In these days of mass-markets and mega-stores, shops that boast character with varied stock feel hard to come by. Those so-called “Aladdin’s Cave’s”, passed down through generations, are in-fact thriving in the North Yorkshire market towns of Leyburn & Bedale. Wray Bros, of Leyburn, still has flagstone flooring while House & Home in Bedale has recently undergone restoration work, putting the look of the store back to its times as the Town Hall.
It all started in the late 19th Century at a sweet shop in Masham, North Yorkshire, owned by Master-Tailor William Leathley and his wife, Mary. Following retirement during the First World War, the shop was taken over by Mrs Annie Agnes Leathley; her husband George Harold set about expanding the business through attending local markets and shows with new lines of ice cream, sweets and biscuits.
Come 1956 their son, Reg, moved his family further into Wensleydale and established a business of travelling shops all over the Dales, and in 1971 opened a small shop in Leyburn. Their son, Ian, moved to a larger establishment in 1978, becoming the first self-service store in the town and eventually growing to 20 supermarkets.
A second hardware shop was opened in Bedale in 2003, and a year later all 20 supermarkets were sold to one of the country’s leading retailers. Both hardware shops have flourished since opening and the business is now well into its fifth generation of the Leathley family. House and Home has since expanded and now has 2 shops in Leyburn, North Yorkshire.