Cosy Corner, Thomas Tilbury and Tilbury's General Store

Mrs Tilbury, whose husband's ancestors came from near Bagshot, wrote from Canada

"Sometime in the early 1900's, I believe, there was a GENERAL STORE, owned by a William, Henry, George or Leonard Tilbury. Which ever one it was had a son named Thomas. In a note I have, Grandma states that THOMAS TILBURY worked in his father's GENERAL STORE in COSY CORNER, Bagshot.

"I am attempting to get more information on the Store & particularly on THOMAS TILBURY and his descendants."

Marie de Eedle's reference work on the History of Bagshot & Windlesham mentions neither Cosy Corner nor any Tilbury and for a long time very little information emerged. Then we had a breakthrough, though Cosy Corner turned out to be a house rather than a shop.

David Hammond wrote with information about several 18th century Tilbury's from our area, but these are a lot earlier than Mrs Tilbury's immediate interests.

Alan tells us that "Tom Tilbury worked for Underwood's general store in old High Street, Bagshot in 1950 / early 60s. I remember him as a very pleasant man. He was a local retained fireman, and as far as I know had he no children."

corner shop frontage with a rounded profile and a legend painted where a window might have been expectedAnother correspondant wrote: "If I remember correctly Tilbury's became Nash's on the High Street, just across from where Hedges the Green Grocers store was and on the corner opposite to where Ken Philcox the barber used to be. As Alan so correctly recalls a very nice Mr Tilbury worked at Underwoods down near the Three Mariners pub."

The shop being described has an unusual round frontage. It is now part of a Chinese take away, was a florist prior to that, and in this very old photo was Finch's Coal, Coke, Salt and Agricultural Seed Merchant.  

Roy reminds us that prior to being a florist, the shop was used by Astral Amusements who sold slot machines, and at some time was the 'Brown Jug'. (Feb 11)

I hasten to add that the description of Nash's, Hedges and the barber's businesses relates to around 1960 - Ken the barber is alive and well and enjoying his retirement.

I speculated that possibly Mr Tilbury had taken over Finch's but Karen (Tom's great neice) then wrote;

"Alan is correct, Tom did indeed work in Underwood's shop. This was my grandparent's shop, and was on Bagshot old High Street from mid/late 1930's to the early 1970's. My father tells me they also had a shop on Guildford Road (the Lightwater side of the viaduct) in the 1930's, where Tom would also have worked.

"The picture posted as a possible location for the shop, is definitely not of the shop on the old High Street.  If you go down the old High Street past what used to the bank, the shop was on the left, two or three doors down, and occupied three shop fronts.

"Cosy Corner was one of two houses, off Guildford Road, next to what is now Freemantle Road. To my knowledge there was never a shop on that site, although my grandparents did run grocer's vans from the yard.

"I don't know anything about a Tilbury General Store. I understand that prior to their retirement, Tom's parents ran an off-licence in Lightwater, but I don't know what it was called."

Karen confirms that Tom and his wife had no children.

two shops with a single storey frontage protruding from a white painted building.  

This is the building in the old High Street that Karen describes, as seen early in 2004. Now divided into two premises, the right hand is an RSPCA charity shop.
  An old shop front, with blinds over and a horse and cart in the road in front.  

On the right is a picture of the building about 100 years ago. Note that the frontage had not then been extended. The name on the fascia is Evans, but I cannot read any of the other words.

What I find facinating are those huge windows in the upper storey. When I first saw the building in the 1970's it stuck me that the windows looked out of place and I assumed that they were a 1960's "improvement", but no, they are surprisingly old.  By 2004 they had been replaced with the smaller size seen in the colour photo.

Another corspondant writes:  "What you refer to as 'Tilbury's Yard' Was in fact Underwoods yard belonging to Underwoods ironmongers in the High Street.

"Tom Tilbury was Herbert Underwood's brother-in-law and did indeed live in the yard with his wife Olive. Tom was Underwoods storeman and hence looked after the yard. I happen to know this because my father worked for Underwoods for some thirty years as a van salesman and as a youngster I would go out with him sometimes.

"Herbert died in a car crash on the Fire Station bend (where Mead Court is) and his wife, Queenie, took the business over for many years after." ref428.1004

Ron Frost adds to Karen's information that Underwoods had a second shop.

