When my family first moved to the west country in the late 60’s there were several shops in Uphill, including a bakers’, a news agent, a post office, a sweet shop and a souvenir cum postcard cum ice-cream shop that I remember and I believe there were others as well. There was a garage and there may have been a chemist, there may have been an estate agent, there may have been a second-hand shop, there may have been a tea room … I don’t properly remember. We didn’t actually live in Uphill then, but a mile up the road on Bleadon Hill so my memories are fleeting, a sunny village street, the new church of St Nicholas, the old church on the hill, the Ship, the Dolphin…
When we first moved back to the village ten years ago there was still the newsagent and the post office and a restaurant, and the two pubs… everything else had vanished; how could tiny village shops compete with the bigger shops in town, let alone the supermarkets and the big stores?
The government decided that the number of village post offices had to be reduced, and although our village has a large number of elderly people dependent on the post office to get their pensions and other services, our post office was closed. So now we have the newsagents, which fortunately has increased the range of stock so as well as newspapers and greetings cards, it sells just about everything else as well.
On a recent walk we stopped to admire the sign writers’ shop.