End of an era for historic Worcester shop

FOR SALE: G R Pratley and Sons has been in the same spot in The Shambles for 131 years – but now its owners are looking for a buyer. Picture by Nick Toogood. 27309202

FOR SALE: G R Pratley and Sons has been in the same spot in The Shambles for 131 years – but now its owners are looking for a buyer. Picture by Nick Toogood. 27309202

First published in News by

A 131-YEAR-old Worcester porcelain merchant has put its premises up for sale.

The proud name of G R Pratley and Sons is as closely linked with the city as Royal Worcester Porcelain.

Its store has been at 16 The Shambles – one of the oldest shopping precincts in the city – since 1880.

Now its 5,392 sq ft freehold premises have been listed for sale with agents Halls with an asking price of £1 million.

The owners said the building was not cost-effective given the high street’s economic woes, but stressed the business was continuing to trade and is open as usual.

Business partner Michael Sedgley said: “We’re testing the market. The reason for the sale is that business rates are too high and the footfall has dropped away.”

The emporium is an Aladdin’s cave of glass, china, rugs and specialist furnishings and belongs to one of the city’s oldest surviving trading families. It has a reputation for piling stock high at discount prices.

Comments (30)

Please log in to enable comment sorting

9:31am Fri 8 Jul 11

jb says...

That is such a shame, I love walking round Pratley's and have bought some lovely pieces from there and it's quite an interesting building to walk around. More of Worcester's history disappearing, it's quite sad really.
That is such a shame, I love walking round Pratley's and have bought some lovely pieces from there and it's quite an interesting building to walk around. More of Worcester's history disappearing, it's quite sad really. jb
  • Score: 0

9:42am Fri 8 Jul 11

MR H Marks says...

Very sad, hopefully things will turn around for them. Love spending time in there looking through the interesting items, and buying. I suppose though a business of this nature can only go on as long as there is someone left to run it. Hope it can stay as long as possible.
Very sad, hopefully things will turn around for them. Love spending time in there looking through the interesting items, and buying. I suppose though a business of this nature can only go on as long as there is someone left to run it. Hope it can stay as long as possible. MR H Marks
  • Score: 0

10:09am Fri 8 Jul 11

slothbear says...

Nooo! This can't happen, it's a great shop. We don't want a bland high-street with all the same chain stores as you find everywhere else.
Nooo! This can't happen, it's a great shop. We don't want a bland high-street with all the same chain stores as you find everywhere else. slothbear
  • Score: 0

10:21am Fri 8 Jul 11

jovialcommonsense says...

Does this mean the business will continue and rent back the premises, or is looking to continue at another location, or will be closing down once a purchaser is found????
Does this mean the business will continue and rent back the premises, or is looking to continue at another location, or will be closing down once a purchaser is found???? jovialcommonsense
  • Score: 0

12:05pm Fri 8 Jul 11

dulon says...

This is another ramification of our councils policy.Out of town shopping centres and all centred around the car and large supermarkets.
Our latest developments in lowesmoor just about sums it up. What chance does a small local business in the centre stand
from this constant erosion ?.
JB you are probably one of the few that 'love to walk'
This is another ramification of our councils policy.Out of town shopping centres and all centred around the car and large supermarkets. Our latest developments in lowesmoor just about sums it up. What chance does a small local business in the centre stand from this constant erosion ?. JB you are probably one of the few that 'love to walk' dulon
  • Score: 0

12:53pm Fri 8 Jul 11

Maggie Would says...

Hmmm. I did wonder the last time I was in there - it only had about 30% of the usual stock, very little stuff to sort of 'scavenge' through. It was very tidy!
It's a great shame nonetheless. Also, I used to **** over the lovely antique oak tables in the back but couldn't afford any of them.
Hmmm. I did wonder the last time I was in there - it only had about 30% of the usual stock, very little stuff to sort of 'scavenge' through. It was very tidy! It's a great shame nonetheless. Also, I used to **** over the lovely antique oak tables in the back but couldn't afford any of them. Maggie Would
  • Score: 0

1:03pm Fri 8 Jul 11

CJH says...

What did you do over the tables Maggie???
What did you do over the tables Maggie??? CJH
  • Score: 0

1:07pm Fri 8 Jul 11

Maggie Would says...

