No. 38 – Messrs. Parrott & Son, Sweet Manufacturer

Number 38 is located on the corner of the High street and New Street and has been used for various purposes over the years.

A view of the premises when it was Leaf’s Ironmongers

In 1861 James Leaf, aged 54 lived in Number 38. He was unmarried and working as an ironmonger. James had come from Tarrant Rushton, just north of Wimborne. By 1871 James had found himself a wife, some 18 years younger than he and called Emma.

Ten years later and the property was now an eating house run by Elizabeth Wyatt. Elizabeth had five daughters, Alice aged 14, Ellen aged 12, Florence aged 6, Elsey aged 4 and Jessie aged  14 months. At the time of the census she also had two young men as boarders. There is no mention of a husband here but he could have been away at sea or some other work and in the census she is listed as married. It can only be imagined what hard work this must have been with five children to look after, a business to run and boarders as well.

In 1881 number 38 was occupied by Thomas Parrott originally from Somerset. He was a 60 year old man who was married to Fanny and had three children still living with them, 2 daughters and a son. Mr. Parrott had sad times as well as good times while he was a confectioner at No 38. In May 1885 he took action against Mr. Bowyer, a local baker who had not paid Mr. Parrott for the delivery of 16lbs of sweets called “Shah Drops” the previous August. Mr. Parrott won the case and Mr. Bowyer was obliged to pay Mr. Parrott back in three installments.

January 1886 a fire broke out at about 9 pm. Some people walking along the High street “noticed smoke issuing from the windows, one of which was broken and an attempt made to put out the flames. Mr. Parrott was away from home at the time but he arrived when the fire had been put out by a number of willing hands, who rendered valuable assistance.” The cost of the damage was £13.

In May 1886 Mr. Parrott placed a notice in the Poole and Dorset Herald offering a £5 reward to anyone giving information to convict the person or persons who started a rumor that a case of smallpox had broken out in the Parrott household. This would have impacted on his business if people believed that smallpox was in the home.

In February 1892 again at about 9 pm another fire broke out at the unfortunate confectioner’s. The fire brigade was called when some people walking past noticed smoke issuing from the windows on the second floor. The house had not been occupied by the Parrott family for some time and consequently there was no furniture on the premises, but the place had been used for boiling sugar. The fire brigade, led by Captain W. Habgood,  got through a window and after an hour of hosing with water the fire was under control. Sadly £300 to £400 of damage was caused. The origin of the fire was a mystery.

In 1893 Mr. Parrott again took someone to Poole Court, a Frederick Wise of Winton for not paying his bills. Mr. Parrott won the case and the defendant was ordered to pay 10 shillings a month.

After 10 years of manufacturing the Parrotts opened new premises in addition to the High Street shop, it was located in Perry Gardens to the rear of the High Street “Arcade”. In the furnace room there were four furnaces, with a boiler to each. They were supplying confectionery to the whole of the South west of England and had two vans working continually. They were a thriving business.

The employees were taken on one occasion to Lulworth Cove for an annual outing. They were conveyed in brakes provided by The George Inn at Longfleet. They left Poole at 8.30 am and arrived in Lulworth at noon having stopped at Wareham for a break. 50 people sat down to a meal at the Cove Hotel after which they enjoyed games on an adjoining field. Mr. W Parrott, Thomas’s son who was a junior partner, accompanied the workers. After a 3 hour journey the folk arrived back in Poole at 10pm.

Sadly in 1907 the story ended when Thomas Parrott was found dead in his bed aged 78. He was discovered by his daughter Miss Maggie Parrott. He had been asphyxiated by inhaling coal gas, a piece of rubber tubing having been fixed to a gas bracket, and the other end on the bed. It transpired from the inquest that Thomas Parrott believed he would lose the factory, and had other business worries. A local Doctor, Dr Johnson responded to a telephonic conversation and tried to help but without success. The verdict was that he had taken his own life while suffering from temporary insanity.

After the Parrott years the shop became a Dairy, Dining Rooms, Fried Fish Shop, Radio dealer, second-hand shop and now is an Indian Restaurant.

Lyn Hunt

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About Poole High Street Project

Contact: Jenny Oliver - j.oliver48@btinternet.com
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One Response to No. 38 – Messrs. Parrott & Son, Sweet Manufacturer

  1. Christine Lewis says:

    Thank you for this information. Thomas Parrott was my great great grandfather and although I know something about him from censuses and marriage certificates (he was married three times, this information was really valuable and so sad that he should take his own life.
    I shall make a note of the names involved in the project and contact you next time I am in England.
    Christine Lewis (christine.lewis296@gmail.com)

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