshop and Newson’s coal.
(Keith Burrows, 2004) These agricultural merchants and coal dealers had premises up by the LNER railway station and down by The Cottage in New Road. They also had a small farm with scattered fields. However the Thedwastre RDC council compulsorily purchased a good number of their acres in 1948 for housing, leaving them with limited amounts of farmland. They therefore concentrated on their grain and coal businesses. They still have some farmland up beyond the present Blackbourne Centre field.
(Dick Burch, 2004) O C Jewers used to be the coal merchants in this village up until the 1960s; at that time they had a small amount of farmland scattered around the parish. There was a meadow in Cooks Road and about 4 acres up beyond the Blackbourne Centre and other fields elsewhere, but no compact farm holding. Towards the south end of New Road they developed their milled grain and dressed seeds production, but in 2007 they moved to new works over the other side of the A14 roundabout, close to Leggett’s transport yard on the edge of Woolpit.