What!
I l-usted over them, that's what!
But not in a rude way. The sight of a naked Maggie strewn across them would have precipitated Pratley's demise for sure!
What! I l-usted over them, that's what! But not in a rude way. The sight of a naked Maggie strewn across them would have precipitated Pratley's demise for sure! Maggie Would
  • Score: 0

1:41pm Fri 8 Jul 11

The Kop says...

I love the place, will miss it greatly if it goes. I have bought a few things from there over the years but always promised myself that if I won the lottery I go in there and spend a fortune. If I win tonight I promise I will buy the place and keep it open!
I love the place, will miss it greatly if it goes. I have bought a few things from there over the years but always promised myself that if I won the lottery I go in there and spend a fortune. If I win tonight I promise I will buy the place and keep it open! The Kop
  • Score: 0

3:19pm Fri 8 Jul 11

presterjohn says...

Councils all over the country are going to have to seriousely rethink their policies on business rates in town centres, before the centres of all our great towns become ghetos filled with boarded up premises and charity shops.
Councils all over the country are going to have to seriousely rethink their policies on business rates in town centres, before the centres of all our great towns become ghetos filled with boarded up premises and charity shops. presterjohn
  • Score: 0

3:26pm Fri 8 Jul 11

spider666 says...

CJH wrote:
What did you do over the tables Maggie???
Glad you had the courage to ask the question lol
[quote][p][bold]CJH[/bold] wrote: What did you do over the tables Maggie???[/p][/quote]Glad you had the courage to ask the question lol spider666
  • Score: 0

3:26pm Fri 8 Jul 11

spider666 says...

Glad you had the courage to ask the question lol
Glad you had the courage to ask the question lol spider666
  • Score: 0

3:46pm Fri 8 Jul 11

GroovyChick says...

Maggie Would wrote:
Hmmm. I did wonder the last time I was in there - it only had about 30% of the usual stock, very little stuff to sort of 'scavenge' through. It was very tidy!
It's a great shame nonetheless. Also, I used to **** over the lovely antique oak tables in the back but couldn't afford any of them.
Oh this made me laugh! Why would WN not print ****, it looks worse now, but still made my chuckle, especially Maggies comment.
[quote][p][bold]Maggie Would[/bold] wrote: Hmmm. I did wonder the last time I was in there - it only had about 30% of the usual stock, very little stuff to sort of 'scavenge' through. It was very tidy! It's a great shame nonetheless. Also, I used to **** over the lovely antique oak tables in the back but couldn't afford any of them.[/p][/quote]Oh this made me laugh! Why would WN not print ****, it looks worse now, but still made my chuckle, especially Maggies comment. GroovyChick
  • Score: 0

3:48pm Fri 8 Jul 11

GroovyChick says...

oh, they didn't print it on my comment either
oh, they didn't print it on my comment either GroovyChick
  • Score: 0

5:43pm Fri 8 Jul 11

martduke says...

i,m only 47 and its a big part of the city heritage.smashing place to take young kids.not!!!!
i,m only 47 and its a big part of the city heritage.smashing place to take young kids.not!!!! martduke
  • Score: 0

10:04am Sat 9 Jul 11

Jabbadad says...

The Pratleys were an important part of the old Worcester City centre, particularly the Shambles of the old dynasty of market / shop keepers. There were absolute characters such as Fishy (Bill) Thompson great friends with the Pratleys, Betty & Don Hale, the many butchers, Sid Smith, (whose grandson still has a lovely butchers stall in the Market Hall), two shops called Andrews who like several other butchers had a slaughter house at the rear of the premises, Edgar Smith & son Bill, the list and tales could go on and on.
Thank you to all who gave our city this rich history, very well reported by Mike Grundy in All Our Yesterdays.
The Pratleys were an important part of the old Worcester City centre, particularly the Shambles of the old dynasty of market / shop keepers. There were absolute characters such as Fishy (Bill) Thompson great friends with the Pratleys, Betty & Don Hale, the many butchers, Sid Smith, (whose grandson still has a lovely butchers stall in the Market Hall), two shops called Andrews who like several other butchers had a slaughter house at the rear of the premises, Edgar Smith & son Bill, the list and tales could go on and on. Thank you to all who gave our city this rich history, very well reported by Mike Grundy in All Our Yesterdays. Jabbadad
  • Score: 0

6:58pm Sat 9 Jul 11

Amber2011 says...

this is a shame.... another piece of Worcester's history down the drain.... what is left in Worcester apart from empty shops and shops you find in all towns. there is hardly anything to bring people to the town any more :(
this is a shame.... another piece of Worcester's history down the drain.... what is left in Worcester apart from empty shops and shops you find in all towns. there is hardly anything to bring people to the town any more :( Amber2011
  • Score: 0

7:54pm Sat 9 Jul 11

New Kid on the Block says...

