Longest-standing Harpenden shop celebrating 100th birthday
PUBLISHED: 16:00 28 November 2018
Harpenden’s longest standing shop is celebrating it’s 100th birthday this December.
Thorns has been trading since 1918, when it was opened by newly demobbed World War One soldier Frank Thorn.
In the 1940s Frank was still selling sweets, gifts, tobacco, and sundries from the shop on High Street while living on Crabtree Lane with his wife Alice “Doll” Child.
From then it was passed down through the generations, first to Alice’s younger sister Jess and then to Jess’ nephew Brian Child - who many customers still remember.
Brian and his wife Dawn ran the store until 1984, when they moved to Wales and sold it to a Mr MD Patel.
It was then bought in 1999 by Colin and Yvonne Moxley, the husband and wife team who also owned neighbouring Perry Florist.
Colin had sold Good News in Luton Road - now Tescos - to buy the shop, and promptly redecorated in the Victorian style which can be seen today.
In 2015 he was tragically killed in an accident at 67-years-old, and since then Yvonne and their son Glenn have run the popular store.
Yvonne said: “One hundred years is something special, there’s no other shop in Harpenden that has lasted this long and now there aren’t many sweet shops in a large area and there aren’t many shops that sell the range of cigars and loose tobacco, without all the additives, that we do.”
She puts the shop’s appeal down to its historic decoration: “So many people say ‘Can we come and just have a look’ because it takes people back to their childhood, which is lovely.
“It’s a great feeling - all the children say this is their favourite shop and there is great excitement when they come in.”
Although it is not clear when exactly Frank opened the premises, records show it was in 1918 after Armistice Day on November 11.
Yvonne and Glenn are starting centenary celebrations from December 10. They will be handing out free helium balloons and cake decorated with sweets.
There will also be an art competition with a jar of sweets prize for the winner.
Entries, of a picture or painting of Glenn, must be submitted to the shop by December 31.