SURVIVING SHOP IN VERWOOD
is now Closed
Hopkins Newsagents in the
1950's with Baileys (Boot Maker|) which later became
"Paula's Place" on the opposite corner. This is currently a
block of flats.
Anyone around in 1924 may
remember the corner newsagents shop being taken over in that
year by Nelly Hopkins. The present owner Julian King, is a
great nephew of Nelly's so not only is it the longest
surviving shop but has also been, since 1924, owned by the
The previous owner was Mr
Austin, a retired Londonpoliceman, Nelly's father (who owned the
brickworks in Station Road) bought it in 1924 for £500!
Life has changed dramatically since then -
Nelly's used to be open until 10 or at night (though not on Sundays as Nelly
was a strict Methodist and ran the Methodist Sunday School
for years). The shop used to sell records (the cylindrical
variety) and at one stage was also the Verwood lending
In those days, the newspapers
arrived by train from Londonvia Salisburyat . Someone had to be at Verwood Station
to meet the train and check that all the newspapers
actually came off the train - if not then those newspapers
ended up at West Moors, or worse still, Weymouth, and someone had to meet the next train
bringing them back at .
Geary's of Ringwood used to
deliver Sunday papers in Verwood at this Time. George Moore
of Verwood took over later. Eventually Julian King bought
the Sunday paper round when he bought the shop.
Julian owned the shop for 30
years (in 2005) although he had worked full time in it for
43 years. The papers still had to be collected and, if the
car would not start, they had to be collected on the bike.
This entailed two or three trips.
During the War, papers were
delivered (by bike) to some of the remoter rural areas and
at St Giles' House, the boy delivering had actually to cycle
around the house, putting a paper in the Cook's door, one in
the Butler's door, one to the Stables etc.
The shop building was one of the
first built by Percy Bailey, a local builder, in the early
1920's. It was extended by Julian when he bought the
premises. Before then the papers were sorted in a wooden
At one time the premises were
also used as a hairdresser's and a blind man used to make
wicker baskets there. Julian made internal changes by
incorporating the old storeroom into the shop and including
the selling of basic grocery items. The former garage at the
side of the shop was then used as the sorting room/office.
Hopkinswas open seven days a week - from Monday
to Saturday from , but the staff had a "lie-in"
on Sundays as opening time then was ! The only day throughout the year that
the shop was closed was on Christmas Day. Adverse weather
conditions did not deter Julian and his staff. During the
bad snows of the 1976 winter the papers did not arrive in
Verwood until but the house to house deliveries were
still completed that day.
There were 44 staff on the
payroll - this figure included 30 boys/girls who delivered
the papers plus shop staff and people to do the
"marking up". More recently the papers and
magazines arrived in vans at Verwood from two different
suppliers in the very early morning to be sorted and
"marked up" ready for collection and delivery by
the delivery boys and girls.
Julian decided not to change the
name from "Hopkins" when he bought the shop since it
had been known for such a long time by that name. Nelly
would have approved of that but she would not have been so
happy with the Sunday opening and the sale of cigarettes -
two things she felt very strongly about! Is there anyone in
Verwood who still remembers her? - she sounds like quite a
Finally in September of 2005, on
his retirement, Julian closed and then sold the shop after
having earlier sold the Newspaper round to Martins situated
in the then Safeway and now Morrisons complex.
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