What do people expect to happen when large chain stores keep opening?
Stores such as Tesco, Homebase, Next, Dunelm Mill etc are all taking trade from shops such as Pratleys.
Go to your kitchens and look at where you bought your crockery. Most of you will have bought it from a large chain store. That is the reason for the demise of the independent supplier.
The new development in Lowesmoor could well result in more closures in the high street. Just like the new Sainsbury store in St Johns is trying to take the trade away from the other shops in the area.
What do people expect to happen when large chain stores keep opening? Stores such as Tesco, Homebase, Next, Dunelm Mill etc are all taking trade from shops such as Pratleys. Go to your kitchens and look at where you bought your crockery. Most of you will have bought it from a large chain store. That is the reason for the demise of the independent supplier. The new development in Lowesmoor could well result in more closures in the high street. Just like the new Sainsbury store in St Johns is trying to take the trade away from the other shops in the area. New Kid on the Block
  • Score: 0

8:58pm Sat 9 Jul 11

CJH says...

"Just like the new Sainsbury store in St Johns is trying to take the trade away from the other shops in the area"
.
They are a business, not a charity. What do you expect them to do? You are naive if you think otherwise. We are not in Edwardian Britain, it's 2011.
"Just like the new Sainsbury store in St Johns is trying to take the trade away from the other shops in the area" . They are a business, not a charity. What do you expect them to do? You are naive if you think otherwise. We are not in Edwardian Britain, it's 2011. CJH
  • Score: 0

10:05pm Sat 9 Jul 11

New Kid on the Block says...

That is my exact point. These shops open with the promise of creating jobs when in fact all they do is to take them away from somewhere else.
People will only buy a certain number of tins of beans. What they buy from the supermarket they don't buy elsewhere.
But supermarkets sell more goods per member of staff (hence the self serve tills) so they actually reduce employment, resulting in an increased welfare bill. This bill is paid from our taxes. So do supermarkets actually save you any money in the long term?
That is my exact point. These shops open with the promise of creating jobs when in fact all they do is to take them away from somewhere else. People will only buy a certain number of tins of beans. What they buy from the supermarket they don't buy elsewhere. But supermarkets sell more goods per member of staff (hence the self serve tills) so they actually reduce employment, resulting in an increased welfare bill. This bill is paid from our taxes. So do supermarkets actually save you any money in the long term? New Kid on the Block
  • Score: 0

10:23pm Sat 9 Jul 11

Jabbadad says...

As a supermarket customer for some things, I have to hang my head in shame, particularly as a supermarket was responsible for taking our business as butchers away and finally closing us down.
Also I am aware that Sainsbury and I am sure other supermarkets are not providing the self service tills for the customers sake but all about profits their profits.
I do refuse to use the self service since I saw this as a threat to staff jobs, and I am right, since I am aware that with Sainsbury Blackpole the two self service lines resulted in 200 staff hours being cut and less full time and more part time staff.
So think about the jobs, don't use those self service tills.
As a supermarket customer for some things, I have to hang my head in shame, particularly as a supermarket was responsible for taking our business as butchers away and finally closing us down. Also I am aware that Sainsbury and I am sure other supermarkets are not providing the self service tills for the customers sake but all about profits their profits. I do refuse to use the self service since I saw this as a threat to staff jobs, and I am right, since I am aware that with Sainsbury Blackpole the two self service lines resulted in 200 staff hours being cut and less full time and more part time staff. So think about the jobs, don't use those self service tills. Jabbadad
  • Score: 0

10:44pm Sat 9 Jul 11

Maggie Would says...

