Bath has always been renowned for its wonderful range of independent traders.
From grocers to jewellers, they are masters of their trade, and you could spend a weekend hopping from one store to the other.
But recession, changing shopping habits, and old age have also taken their toll, with many beloved shops leaving our high street forever.
READ MORE: Popular bar and nightclub up for sale near Bath
Maybe you miss browsing the new albums in Wessex Records on Saturdays, stocking up on balsa wood at Modeller’s Den, or buying your sausages on Green Street.
Perhaps, now that Mayther is gone, you’ve been forced to buy your cards online, and back-to-school shopping isn’t quite the same without Woods The Stationers.
But, as one door closes another opens, and some new indie shops are popping up after lockdown – like Whole Lotta Knots on Cheap Street, where you can buy almost anything made of string.
For now, though, let us cast our minds back and remember eight great shops that used to be in Bath.
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1) Alexandra May Jewellery
Alexandra May who runs Alexandra May Jewellery based in Bath
(Image: Alexandra May)
A popular jewellery store in Bath closed this year after more than two decades in the city.
Alexandra May Jewellery was situated in Margaret Buildings for the last 23 years and has become a stalwart of the high street, with its stunning window displays of collectable and classic costume jewellery becoming a joy for many.
But the coronavirus pandemic, coupled with a lack of people buying costume jewellery sped up the founder’s decision to retire.
2) Bartlett and Sons
(Image: Bath Chronicle)
This much-loved butcher on Green Street closed permanently on February 13 this year, having traded in the city for many years.
People were saddened when the news broke on social media and have made their voices heard by commenting under a post in the Bath and Proud Facebook group.
Michelle Sames was “gutted” and said she used to buy meat from Bartlett’s before her own shop shut down.
Benedict Grinke said: “That’s horrible news. I have lived nearby for many years and always used this butchers shop. So much cheaper, great quality and really nice staff. I am really going to miss it.”
3) Langbridge Home Hardware
Langbridge Home Hardware in Larkhall
(Image: Lambridge Ventures Ltd)
Langbridge Home Hardware, of 4-6 Lambridge Buildings, Larkhall, was formed in 1958 and in that time it flourished in the village.
However, co-owners Mike and Angela Langbridge said they were looking to retire and the business closed in the first quarter of 2020.
A planning application has been sent to Bath and North East Somerset Council to have new businesses take its place.
Before long, Lambridge Ventures Ltd applied to re-open a retail business, a cafe and reinstate two flats at the hardware store at 4-6 Lambridge Buildings.
Milsom Street and Mark Ballinger (inset)
Mayther card shop on Milsom Street was forced to close due to high rents and dwindling footfall, the manager said.
It was open for 25 years and Mark Ballinger, 45, shop manager, said the closure was a “tragedy” and he was very sad to see it go.
“I have worked here for 23 years, but our lease has come to an end and rents in Bath are just too high for us to stay,” he said.
“It has been on the cards for the last couple of years, and Covid has just added to that really.”
5) John Bikes
An inside shot of John’s Bikes which closed after 40 odd years
(Image: Paul Gillis)
A bike shop in Bath that was around from the 1970s and once raked in £1m a year closed in 2018.
The oldest bike shop in Bath, John Bikes, closed its doors to the public at the end of November that year.
Just Add Legs, who owned the Walcot Street business, told Bath Live that despite trade improving since they took over the shop two years ago, it is not sustainable in the long term.
One of the company’s directors, Ralph Catto, thanked customers for their support over the years.
“We tried to rescue this one, so it is a great shame and a big regret that it is going to close,” he said.
“Trading in the sector has been challenging. Evans Cycles faces going bust.
“John’s Bikes was very close to collapse when we took it on two years ago.
“Trading has improved but it is not sustainable for the long term.”
6) Modeller’s Den
This store – also known as the Bath Model Centre – was the place to get all your paint, glue and balsa wood.
But one enthusiast returned recently and was gutted to find it gone.
He wrote on the Model Boat Mayhem forum: “I went into Bath today to buy some bits and pieces from the Bath Model Centre, only to find that it had closed down with large signs everywhere saying ‘Shop to let’.
“A very sad day for those who remember the shop as “The Modellers Den” in its heyday.
“The shop was first opened in 1946 and my first memories are of buying pocket money Airfix kits in the 1950s as a small child.
“I don’t know the reasons for the shop closure but we can all speculate, about the downturn in high street shopping and the inability of this type of shop to compete on prices with online retailers.
“The shop never really specialised in Model Boats, but carried a lot of Tamiya, etc kits, die-cast cars and model rail items, but it did have a useful R/C section and of course general items like balsa, glues, plastistruct etc…
“I for one will miss this shop and I’m grateful for the fond memories that I will always have. Regards, Alan.”
7) V V Rouleaux
The shop will close today (October 1)
(Image: Paul Gillis)
This beautiful shop has closed its doors just two years after opening.
V V Rouleaux, a haberdashery shop on George Street, shut in October 2019 after opening in the summer of 2017.
Although the business runs another shop in Marylebone, in London, it no longer trades in Bath.
In an announcement on its Instagram page, V V Rouleaux said: “We are sorry to announce that we will be closing the Bath shop tomorrow.
“Thank you to all of our lovely customers, we will miss you all.”
Commenting on the Instagram post, one person said: “A real shame, yet another of the best shops in Bath closing its doors.”
Another said: “That makes me sad. I have lovely memories of visiting your shop in Bath.
“I treasure a tassel I bought there and brought back to the US in my suitcase.”
8) Woods The Stationers
Woods traded on the corner of Old Bond Street for 220 years until March
(Image: Artur Lesniak/ Reach plc)
One of the oldest shops in Bath – which was run for more than two centuries at the same location – closed in 2019.
Woods The Stationers traded on the corner of Old Bond Street in the city centre for around 220 years.
Its management announced that “all good things must come to an end”.
Husband-and-wife owners John Sieberhagen and Rachel Shutter praised their “exceptionally loyal, knowledgeable and always humorously entertaining” employees.