Hancock & Wood is a fourth-generation family business trading from the same site on Bridge Street, Warrington, since it was founded in 1914. It is a shop many Warringtonians will have visited in their lifetime.
It all started when the well-situated store of Thomas Grime came onto the market when the owner retired. They alerted Frederick Samuel Hancock (a travelling haberdashery salesman who had married their daughter) that the business was up for sale and he jumped at the chance to buy it.
Soon after though, he became a Royal Marine during the First World War. During the war years a partner, David Wood, ran the firm and the company has been known by the name of Hancock & Wood ever since.
Selling dress materials, mantles, jackets, millinery and hosiery, it was housed next door to the shoe shop run by the Roberts family (who have since relocated to Golden Square shopping centre).
By 1925 Hancock & Wood was a well-established business. The shop originally occupied the left half of the present building but with the business going from success to success, the store expanded into the whole of the present frontage in 1933.
The Hancock & Wood building has been redeveloped over the years, but it was originally constructed in 1857. Before that, the site on Bridge Street was occupied by three small shops, as can be seen in the photograph. Note the rather grand clock at No. 29!
A series of further expansions took place towards the site of the present market at the rear of the store, particularly after Frederick’s son, David Hancock, joined the company in 1947, following service with the Royal Artillery during the Second World War.
David Hancock passed away on the 4th November 2013 aged 90.
The front of the shop on Bridge Street during their centenary year.
The Stockton Heath branch on London Road as it looked on 27 Feb 2003.
Bridge Street in Warrington has on more than one occasion been said to be one of the finest examples of a Victorian/Edwardian shopping street in Lancashire. Look above street level and some wonderful civic gems are visible.
As a result of one improvement scheme, co-ordinated by Warrington Civic Society, Queen Elizabeth II visited Bridge Street in 1968.
A new roof extension was built in the 1980s which now accommodates their Halo & Blush Hair & Beauty Salon. The Little Shop in Stockton Heath was opened in the early 1960s and proved to be a popular addition to the Hancock & Wood business, especially benefiting from the significant development of the village into the shopping centre of choice for an expanding, discerning and affluent south Warrington population.
The current directors, Michael and Christopher Hancock, now run the company, ably assisted by Susie, Michael’s daughter, who has recently joined the team and is heading up the accessory department along with the new Niche young fashion area.
The company has been developed and expanded over the years to meet the changing demands of their customers and now combines the best traditions of service with modern flair.
The Hancock family is proud that Hancock & Wood continues to offer the traditional values of an independent business, looking after the needs of customers from across north Cheshire and south Lancashire.
The centenary of the store was marked on 5 April 2014 when the public were invited to bring in their own birthday cakes to celebrate the continuing success of this family business.
- My thanks to Christopher Hancock for permission to reproduce their history on mywarrington. Happy birthday from me – here’s to the next 100 years!
- Visit the store and also their website where you can see photos from the family archive.