What we know about the history of Oliver’s…..
Previously known as Mould & Edwards (Mouldy Edwards to the locals!) the property was a pork butcher from at least 1884 until 1927 when the Edwards family converted the premises to a general provisions merchant. The side passage was created by selling off half of the frontage to provide access to the new Hunt’s Dairy bottling and distribution plant which is now occupied by the Waitrose supermarket. Various land swaps and purchases resulted in the present property layout.
The shop was designed to the then popular Art Deco style which is still seen in the tiling and solid teak carved shop front. It is such a rare survivor architecturally that the famous Sherborne historian Gerald Pitman used to bring his guided tour parties through the shop.
Roy Edwards, seen in the old picture as a young boy, inherited the business which became famous locally for being prepared to deliver the smallest order free of charge if you were the ‘right sort’ of account customer. Many ex-employees have come to visit and all sorts of horror stories and funny reminiscences have been told. It is believed that the delivery bike still in our possession actually killed a young schoolmaster in Cheap Street within living memory.
When Roy died in the early 1980s his widow let the business to a couple who were unfortunately unable to make a go of it, so it closed. John Oliver, who had a small coffee bar in the property now known as the Flower Barrow, took a lease and converted Oliver’s to its present form. John traded until 1994 when a combination of bad business decisions and even worse extramarital activities around the town forced him to sell the business to Lawrence Scott. Lawrence ran Oliver’s for 17 years until his retirement in December 2011 when he sold the business to the current owner, Jane Wood.