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Newsagents in the news at Stroud

By Stroud Life  |  Posted: February 19, 2014

backhouses

Anne and Jimmy

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AN HISTORIC Stroud newspaper shop is in the news itself.

After more than 100 years Backhouses in Middle Street has ceased its early morning home deliveries.

A dozen paper boys and girls serving hundreds of local households on their rounds will in future be employed by another local newsagent.

But for Backhouses’ proprietors Anne Creed, 73, and Jimmy Walshe, 83, the change will mean a well deserved lie-in bed after years of rising at 4am to sort out the papers ready for delivery.

“We were retired and looking for a cottage in Lower Street. We thought we’d do the shop for five years,”, Anne said.

Now though, more than 15 years later, the couple have however decided to retire for real.

Backhouses, founded in 1906, was originally not only a newsagents but also a barber’s, haberdashers and even a fireworks seller.

Now the shop, which is up for sale, is expected to continue as a tobacconists, sweets and card shop, with probably also casual newspaper and magazine retail.

Before Anne and Jimmy’s reign Backhouses was run for 30 years by George Rugman.

Loyal customer, retired local bus inspector Chris Blick said Backhouses was an iconic shop, part of Stroud’s history.

“I have been getting my paper from there ever since I went out to work in 1954. That’s 60 years,” said Mr Blick.

Jimmy was formerly boss of Stroud’s premier Ford car dealership, Walshe and Thomas, later Valley Garage, in London Road.

Now he and Anne, who’ve travelled extensively abroad, plan to take time to look around Britain.

“I want to go around our own country,” Anne said. “To see England, Ireland and Wales.”

Anne said it was however very sad to be scaling back the newspapers business.

“I have had some wonderful letters ... people coming in almost in tears ... cuddles,” said Anne who promised however that she’d still be finding time for her Stroud in Bloom award winning adopt-a-plot just around the corner from the shop.

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