Shops & Businesses

Here we take a stroll down Main Street and a walk into the past

Batten's Seed Merchants, 26 Main Street, Kirby Muxloe

Most of us in Kirby have used "One–Stop" at one time or another, but do we know the history of the building starting back in 1932?

The building was originally constructed as two semi-detached shops; the one on the left opened as Batten’s (1930) in around 1932. The right-hand side became home to Clarke’s Fruiterers and Greengrocers. Tom Poyner and his new wife were the first people to move in to Batten’s shop. Batten’s also owned three pet shops trading under the name of Hartley’s. Tom became manager of Batten’s Coke and Coal Merchants and they lived above and at the back of the shop. The shop sold many other goods including dog biscuits, bird seed, corn and lots of other things related to animals. Everything was in large sacks which sat on the floor, the goods were put into paper bags and then weighed to calculate the cost; nothing was pre-packed. During WW2, ration books were needed to obtain poultry food. Mr Poyner often collected the coal and coke, which was sold in the shop, from Kirby Wharf. He stored the coal and coke in heaps in the fields behind the shops. At that time, the shops were surrounded by fields full of wild flowers, a great place for children to play.

In the 1960’s, Gerry Hurst, who had been working in the agricultural side of the business, moved to Kirby. The shop, now called Hartley’s, was still divided into two parts, with an adjoining door, the left-hand side shop specialising in pet food and hardware. After reducing the amount of hardware on display, Gerry started to sell groceries. This move proved successful and so the wall between the two shops was knocked down, making one larger and lighter shop. When the Co-op on Castle Road closed in 1972/3, Gerry decided to change the shop into one large grocery store. By this time, he had also become owner, not just manager. Gerry retired in 2005 and the shop changed hands, becoming Wilson’s for about a year. It then stood empty for the next year and finally was taken over in 2007/8 by One–Stop, part of the Tesco Group.