I don't use self service tills.
Supermarkets are the spawn of the devil.
However, regarding Sainsburys St Johns, it does yellow Babybels so it can stay.
For now. Come the revolution .......
I don't use self service tills. Supermarkets are the spawn of the devil. However, regarding Sainsburys St Johns, it does yellow Babybels so it can stay. For now. Come the revolution ....... Maggie Would
  • Score: 0

12:17pm Sun 10 Jul 11

Hack says...

Like many, our family and the families of my one-time mother-in-law and her parents, have used Pratley's. Perusing the piled high offers was always a treat. The shop and its marketing never changed, so perhaps that has something to do with a fall-off in sales; after all this is not the first 'recession' in the company's history. One has to query if there is not a need to grade council tax rates in retailers (providing one does not already exist), corner shops and stores like Pratley's that are privately owned, should be treated sympathetically; any shortfall being moved to the chain store groups.
I feel if you ask any of the many thousands of tourists, UK and from around the world, they would see this retailer as I do, an icon. An icon in a scene of mediocrity.
Like many, our family and the families of my one-time mother-in-law and her parents, have used Pratley's. Perusing the piled high offers was always a treat. The shop and its marketing never changed, so perhaps that has something to do with a fall-off in sales; after all this is not the first 'recession' in the company's history. One has to query if there is not a need to grade council tax rates in retailers (providing one does not already exist), corner shops and stores like Pratley's that are privately owned, should be treated sympathetically; any shortfall being moved to the chain store groups. I feel if you ask any of the many thousands of tourists, UK and from around the world, they would see this retailer as I do, an icon. An icon in a scene of mediocrity. Hack
  • Score: 0

3:35pm Sun 10 Jul 11

Tim Woodward says...

Even though the usual doom mongers have commented on this story, I find myself agreeing with the majority of the comments made on this post. The history and charachter of a Town or City can be defined by the longevity of independent businesses. I find it extoradinary that we in Worcester are losing our independent shops in droves. Succumbing to the pressures of unscrupolous Chain stores is a real threat to our high street. Who can we blame but ourselves for shopping in the chain stores en-masse? I aslo like Jabbadad hold my head in shame preferring convenience and interacting with a robot (auto-tills) to save a second or two. A vicous cycle exists.
Regarding the pratley's it may have to do with a story the Worcester News ran a couple of weeks ago, regarding land outlined in his London Road estate to build around a fair number of houses on it, may be they need the cash for that who knows?
Even though the usual doom mongers have commented on this story, I find myself agreeing with the majority of the comments made on this post. The history and charachter of a Town or City can be defined by the longevity of independent businesses. I find it extoradinary that we in Worcester are losing our independent shops in droves. Succumbing to the pressures of unscrupolous Chain stores is a real threat to our high street. Who can we blame but ourselves for shopping in the chain stores en-masse? I aslo like Jabbadad hold my head in shame preferring convenience and interacting with a robot (auto-tills) to save a second or two. A vicous cycle exists. Regarding the pratley's it may have to do with a story the Worcester News ran a couple of weeks ago, regarding land outlined in his London Road estate to build around a fair number of houses on it, may be they need the cash for that who knows? Tim Woodward
  • Score: 0

4:24pm Sun 10 Jul 11

CJH says...

"Succumbing to the pressures of unscrupolous (sic) Chain stores is a real threat to our high street". Why are they unscrupulous? They are businesses. They have shareholders who invest in them. What do you expect them to do?
"Succumbing to the pressures of unscrupolous (sic) Chain stores is a real threat to our high street". Why are they unscrupulous? They are businesses. They have shareholders who invest in them. What do you expect them to do? CJH
  • Score: 0

7:42pm Sun 10 Jul 11

New Kid on the Block says...

CJH wrote:
"Succumbing to the pressures of unscrupolous (sic) Chain stores is a real threat to our high street". Why are they unscrupulous? They are businesses. They have shareholders who invest in them. What do you expect them to do?
I would expect them to trade in a fair and ethical manner. There is plenty of evidence that this is not the case.
http://news.bbc.co.u
k/1/hi/business/8311
930.stm
Or http://www.tescopoly
.org/index.php?optio
n=com_content&task=v
iew&id=940&Itemid=97

