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No 17 Stradbroke Road - North Cliff Post Office

This new shop and home are auctioned by E R Cooper and acquired by
Mr & Mrs
Godsmark - Grocer and Post Office. To see the auction house particulars (courtesy of Ian Goffin), click here.

C J Andrews - Grocer, Provision Merchant and Post Office. (Source: Advertisement right)

Note: According to Cyril Steley's memoir, his father, William Steley, purchased the business in 1908 from Mr & Mrs Godsmark who lived in the adjacent house. It seems likely that CJ Andrews was a tenant.

William Steley - Grocer and Provision Merchant, Post Office (K1908).

William is is the son of Will and Bella Steley, Norfolk fruit farmers. He marries Caroline Jopson and they have five children: Gladys Violet (1902), Joseph Cyril (1903), Hazel Winifred (1905), Kenneth Bertram (1907) and Reginal Will (1916 approx)

William Steley rejected farming as a career and became apprenticed as a grocer with the Star Tea Company, working in Cambridge and Falmouth before becoming manager of the Bury St Edmunds branch. Later, in partnership with his brother-in-law, he bought a business of three grocery shops in Suffolk. The partnership foundered and William Steley decided to go it alone, answering an advert in 'The Grocers' Gazette' which led to the purchase of the Stradbroke Road premises, including grocery business and good will, from Mr & Mrs Godsmark in 1908.

William and Caroline and their children live in the attached three-storey house - 'Suffolk House' adjacent to the shop. In fact, with its 12 rooms, the property is so capacious that Caroline runs part of it as holiday apartments. William becomes firmly embedded in Southwold society - as a town councillor, a Congregational chorister, a Mason, a member of the local Liberal party and a keen bowls player.


William Steley - Grocer and Provision Merchant, Post Office. When war breaks out, William is exempted from service as being in a reserved civilian occupation. In fact, Steley's is appointed official contractor to HM Services. For the duration of the war the Steley family moves inland for safety, to a cottage in Blythburgh, from where William cycles to work in the shop each day

To read an account by William's son, Cyril Steley, of shop life during the Great War, click here


William Steley - Grocer and Provision Merchant, Post Office. The premises also house the Southwold Employment Exchange, a branch of the Ministry of Labour.

To read an account by William's son, Cyril Steley, of a grocer's daily life in the early 1920s, click here.


William Steley - Grocer and Provision Merchant, Post Office (K1937). The shop is promoted as 'The Bacon Shop'.

Until this year, the Post Office has also served as the Southwold Employment Exchange, a branch of the Ministry of Labour. This branch closes this year but it will reopen at No 19 across Dunwich Road in 1939 where it will be managed by Reginald Will Steley, William and Caroline's youngest son. Later Reginald will change career, becoming a banker in King's Lynn

William Steley - Grocer and Provision Merchant, Post Office. William Steley senior closes his shop on 1 October this year.

With thanks to Margaret Frost (nee Steley) for providing access to her late father, Cyril's, unpublished memoir about his childhood in Southwold.

Stanley Pulham - and his wife Freda, take over the grocery business on 1 October. They continue to trade as 'Steley Stores' (SRB),

We are grateful to the Pulhams' daughter, Janet.Fawcett for information and family photos.


Pulhams closes on 21 March. (SRB)

W T Scrivener - 'Stradbroke Stores' - Opens as a grocer on 1 April this year. (SRB, CSP1953)

Blackman Freeman
- Ladies Hairdressers (LM)




Yvonne Webb - 'Sole Bay Hair' - Closes this year. The last shop trading in Stradbroke Road (SLHR, LM) How long had she been trading?




