Where Was The Treasure Trove Of A Shop In Warminster That Sold Toys, Sweets And Loads Of Lovely Stuff?

Wednesday 21st September 2016:

Mrs Cecilia Wright writes ~

I do hope you can help me. From 1976-1979 we lived in Sambourne Gardens, Warminster, in a newly-built house. My husband was in the Army posted to Warminster. We loved Warminster and were very sad to leave there. A few weeks ago, we returned to Warminster and tried to find some of our old haunts. The Three Horseshoes Walk looked very different and we couldn't find The Gorge Cafe; or Safeways and realised that is it now Iceland!"

"I could not remember the Cornmarket Shopping Mall being there during our time, but can remember a lovely shop which from memory was at the entrance to an "alleyway" which could be the Cornmarket Shopping Mall. This shop was a treasure trove of a place and sold toys, sweets and loads of lovely stuff.  As well as the entrance off the Market Place, there was another exit from the shop which brought you out onto this 'alleyway'. I have made some enquiries and looked online and M & Co is there now and they tell me that a shop called Cristettes, was there before them, and previous to that Gateway's." 

"We are now racking our brains trying to remember just where this treasure trove of a shop really was - please help!    I do remember that it was not far down from where Pearson's Estate Agents used to be at No. 67 Market Place and near to the bus stop, where my children would get the bus to St. George's R.C. School." 

Danny Howell replies ~
"Hello Cecilia Wright,
Thank you for your email.
Yes, there certainly have been many changes in Warminster in the last 40 years. The shop you are recalling was Payne's, which was a newsagents and toy shop at No.49 Market Place, Warminster. It also sold confectionery, greetings cards, stationery, local books, postcards, maps and travel goods, etc. It also offered photocopying and was a parcel agent for the Wilts & Dorset bus company. Father Christmas in his grotto was a regular feature every December. The shop window also displayed Warminster Carnival photos each year, allowing people to order prints. On the first floor of the building was Polly's Tearoom which was also very popular. You are quite right when you say the shop had an entrance off the Market Place and another entrance on to 'an alleyway'. The alleyway you are referring to was part of the Anchor Yard on the west side of Payne's, between Payne's and the Anchor Hotel. Payne's and Polly's Tearoom were owned by Alan Gallagher who was much respected and well-liked by his staff and customers. Payne's shop was much loved by the people of Warminster. Alan retired in 1989, because of ill-health, and the business passed to Balfour News. Alan's hopes of spending a long and happy retirement in Salisbury, enjoying music and going to the theatre, were soon dashed. Not long after he moved from Warminster to Salisbury he died (in 1997). The Co-op acquired Balfour News in 2003 and eventually closed down the shop in Warminster. No.49 Market Place is now a much smaller retail outlet, being a charity shop, raising funds for the Blue Cross. There is a photo of Payne's shop on this website: click on http://www.dannyhowell.net/1986/08/paynes-newsagents-warminster.html to see it. And there's also here a photo of the Blue Cross charity shop: http://www.dannyhowell.net/2015/09/blue-cross-charity-shop-warminster.html  I attach a couple of sketch maps I have drawn to show you the location of the shop, then and now.
With best wishes from Warminster,
Danny Howell."
Payne's (second from left), 
between the Anchor Hotel
and Stiles Bros. 
. .
Now (2016) the Blue Cross charity shop
between the Anchor Hotel and Dorothy Perkins.