The Sewell Newsagent

By Rosemary Bailey

This article was published in the April 2024 edition of Soul Search, the Journal of The Sole Society

My cousin was down visiting a couple of weeks ago, and we decided to visit Hampton Court Palace which is fairly close. This was our second attempt to visit as on her previous trip down when we were heading out she had hit our driveway kerb and caused a puncture.  As Minis don’t have a spare tyre, we had to wait for a mobile tyre person to arrive which messed up our whole day and prevented our visit to Hampton Court Palace. So, this was second time lucky…
We first had coffee in one of the coffee shops near-by, and I noticed Sewell’s Newsagent in the same parade at 51 Bridge Road. I popped in to ask the shopkeeper if he was by any chance a Sewell or knew the history of the shop.  Sadly, he wasn’t a Sewell as he came from Nepal! But he was interested in our enquiry and said the shop had just kept its name from several owners ago.

Sewell Newsagent East Molesey 2
Sewell Newsagent East Molesey

I took a look at Ancestry when I got home and found A. Angus a Coal and Coke Merchant, 51a Bridge Road, Molesey, in the 1930 Kelly’s directory. But more interestingly I found Edward Payne, a tobacconist, on the 1911 census at 51 Bridge Road. He was an employer so perhaps ‘lived above the premises’ and the shop was there, and it may just be that it hasn’t really changed use for 110 years. Of course, the 1921 census would show more, but a preliminary look (without a membership of Find My Past) wasn’t helpful.
Sadly, it was a Monday, and Hampton Court Palace was shut so maybe it will be third time lucky for our visit next time my cousin is down!