Annie Bown’s Shop Book  Last updated 15th  Sept 2014





James and Annie Bown kept a shop, built onto the side of the

family house at Main Road, Middlezoy. Many people

have fond memories of this old shop. This is the only

surviving picture which shows the shop, brick built,

attached to one end of the old house. Sadly, neither

of these is still standing, having been demolished in the

late 60’s and replaced with three modern bungalows.

What did survive however, was the old cashbook

that Mrs Bown used in the shop………..
















This very large old cash book, which is two and a half inches thick with 377 numbered double pages, 754 pages in total, has entries starting on May 24th 1903, with a record of monies owed by various people and organisations to the shop keeper Mrs Annie Bown. It appears that many people & organisations were allowed to have goods ‘on account’, the account then being settled at some later date. The practise appeared to be so widespread that Mrs Bown had to keep an accurate record of what was going on, and in doing so created a wonderful record of villagers needs through some 34 years until 1937.









                             A 6” ruler shows how big the book was.











Some of the names mentioned in the book during just the period 1903-4………..

Ester James, Mrs F Bown, Mrs F Lockyer, Mrs W Crook, Mr W Chinn, Mrs O Martin, Mrs A Sharman, Mrs Palmer, Mr F Davis, Mrs Pring, Mrs G Millard, Mrs J Crook, Mrs G Rich, Mrs H Davis, Mrs Bond, Mrs Reed, Mr J Merriott, Mrs Hucker, Mrs G Kick, Mrs F Kift, Mrs H Atyeo, Mrs A Bown, Mrs G Millard, Mrs H Barnstable.




The First entry in the Book: 1903


Page 1, the first entry on May 24th 1903 was for the Temperance Society. They bought ‘on account’ the following:


                3lbs tea at 2/- per lb                     6s 0d

                2 galls milk at 8d gall                  1s 4d

                9 lbs of lump sugar @ 2d             1s 6d

                5lbs  gran sugar @ 1 ¾                     9d

                ½ cwt coal 8d  turf 1d                       9d




























Page 2 contains the following details relating to Mrs O Martin’s account  for June 6th & 7th 1903…


1lb soap                         2d

starch                           ½ d

soda                             ½ d

½ lb butter                   4 ½ d

¼ tea                             4d

1oz tobacco                 3 ½ d

2lbs sugar                     3 ½ d

reel cotton                     1d

milk                                ½ d

½ lb cheese                   4 ½ d

½ doz eggs                    4 ½ d

matches                          1 ½ d


On Page 4 there is the following entry relating to Mrs F Lockyer’s account for July 2nd 1903..


3 sugar                       5 ½ d

bottle lemonade         4 ½ d

1lb sugar                        2d

bottle beer                  4 ½ d


On Page 6 Mrs O Martin purchased a new teapot for 1s 9d on July 28th 1903.



On Page 7 Mrs W Crook purchased a tin of pineapple for 6d on Aug 7th 1903.


On Page 10 there are entries for both the Wesleyan Chapel and the Mission Hall for the winter months of 1903/4. They were both buying oil by the gallon at 1s  6d per gallon( for heating), coal at 1s  4d per cwt(hundredweight), turf at 1d, and 1 soap at 2d.


On Page 18  Mrs G Kick purchased the following on Feb 23th 1904……

2 sugar                      4d

4 fish                        3d

camphor oil              1d

½ biscuits                  2d

pkt laces                    2d


On Page 28, Mrs J Kick bought salmon for 7d  on June 8th 1904.


On Page 30, Mrs J Davis bought bird seed for 1d on June 23rd 1904.


On Page 31, Mrs Kift bought ½ cwt of coal on June 29th 1904.

Almost midsummer yet they were still buying coal presumably for stoves for cooking as there was no electricity.


On Page 32 we have the first occurrence of a mystery object or substance….trait or terait. On July 9th 1904 Mrs J Davis purchased the following..

trait                       1s

meal                      1s

She purchased the same again on July 16th and July 23rd.  Was this some sort of chicken feed?












Agricultural labourers wages:

For comparison, according to Mitchell (1988:  British Historical Statistics, Cambridge University Press) an agricultural labourers wages in 1905 were around 15/-(15s or 15 shillings)

By 1920 this had risen to £2-6/-10 1/2d, and by 1930 had dropped back to £1-11/-7 1/2d, but in 1937 was £1-12/-9d.