This is a slightly abridged version of an editorial which was published in the County Echo on the 25th December 1902 – 120 years ago this year.
After enjoying this vivid picture of Fishguard in 1902 you might find interesting a similar description but one which relates to Fishguard in 1893 and tells of life 9 years earlier. Christmas in Fishguard 1893
Christmas Good Cheer
We wish all our readers, at home and abroad, A Merry Christmas.” That is orthodox enough. Be merry, certainly, but with moderation amounting to wisdom. At this season of the year there is much one might dilate upon outside the anticipated festivities and the preparations that are in hand for welcoming home those who are in business in other parts of the country, but feasting is the theme and we must tell our readers all about it.
When one comes to think of the distance Fishguard is from the large wholesale markets we wonder how our tradespeople manage to fill their shops with all the choice things so temptingly displayed therein.
Who knows more about the quality and price of groceries than the careful housewife where a certain article may be purchased for a halfpenny less per pound. She will enter, perhaps, the brightly illumed premises of Mr W. D. Griffiths, known as the Castle Stores, on the Square. Here there is an endless variety of articles that enter into the compound of the British plum-pudding, yea, positively everything in human dietary the most fastidious could wish for, and equal to any of the largest London warehouses. To mention them would serve no useful purpose because they are there all the same and in rich profusion.
A few yards through the Square are the Fishguard Supply Stores, of Mr Cuthbert Thomas, who not only caters for the gastronomy of mankind but from a bucket to a bedstead, or a blacking box to a bookcase, a newly-wedded pair might need to furnish completely at the Supply Stores, and have a few extra special articles added for receiving friends so varied is the stock. Then up Hottipass there is Miss Wilcox, who has taken over the business of Mr Dd. Evans, and she has not only replenished the shop with new goods, but has added stationary.
Fishguard is fortunate in possessing a fruiterer’s shop, situated in Main-street. Here Miss A. A. Jenkins keeps a variety of fruits that are charming to behold as well as to the palate. Nothing is so beautiful on a table richly spread as choice fruits. These go to add good cheer at Christmas, and promote health by neutralising the effects of a too generous diet of solids. Nuts to be consumed with the wine are to be had at the fruiterers, from many climes, and this is one of the splendid advantages of a good fruit shop.
In the matter of raimant, Mr Wm James’s Shop-y-Bobl (“shop of the people,” for the benefit of ye English) provideth for the shorn lamb to a luxurious degree, and insists on the human form divine being draped in comely and comfortable garments, and guarantees as great a variety of draperies as are to be found in South Wales. Mr James comes in again and at his shop on the Square male attire is to be had at prices to suit all. In trade, as in other matters of everyday life there is nothing like competition, so that Messrs Thomas and Davies, at Railway House, are worthy of patronage. Their buyers have returned from London with all the latest novelties that delight the ladies in the make up of their “fearful and wonderful” toilets. The sterner half of humanity is also provided, for at this establishment pertaining to the wardrobe. man is quite as particular as his sisters. At Paris House, in West-street, the proprietor, Mr Francis Davies, has a replete stock of ladies and gentlemen’s wear. An enlargement of his premises was found necessary to meet with the growing trade and keep pace with the fashions of the times. Verily, the town is blessed with providers, and it is no wonder one hears the oft repeated remark that Fishguardians are well-dressed when four shops such as those mentioned are for ever seeking for the very latest styles in all that go to adorn human kind.
Without the good roast beef and succulent legs of mutton the feast would never be complete. Credit must go to the butchers, who spare neither time, trouble, nor money to procure the very choicest specimens of prime cattle and sheep. A glance round their richly hung shops simply make one’s mouth water. Whether you call at Messrs Richards Bros. or Mrs and T. H. Narbett’s or at Mr J. Evans, there is no deciding which is best, for they are all alike—the primest that money can buy, and most beautifully prepared. Goodwickians are equally fortunate in having Mr D. Bevan’s grand specimens of beef and mutton to choose from.
For the extras in the shape of “nectar,” Messrs Geo Bennett & Co., and Mr Robert Lewis are too well known to require any lengthy notice. They are wine and spirit merchants in the highest sense of the term. Mineral waters are indispensable to Christmas as well as to all other festivities. Mr T. Lewis makes a speciality in temperance wines and cordials of the purest and most wholesome description. Besides, there are other things that come after feasting, such as “pick-me- ups” that arc necessary to restore tone to the system. These Mr Lewis and Mr T. Meyler, Main-street, have ready in the highest quality. Nor must such delightful liquids as perfumes be overlooked for presents, as well as other numerous little dainties in chocolates, all of the finest standard of excellence.
Never were there so many and so complex a variety of mechanical toys in the market as there are this season. Mrs Price Davies’ shop on the Square is a veritable Lowther’s arcade in this respect. Such a galaxy of fancy goods in every conceivable shape and model. Another fancy shop has been added to the number during the year, Mr Peter Williams’ emporium on Castle Hill might appropriately be termed useful and ornamental, antique and modern. We cannot do better than refer intending purchasers to our advertisement columns – the object of these notices.