Do you have any memories or records about this address? Can you correct any of our information or fill in any of our blanks? If so, please email Barry Tolfree
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BSD - Bernard Segrave-Daly
BCS = Bygones & Characters of Southwold by Barrett Jenkins
C = Census
CP = Cinema Programme 1958
CSP = Coronation Souvenir Programme 1953
G = Gales Trade Directory
GRO = General Register Office
K = Kelly's Directory
LM = Local memory
M = James Maggs' Southwold Diary 1818-1876
MCG = Methodist Church Guide 1930
NA = National Archives
PP = Pantomime Programme 1933
PLR = Petrol Licence Records

POD = Post Office Directory
PPP = Pier Pavilion Programme 1924, 1926
RCE = Rotary Club Exhibition 1969
SCM = Southwold Catholic Magazine 1923
SCTG = Southwold Corporation Tourist Guide
SER = Southwold Electoral Register
SFP = Southwold Scouts Fete Programme 1947
SG = Southwold Guide
SGCH = Southwold Golf Club Handbook
SLHR = Southwold Local History Recorder 1980s 1990s (Mrs R. McDermot)
SMHS = Southwold Museum & Historical Society

SN = Southwold & Neighbourhood 1903
SPM = Southwold Parish Magazine 1895 -1954
SR = Southwold Recorder 1927, 1932, 1934, 1935
SRB = Southwold Rate Book
SRT = Southwold Railway Timetable 1915
SSAS = Southwold Sea Angling Society Handbook 1909
SST = Southwold Summer Theatre Programmes
SSW = Southwold Shopping Week Programme, June/July 1922
STG = Southwold Town Guide 1930
SVL = Southwold Visitors List 1907, 1930
SVCP = Southwold Victory Celebration Programme 1946
SWCG = Southwold Wesleyan Church Guide

TTR = 'The Town Revisited' - Portraits of Southwold by Stephen Wolfenden 2000
TTT = ''To The Town' - Portraits of Southwold by Stephen Wolfenden 1988
W = White’s History, Gazetteer and Directory of Suffolk 1874

Note on dates
Unless otherwise stated, dates given do not indicate the years in which the business started or finished but those for which there is firm evidence that it was trading at this address. Sources in brackets; key at bottom of page.


The Steley property encompassed not only the two-storey corner building but also the three-storey house, "Suffolk House", in Dunwich Road on the left of the picture.

Wall-mounted Victorian postbox from the North Cliff post office, now an exhibit in Southwold Museum

1905 advertisement in 'A Guide to Southwold'.
Thanks to Robert Temple

Cyril and Annie Steley with their children

Cyril Steley, his wife, Annie and their children, John & Margaret.
This and the other Steley family photos provided by Margaret who also gave us permission to quote from Cyril's extensive memoir.

Hazel Steley

Hazel Bown (Nee Steley)

Cyril Steley

Cyril Steley as a Congregational Minister

Steley siblings
Kenneth, Hazel, Cyril and Reginald in later life.

1922 advertisement in the Southwold Corporation Tourist Guide.
Click the picture to enlarge

Undated advertisement, probably post 1922 in Southwold Tourist Guide
Courtesy of Heather Osmer
Click image to enlarge

1929 advertisement in Southwold Wesleyan Church Guide. Steley's had just started promoting iitself as 'The Bacon Shop'.
Courtesy of Heather Osmer

1934 North Cliff Post Office is just in view on the extreme left. (From a postcard in the collection of Robert Palmer)
Click the picture to enlarge

Stanley and Freda Pulham with their daughter, Janet and family friend, Pam Harvey, photographed outside their shop (still called 'Steley Stores') in 1948.

Photo courtesy of Janet Fawcett (nee Pulham)

Click the picture to enlarge

Stanley and Freda Pulham with daughter, Janet, in the doorway of their store in 1948.

Photo courtesy of Janet Fawcett (nee Pulham)

Click the picture to enlarge

Staff of Steleys Store in late 1940s. Seated woman not identified.

Photo courtesy of Janet Fawcett (nee Pulham)

Click the picture to enlarge

No 17 probably in the 1960s when it was trading as Blackman Freeman, Ladies' Hairdresser. The original 'North Cliff Post Office sign remains in place Photo by Norman Parker, supplied courtesy of Murray Gellatly.

Click image to enlarge