202 High Street
202 High St, Berkhamsted
Today this shop unit on Berkhamsted High Street is an Oxfam Shop. The building is an uninspiring 1960s structure, nestled in a corner among much older Victorian buildings. Back in 1909, this was one of Berkhamsted’s most well-remembered shops: G. Loosley & Sons Booksellers, Stationers, Bookbinders and Printers, owned and run by local newsagent George Loosley.
The Loosleys were a large family and active members of Berkhamsted Baptist Church. In the early 1900s, Loosley’s had newsagents and stationery shops at 12 Castle Street and at 164 High Street — roughly where W.H.Smith is today. By 1909, Loosley was proudly advertising a new premises in his Berkhamsted Almanack and Directory, “Loosleys New Shop” at 176-8 — in the modern numbering system this is now 202 High Street, now the Oxfam shop. The address included the shop, the Servants’ Registry, Circulating Library and the Cowper Printing Works.
Then and Now: click to drag the pointer overr the picture
As well as selling newspapers, pens and pencils, Loosley was also a journalist, writing for the West Herts Observer, and a publisher — he founded The Berkhamsted Times in 1875 and published the Berkhamsted Almanack and Directory annually. During the First World War, Loosley’s were also the official printers for the Inns of Court Officer Training Corps, who were based in Berkhamsted.
An advertisement from the 1912 Almanack shows that they also sold in the shop Goss china souvenirs decorated with local crests of Berkhamsted Town, the County of Hertfordshire, Berkhamsted School, the poet Cowper and Earl Brownlow. Loosley’s appeal to the tourist market was also evident in the range of local books and pamphlets, including a highly popular local heritage booklet, the Historical Guide to Berkhamsted booklet, written by his son Albert Edward Loosley in 1900. Loosley’s also printed a large collection of picture postcards featuring delightful scenes of the town, the Castle and the Ashridge Estate, which were posted all over the world.
From 1915, two of George’s daughters, Annie and Nellie Loosley, managed a successful Servants’ Registry based at the shop. The family also ran a Circulating Library.
Not only did Loosley’s publications keep Berkhamsted townsfolk informed, educated and entertained, but also provide a valuable primary source material for historical researchers of today.
Discover the memorials in Rectory Lane Cemetery with historical links to 202 High Street
2 burials are found — click on a burial below to find out more: