St Nicholas School
'Gray's Corner' is where Upwey meets Broadwey as the parish boundary runs up the centre of Old Station Road. Getting the name from the family grocer's shop (on the Broadwey side) established by Mr J E Gray, in the early 1900's. After the closure of the shops in Upwey in the 1970's, this became the shopping centre for both Upwey and Broadwey.
A 1930 advertisement in the local paper for Gray's Grocery Stores: 'People must live and the living must eat and drink. So the Grocer supplies the necessities of Life. We are here to supply you with the best at a reasonable price.' The business kept the name 'J E Gray & Co' although it was linked to Wright & Co of Dorchester; the proprietors included Mr Forsey in the 1950's; Mr Harding in the 1960/70's (Mr Harding's son ran the post office along the road); Joe Bancroft in the late 1970's.
Gray's Stores provided general provisions and a delivery service. As the years went by it became difficult for the shopkeepers to earn a living with competition from local supermarkets and falling numbers of customers. The shop closed and the premises were converted to a Vet's in 1996. However planners have ensured that the façade and some of the original shelving remains unchanged.
By the 1960's the shops were run separately. The shop on the left continued as a haberdashery, referred to as the 'Wool' shop and run for many years by Mrs Cary; by 1969 Mrs Sheppard was trading as 'Eileen's'. In the 1980's the shop became 'The Spinning Wheel' which in addition to knitting wool sold tapestry wool and items of wool craft.
The right hand shop became Bishop's ironmongers, where you could purchase almost anything from Pink Paraffin to kitchen utensils and deck chairs! Mr Bishop retired in 1981; the shop continued trading as Dee & Em Hardware then Watts Hardware. The shop closed in the late 1990's. In 2005 permission was granted to demolish the buildings and erect residential houses, these were completed in 2009.
On the opposite side of the road was a garage built by local builder, Harry Marsh, in the 1936/7 for Mr Richards. During the war it was commandeered by the Americans, the sight of their Harley-
The garage was run by many different people over the years, including in the late 1940's/early 1950's the Hilton family. Mrs Hilton did teas in the room with the curved window. In the mid 1950's the Napper family were in charge.
Sometime around the late 1960's/early 1970's the house was demolished as it was considered unsafe for houses to be so close to petrol storage tanks. By 1977 the site had been completely redeveloped.
The opening of the Texaco garage run by Simon Flower in 1977. A special price on petrol (£1.30 a gallon for four star) led to the road becoming blocked with queuing cars. A one-
Harry Hill was publican at the Railway Station Hotel from the 1950's. After his retirement in the late 1970's the property was converted into flats. The pub included an off licence counter just inside the entrance and to the left was the snug and to the right the main bar. In January 1957 a new sign was commissioned to commemorate the centenary of the opening of the railway line to Weymouth and of the hotel.
Between the Railway Hotel and the garage were two wooden huts (approx. 1930's to 1960). One occupied by Mrs Bush who sold sweets, tobacco, comics and newspapers. For a time in the 1950's she also operated a small library. The other was occupied by 'Jimmy' the barber who cut girls and women's hair as well as men and boys. Jimmy had chair in middle of room and bench seats all around the edge where you waited for your turn. If children were too short in the chair Jimmy put plank of wood across the arms and they sat on that. Young customers would often while away the waiting time by reading the comic and eating sweets purchased from Mrs Bush next door. Jimmy moved the barbers to 28 Elwell Street in about 1960, trading there for a few years.
Gray's Corner in 1962
Built as part of Jubilee Terrace to celebrate Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee in 1897, Jubilee Stores was a newsagent and tobacconist. By the end of the 1930's it had also become the post office, which had previously been at 14 Old Station Road. The Harding's were in charge in the 1960's and 1970's. Known as Broadwey Post Office, as the shops around it closed, it extended the range of goods sold to meet the needs of the community. In 2009 the sub post office was closed by the General Post Office -
The Co Op premises next door was built in the 1930’s and went ‘self service’ in the 1960’s. It was refurbished with a new shop front and illuminated sign in 1973 and closed in 1992. The building has since been used for a variety of businesses.
The butcher's shop was built as an extension to 719 Dorchester Road c.1907 by Mr Gould. The Lockwood family took over the business when Mr Gould retired in 1953. Slaughtering of animals in the adjacent sheds (now garages) ceased and carcases were delivered by lorry. They made their own sausages and faggots and offered a delivery service. Again the effect of supermarkets and falling customer numbers meant that the family decided to close the shop in 1992 and convert it to a dwelling.
The Upwey side of Gray’s Corner 1908