Records would indicate that there has been a shop in Ridgewood since at least 1867 where there is a listing in "The Post Office Guide" for a "George Goord, Shopkeeper, Ridgewood".
There is also another reference in the Brookers Guide and Directory in 1888 for "Mrs Goord, groceries and provisions dealer, Ridgewood Hill". It would seem that Lewes Road in Ridgewood was known originally as Ridgewood Hill.
The shop has seen a number of changes of ownership, the first written records available list the owner as Mr Richard James Streatfield who sold the premises known as Post Office Stores, Ridgewood to a Mr Arthur Longhurst Dinnage on 12th December 1925.
It would appear that Harriett Lucy Ware then became the owner almost immediately until 1956.
Records then show that Mrs Ware sold the property in October 1956 to Mr A J Weller who owned it until 1970 when it was sold to a Mr A B Taylor on the 6th April.
Following Mr Taylors death on 22nd May 1973 his wife Betty Angela Taylor took ownership. She then sold it to Mr Earnest Makepeace on the 3rd June 1977.
On the 22nd August 1986, Jon and Sue Gothard purchased the shop and post office, now known as Ridgewood Post Office and Stores, from Mr Makepeace. Although the shop was in decline at that time, they could see the potential and set about re-stocking the shop with everyday essentials, however, they ensured that the character of the shop was retained and only changed essentials such as the shelving.
Picture of Post Office with the name "M Goord" on the nameplate on the wall. This would make the picture around the late 1880's. At this time, the shop only occupied the left half of the property (as you look at it) as you can see an entry to the house on the right. (courtesey of Memories of Uckfield)
A similar Picture of the Post Office this time with some children. Not sure what the reference to Paper girls 1945 might be. (Courtesy of Memories of Uckfield)
Not a very good picture but shows the shop front on. Looking at the features it would appear to be around the same age as the pictures above.
This was taken soon after we purchased the property in 1987. It still has the large window and we hadn't put the porch over the door yet.
Over the years we have completed a number of refurbishments. In March 2006 the shop was closed for a month.
The whole of the shop contents were put into a storage container:
This enabled us to dig up and replace the floor, drop and replace the ceiling and replaster all the walls:
The Post Office was also updated with a new screen, counter and shelving:
Outside was cleaned and painted:
During the time that the shop was closed, we continued with news deliveries and regular customers were able to still come and get their papers from a temporary shop set up in our conservatory around the back of the shop.
We were very pleased that on -reopening, our customers returned and seemed very pleased with the results of the upgrade.
The next few years were pretty quiet with the only addition being the blind on the front to help shade the shop from the sun:
However, the next obstacle we had to overcome was the potential Morrisons local being built in the car park of the Highlands Inn. Following a lengthy planning battle, the residents won out and the planning inspectorate finally refused permission.
We then decided we had to move on with the Post Office request to "transform" our post office to a "Local Plus".
Once again, we were thrust into a major refurbishment only this time our timescale was only one week.
In February 2015 we closed the shop and along with our staff, cleared all the stock and contents into our conservatory!
This time we had family, friends and staff working to remove the post office "box", repainting everything, putting together new shelving and finally replacing all the stock back onto the new shelves.
The result was a stunning new look for our shop and post office:
One of the highlights for me was seeing our old cold cabinet being transported to its new home in Isfield on the back of a tractor!
Ridgewood Post Office and Stores has undergone many transformations over the years, however despite many economic challenges we have faced over our 34 year tenure, we are pleased and proud that Ridgewood still has its post office and shop.