Or perhaps http://business.time
sonline.co.uk/tol/bu
siness/industry_sect
ors/retailing/articl
e2602501.ece
Or maybe http://www.foe.co.uk
/resource/briefings/
the_tesco_takeover.p
df
Just a few of the many articles very critical about Supermarket trading methods that can very easily be found if you care to look.
Watch the video, read the articles and have a think. Do you really approve of firms that indulge in these bully-boy tactics?
[quote][p][bold]CJH[/bold] wrote: "Succumbing to the pressures of unscrupolous (sic) Chain stores is a real threat to our high street". Why are they unscrupulous? They are businesses. They have shareholders who invest in them. What do you expect them to do?[/p][/quote]I would expect them to trade in a fair and ethical manner. There is plenty of evidence that this is not the case. http://news.bbc.co.u k/1/hi/business/8311 930.stm Or http://www.tescopoly .org/index.php?optio n=com_content&task=v iew&id=940&Itemid=97 Or perhaps http://business.time sonline.co.uk/tol/bu siness/industry_sect ors/retailing/articl e2602501.ece Or maybe http://www.foe.co.uk /resource/briefings/ the_tesco_takeover.p df Just a few of the many articles very critical about Supermarket trading methods that can very easily be found if you care to look. Watch the video, read the articles and have a think. Do you really approve of firms that indulge in these bully-boy tactics? New Kid on the Block
  • Score: 0

8:07pm Sun 10 Jul 11

WorcsBorn&Bred says...

Tim Woodward wrote:
Even though the usual doom mongers have commented on this story, I find myself agreeing with the majority of the comments made on this post. The history and charachter of a Town or City can be defined by the longevity of independent businesses. I find it extoradinary that we in Worcester are losing our independent shops in droves. Succumbing to the pressures of unscrupolous Chain stores is a real threat to our high street. Who can we blame but ourselves for shopping in the chain stores en-masse? I aslo like Jabbadad hold my head in shame preferring convenience and interacting with a robot (auto-tills) to save a second or two. A vicous cycle exists.
Regarding the pratley's it may have to do with a story the Worcester News ran a couple of weeks ago, regarding land outlined in his London Road estate to build around a fair number of houses on it, may be they need the cash for that who knows?
Hi Tim. Been looking for the link as regards the development of the Pratley estate off London Road. Do you have it? I've seen the site on the South Worcestershire Development Plan and have heard it's for some 22 homes. They also own land that holds an almost derelict garage on Victoria Avenue. Talk has always been that the land there has never been built on as this would provide the access to any redevelopment. I can see why readers are getting very sentimental about a shop that sold large quantities of best seconds china - I just hope they're equally sentimental about changes to an important wildlife area and green lung in the centre of the city - especially if any money that comes from the sale of shop goes toward the redevelopment.
[quote][p][bold]Tim Woodward[/bold] wrote: Even though the usual doom mongers have commented on this story, I find myself agreeing with the majority of the comments made on this post. The history and charachter of a Town or City can be defined by the longevity of independent businesses. I find it extoradinary that we in Worcester are losing our independent shops in droves. Succumbing to the pressures of unscrupolous Chain stores is a real threat to our high street. Who can we blame but ourselves for shopping in the chain stores en-masse? I aslo like Jabbadad hold my head in shame preferring convenience and interacting with a robot (auto-tills) to save a second or two. A vicous cycle exists. Regarding the pratley's it may have to do with a story the Worcester News ran a couple of weeks ago, regarding land outlined in his London Road estate to build around a fair number of houses on it, may be they need the cash for that who knows?[/p][/quote]Hi Tim. Been looking for the link as regards the development of the Pratley estate off London Road. Do you have it? I've seen the site on the South Worcestershire Development Plan and have heard it's for some 22 homes. They also own land that holds an almost derelict garage on Victoria Avenue. Talk has always been that the land there has never been built on as this would provide the access to any redevelopment. I can see why readers are getting very sentimental about a shop that sold large quantities of best seconds china - I just hope they're equally sentimental about changes to an important wildlife area and green lung in the centre of the city - especially if any money that comes from the sale of shop goes toward the redevelopment. WorcsBorn&Bred
  • Score: 0

9:16pm Sun 10 Jul 11

gemma6 says...

