Wellingborough cookshop to close after 268 years of trading

A Wellingborough store which has been in business since 1751 and family-run from 1883 will close later this year.

Wednesday, 30th January 2019, 10:44 am
Updated Thursday, 7th February 2019, 6:48 pm
Richard Rowlatt's great-grandfather John Rowlatt Snr (top) took the store over in 1883, passed it down to his son, John Rowlatt Junior (right), then to John Edward 'Ted' Rowlatt (left) and finally to Richard (bottom)

Rowlatts of Wellingborough, a cookshop and ironmonger, has been in Richard Rowlatt's family for 136 years but he is retiring soon.

"We are closing the store because my children are pursuing other careers, so we have taken the decision to shut," said 66-year-old Mr Rowlatt, the shop's managing director.

John Rowlatt Senior pictured in 1900 with an early motorised quadricycle

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

"For me, it's been a huge part of my life."

He added: "The greatest part of running the business has been the personal relationships with the customers and with my members of staff."

The shop was opened by an ironmonger, Mr Gill, in 1751 and was later taken over by Richard's great-grandfather John Rowlatt Snr in 1883, who renamed the store J. Rowlatt & Sons.

It was passed down to his son, John Rowlatt Junior, then to John Edward 'Ted' Rowlatt and finally to Richard.

Rowlatts in Church Way

"We have had it more than half of its lifetime," said Mr Rowlatt.

"I think we must be the longest-lived business in the town."

The managing director said the secrets to the shop's success all these years are good customer service, an interesting product range and a willingness to go the extra mile.

There is no fixed closing date yet but when the doors do shut, likely in March, Mr Rowlatt plans on "cracking open a bottle of bubbly".

"It's a real mix of emotions for me from wanting to retire and pursue interests and getting to spend more time with my wife, but it's tinged with sadness because this is the end of an era," Mr Rowlatt said.