Time catches up with Warwick shop that has remained untouched since 1895

A WARWICK shop that has lived in a time warp, retaining all its original fixtures and fittings, is to finally close its doors.

The Period House Shop, in Market Place, occupies a Grade II listed building that dates back to the 1840s and will be remembered by older residents of the town as the ironmongers Wylies.

Simon Holloway, who owns the business says: “We are closing because it seems to us all the shopping happens in Leamington - and the council keeps digging up the roads.”

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The shop will close on October 18, just before the Warwick Mop, leaving manager Charlie Collett redundant and his 73-year-old part-time assistant Alan Wright set for retirement.

Sitting amidst tins of Zebra paste grate polish and lion’s head door knockers, Mr Collett said: “While our stock is made in the company’s own brass foundry or fashioned by our blacksmith, most of the shop fittings haven’t changed since 1895.

“Some people say this place looks a bit like that shop used in the Two Ronnies’ television sketch where Ronnie Barker is trying to buy four candles!”

The original Wylies closed some 20 years ago after a niece who inherited the business travelled to the Period House Shop in Ludlow to see if owner Mr Holloway wanted to buy any of the close-to-antique stock.

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In fact when Mr Holloway walked through the door he decided it would be a crime to change anything, including the original woodgrain wallpaper. Eventually he took over the lease and turned the Warwick business into the third of his specialist shops catering for owners of older properties, or those who want to add a bit of period character to more modern homes.

His other shop, in Shrewsbury, is flourishing along with the one in Ludlow.

But Mr Holloway said: “In recent years the Warwick business has dwindled and we are now only taking about a third of what we need to take. It seems to us that all the shopping happens in Leamington.”

Although all three shops have an online presence, Mr Holloway still believes customers enjoy visiting his premises.

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He said: “We are a destination shop with customers travelling to buy from us but we do also need a lot of passing trade - and the council keeps digging up the roads. We could think about opening in Leamington at some point in the future.”

The Warwick shop is three-storeys tall and is set in front of a courtyard which dates backto the sixteenth century and houses one of the oldest cafes in the town - called Wylies in memory of the original ironmongers.

The building is actually owned by Chris Swan of Cobalt Developments, who bought it some years ago.

Mr Swan said: “I certainly wouldn’t say Warwick is not a shopping town. The shop is in a great position - since advertising the lease we’ve certainly had a good amount of interest.”

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