The History of North Street, Chichester

No. 29 North Street may be our new home but the shop has long been part of Chichester’s rich history. It has always been a busy, commercial street and the width of it reflects its Roman origins as well as its past use as a street market. North street of old, meant you would stumble upon a regular cattle market and we’ve even managed to find a wonderfully old photograph of the market in that time. Quite different from how we use the high street today.

old fashioned market on north street chichester

Many of North Street’s listed buildings served as shops and whilst the contents of the shops may have changed, they remain serving the high street, case and point our lovely place. The Buttermarket, just down the road from No.29, was built in 1808 to help ease congestion from the cattle market. The new building provided a dedicated space to sell vegetables, butter cheese etc. Despite time moving on, many architectural features of the shops along North Street remain relatively unaltered and retain elements of original 19th Century detailing.

black and white photo of north street

We’ve always been interested in the creative side of Chichester and it turns out the city has a great history of craftsmanship. Georgian Chichester in particular was a buzz of workshops and enterprise, there were: “carpenters, bricklayers and glaziers, blacksmiths, wheelwrights, coopers, saddlers, tailors and shoemakers. There were also bakers, brewers, grocers, gunsmiths and clay pipe makers.” A sight to behold, if only we could go back in time and take a stroll down Georgian North Street. 

Whilst digging around in Chichester’s past, we stumbled across these incredible photos from the 1950’s. Love this shot of the boys cycling past waving for the camera. No.29 is just out of the frame in this photo sadly but it is a great reminder of what the street looked like 70 years ago. 

fifties chichester

fifties chichester colour photo

Just a couple doors down from our humble shop, No.21 used to be Kimbell’s Restaurant and Ballroom. How fantastic do these gatherings look? The musicians, the dresses, that staircase!

Kimbel's staircase

Kimbel's restaurant

So all in all, it is rather lovely to be a little part of such an historic and glamorous high street


Fabulous article. I remember Kimbells in the 1980’s when it was a furniture shop. I’ve been in and around Chichester since the early 1980’s and have seen great change – not always for the better but still love the place.

Catherine Stormont August 25, 2021

My Great Grand Father lived in various houses in North Street. My Mother was born in No; 38 where Israel Smurthwaite finally lived. No; 39 was his hardware shop, variously described as glass dealer, oil and colour merchant, paper hangings. Nos 38/39 were a pair.
Photo from Reference library Showing shop 1890’s and also oil delivery truck.

John Hewett 09/08/21 related through my Mother.

John Hewett August 25, 2021

Loved looking at the old photographs and reading your cometary of North Street.
Have you moved out of the yard or do you have both places? Freya and I walked the walls a couple of weeks ago and looked in your window. Very nice. Freya loved the big stripy cushion in the window

Alison Stewart June 21, 2020

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