Yes, Underwoods did have a shop approx 100 yds from the viaduct towards Lightwater on right hand side. At the outbreak of war 1939 it became the food office where we went for our ration books and childrens orange juice and cod liver oil. After the war I think it was a fish shop and then an electrical shop.

Mrs Underwood was always a good friend of the 1st Bagshot Scouts and supervised their jumble sales, run to buy their tents and equipment. Her son Hubert, nicknamed "Nobby" was a scout. ref 612.0106

The shop was still there in the early 1970's when I moved to the village, though then trading as P&H Electronics Ltd. Half was an electrical retailer and half a launderette. I remember buying our first computer there - 400 for an Amstrad 6128 and 5 for one low capacity floppy disc!  I was told by the late Pam Marler (nee Summerton) that the shop and launderette were owned by Mr & Mrs Page. 7060.807

Tim Wild adds his memories of Underwoods. 7079.1107

I remember Underwoods the ironmongers as a lad in the 1960's and early 70's and indeed remember Tom Tilbury very well, I also knew his wife Olive as a good friend.

Underwoods was indeed in High Street at this time, I believe it was next to the Library, opposite Godwins (which had moved from where Somerfields is now). If I remeber correctly, the store was eventually run by old Mrs Underwood's grandson just prior to closing.

Tom and Olive lived in a house at the back of Kemps yard, off the Guildford Road, which was purchased eventually by Wimpey (the builders) and as part of the deal they were given new houses at the Guildford Road end of Freemantle Road. Indeed if my memory serves me correctly I believe old Mrs Underwood lived in the house next door. The site of Underwoods yard and the houses became Chewter Close. Sadly they are all no longer with us, neither is Jimmy Blackall senior, the delivery van driver referred to in an earlier posting. I remeber in the 60's when Underwoods van used to deliver Pink Parrafin so Jim Blackall was always known to me for years as the parrafin man, Oh Happy Days!!

This is all pretty clear to me as from a baby until 1987 I had lived in 5 Fairlight Cottages, now 48 Guildford Road.

From Ken Wills: I remember Tom Tilbury as he lived to the back of me. I lived in the White Hart untill 1963. He used to sell me 12 bore cartridges in the shop in the High Street. Happy days they were. 637/1107

Lee has written telling us about other Tilbury's:
My grandfather Charles Hall who was born at South Farm Lightwater in 1903 and went to Bagshot School (as did his older brothers and sisters and a younger brother) knew a man that he referred to as old Mr Tilbury. My recollections are a bit hazy and my grandfather has passed away, he spoke of an old Mr Tilbury but I can't be totally sure whether it was Tilbury or Godfrey he spoke of having something to do with Nursery premises in Windlesham - possibly on the Chobham side of village. They had a son Peter. I don't know if this family are related but it is an unusual name and as both Bagshot and Lightwater grew out of the Parish of Windlesham its likely many of the older families are related. The only off license I knew in Lightwater as a child was in a building along the Guildford Road which was formerly Blacks Haberdashers and prior to that according to my grandmother a coach house with stables behind that burnt down sometime between 1910 and the first world war. My mother grew up in Lightwater during the second world war so I can enquire if there was ever one anywhere else. 599.1205

Peter Baggs writes : I am one of the decendance of the Tilbury family, I have lived in Windlesham for over 54 years, and over the last few years have been collecting info to get back in time with my family tree, and only found out that my ggggreat grand mother was a Tilbury. The family are buried in Windlesham Church. I asked at the church record office a while ago if there was any records and the person involved with them gave me a long list of facts of the family. Thomas Tilbury and wife Betty were Pub or hostelry keepers in Bagshot, and ran the Kings Head his brother John having brought it. This was in the mid 1700, and he is in the Hammonds wills. 7092.1107

Caroline, a Tilbury researcher, has written to say that her material on rootsweb contains details about Thomas & Betty Tilbury of Bagshot.  She believes that  they had no male child, or no surviving male child. [Jan 14]

Can you add anything? You may use the message pad below to reply.

Karen would be delighted to get in touch with other members of the Tilbury family, but unfortunately I have now lost contact with the original enquirer, so if Mrs Tilbury sees this and writes I will be pleased to put her and Karen in contact.  


Thanks to the several correspondants who have contributed to this page including David Hammond, Lee, Karen the late Alan Gosden.

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