WorcsBorn&Bred wrote:
Tim Woodward wrote: Even though the usual doom mongers have commented on this story, I find myself agreeing with the majority of the comments made on this post. The history and charachter of a Town or City can be defined by the longevity of independent businesses. I find it extoradinary that we in Worcester are losing our independent shops in droves. Succumbing to the pressures of unscrupolous Chain stores is a real threat to our high street. Who can we blame but ourselves for shopping in the chain stores en-masse? I aslo like Jabbadad hold my head in shame preferring convenience and interacting with a robot (auto-tills) to save a second or two. A vicous cycle exists. Regarding the pratley's it may have to do with a story the Worcester News ran a couple of weeks ago, regarding land outlined in his London Road estate to build around a fair number of houses on it, may be they need the cash for that who knows?
Hi Tim. Been looking for the link as regards the development of the Pratley estate off London Road. Do you have it? I've seen the site on the South Worcestershire Development Plan and have heard it's for some 22 homes. They also own land that holds an almost derelict garage on Victoria Avenue. Talk has always been that the land there has never been built on as this would provide the access to any redevelopment. I can see why readers are getting very sentimental about a shop that sold large quantities of best seconds china - I just hope they're equally sentimental about changes to an important wildlife area and green lung in the centre of the city - especially if any money that comes from the sale of shop goes toward the redevelopment.
I would also be interested to see the link. I was told (by someone who lived in the Avenue) that the trees are hundreds of years old and have a protection order on them.
[quote][p][bold]WorcsBorn&Bred[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Tim Woodward[/bold] wrote: Even though the usual doom mongers have commented on this story, I find myself agreeing with the majority of the comments made on this post. The history and charachter of a Town or City can be defined by the longevity of independent businesses. I find it extoradinary that we in Worcester are losing our independent shops in droves. Succumbing to the pressures of unscrupolous Chain stores is a real threat to our high street. Who can we blame but ourselves for shopping in the chain stores en-masse? I aslo like Jabbadad hold my head in shame preferring convenience and interacting with a robot (auto-tills) to save a second or two. A vicous cycle exists. Regarding the pratley's it may have to do with a story the Worcester News ran a couple of weeks ago, regarding land outlined in his London Road estate to build around a fair number of houses on it, may be they need the cash for that who knows?[/p][/quote]Hi Tim. Been looking for the link as regards the development of the Pratley estate off London Road. Do you have it? I've seen the site on the South Worcestershire Development Plan and have heard it's for some 22 homes. They also own land that holds an almost derelict garage on Victoria Avenue. Talk has always been that the land there has never been built on as this would provide the access to any redevelopment. I can see why readers are getting very sentimental about a shop that sold large quantities of best seconds china - I just hope they're equally sentimental about changes to an important wildlife area and green lung in the centre of the city - especially if any money that comes from the sale of shop goes toward the redevelopment.[/p][/quote]I would also be interested to see the link. I was told (by someone who lived in the Avenue) that the trees are hundreds of years old and have a protection order on them. gemma6
  • Score: 0

10:49pm Thu 14 Jul 11

Tim Woodward says...

apologies i have been away for a bit, i will try dig it out and get back to you. it may be a co incidence but i don't believe in them i will keep you posted
apologies i have been away for a bit, i will try dig it out and get back to you. it may be a co incidence but i don't believe in them i will keep you posted Tim Woodward
  • Score: 0

8:19pm Thu 5 Jul 12

RowingEm says...

Apparently the shop is going to be a new Entertainer ! :*(
I am 16 and i love that shop..... will be sad to see it go ...its a part of Worcester's history ....... it seem that Worcester is becoming to modernised to encourage more visitors, but in a way it seems that Worcester is now loosing more local people because of the change in shops ..... :*(
Apparently the shop is going to be a new Entertainer ! :*( I am 16 and i love that shop..... will be sad to see it go ...its a part of Worcester's history ....... it seem that Worcester is becoming to modernised to encourage more visitors, but in a way it seems that Worcester is now loosing more local people because of the change in shops ..... :*( RowingEm
  • Score: 0
Post a comment

Remember you are personally responsible for what you post on this site and must abide by our site terms. Do not post anything that is false, abusive or malicious. If you wish to complain, please use the ‘report this post’ link.

Send us your news, pictures and videos

Most read stories

Local Info

Enter your postcode, town or place name

About cookies

We want you to enjoy your visit to our website. That's why we use cookies to enhance your experience. By staying on our website you agree to our use of cookies. Find out more about the cookies we use.

I agree