Home & Colonial | Rectory Lane Cemetery, Berkhamsted

Rectory Lane Cemetery, Berkhamsted

Home & Colonial

Home & Colonial
134 High St, Berkhamsted

Today, this is a large antiques emporium on Berkhamsted High Street, but in the late 19th century, a draper’s shop stood on the site of what is now Home & Colonial. George Catherall was born in Hemel Hempstead and had learned his trade in Slough. By the 1860s he had established his own draper’s shop in Berkhamsted. By 1881, George had increased his workforce to 3 assistants, of which one was his nephew and another his niece.

In 1891, Catherall’s Drapers was the scene of an assault which ended up in court:

“William Batchelor, Ann Batchelor, and Lillie Batchelor, all of Berkhampstead, were charged with assaulting Mr. George Catherall, of the same place, and George Catherall was charged with assaulting Ann Batchelor. Mr. Penny, [acting] for Mr. Catherall, stated that he was walking down High-street, Berkhampstead, and suddenly found himself assaulted from behind by two women, Lillie Batchelor and her mother, Ann Batchelor. The former was striking him with her fists, and the latter striking him over the head and shoulders with a stick.

Directly afterwards William Batchelor (the husband) joined them in assaulting him [inside a shop]. Complainant shouted for the police, and P.C. Reed came and took defendant away”. A long-standing grievance was heightened by the defendant’s (mistaken) belief that Catherall had sent offensive postcards to her.

“The Magistrates considered the case proved, and fined each of the Batchelors £1, including costs, which sums were paid, and they were bound over in £5 to keep the peace for six months. The summons against Mr. Catherall was dismissed.”

Bucks Herald, February 1891

Catherall’s Drapers is no longer standing. In the 1925, this High Street block was rebuilt as Home and Colonial Stores, one of the United Kingdom’s largest retail chains at the time. It sold groceries and a range of “colonial goods” – teas, coffees, spices, rice, sugar, chocolate and tobacco – exotic wares imported from the colonies of the British Empire. After Home and Colonial closed, the four-storey building became Brandon’s furniture store (later Neil’s). Today it is a popular antiques shop which has resurrected the classic Home and Colonial brand name.


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Discover the memorials in Rectory Lane Cemetery with historical links to Home & Colonial

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