Chorley’s Wilcock and Sons clocks up 140 years in the business

Staff at hardware store Wilcocks & Sons celebrate its 140th year. Pictured L-R are Deborah Tomlinson, Valerie Booth, Adam Williams and Arthur Adlam.
Staff at hardware store Wilcocks & Sons celebrate its 140th year. Pictured L-R are Deborah Tomlinson, Valerie Booth, Adam Williams and Arthur Adlam.
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One of Chorley’s oldest shops – Wilcock and Sons –  is 140 years old this year.

The hardware store in Chapel Street, which is owned by Arthur Adlam, 54, was opened as a furniture shop in 1878.

Arthur, now a grandfather to seven, started working at the shop when he was just out of school in 1979 at the tender age of 16.

“I have worked here since I was 16 myself,” said Arthur, born and bred in Whittle-le-Woods.

“When I originally started there were three brothers, a fourth brother had already died. It was their grandad who started it, originally opening as a furniture shop and then he diversified and it became a hardware store.

“They were at the bottom of Chapel Street then. We moved from there 25 years ago to where we are now.

“The family used to have two shops in Chorley.”

Arthur took the store on in December 2000. All of the brothers, Gerald, Geoffry, David and Vincent, who he originally started working with when he was a teenager have now died.

Arthur said: “We have not really changed, its pretty much been the same for years and years - we sell the same products but we’ve diversified slightly into gardening products.

“Every day is different.

“Losing the brothers was a sad time. It had been great working for the same family all my working years.

“A high point though was taking over the business. They gave me the opportunity to take it on rather than just closing it down which a lot of families do.

A lot of people asked me why I kept the same name but why wouldn’t I keep the same name – it’s got a good reputation.”

Chairman of Chorley Trader’s Alliance Malcolm Allen said: “It must now be one of the oldest remaining independent stores in Chorley.

“If you are thinking of something that is out of the usual most of the time you will find it in Wilcock’s.”

Arthur, who has lived in Chorley since 1982 when he got married, now has four part -time staff helping him at the store. His wife Denise is a partner in the business but works as a care worker.

Outside of his daily working routine Arthur has seven grandchildren who keep him busy.

His two children Louise and Paul both live nearby - Paul in Chorley and Louise in Southport.