Kelly’s Directory for Herefordshire for 1913 provides a snapshot of the town on the eve of the war.  It was a place of some importance for the locality, being head of a county court district, and petty sessions division and, of course, with its railway connections to Leominster, to link to Shrewsbury and Hereford and via Eardisley, to Hay and Brecon as well as to Hereford.   The town is described as consisting of “four well-built streets, with many modern houses of stone and brick and is lighted with gas by the Kington Gas Company Limited….; the water supply being derived from a picturesque glen a short distance from the town….”

Kington was divided into Urban and Rural civil parishes, with the Urban parish having an Urban District Council, with quite considerable powers under local government legislation.  Market day was a Tuesday, with cattle markets held on the first Tuesday in each month.  Of the regular weekly Tuesday market, it was noted that “great business being transacted on that day in eggs, butter and poultry.”   Thursday was the early closing day for the local shops and business – of which there was a very wide range.

Kington was the market town and supplier of the necessities (and luxuries) of life for a wide area.   The distance from other towns, to be measured by horse and cart, not solely by railway, meant that the town would have been to a large extent self-sufficient.  The range of businesses catering for the needs of the town is shown by the following lists of the businesses in the main streets of Kington:


  • Mr Abbott, seedsman and greengrocer, 6 High Street
  • Bore and Son, bakers and confectioners, 9 High Street
  • Badleys, clothiers, 41 High Street
  • Joseph Burton and Sons, grocers, 27 and 28 High Street
  • Mr Caunt, chemist and druggist, seedsman, tobacconist, mineral water and sheep dip manufacturer, 42 High Street
  • Mr Clarke, Wine and spirit merchant, 37 High Street
  • Mr Coleman, watchmaker, 45 High Street
  • Crofts and son, boot and shoe makers, 15 High Street
  • Mr Dowling, ironmonger, 32 High Street
  • Mr Everall, ironmonger, 18 High Street
  • Mr Geaussent, butcher, 16 High Street
  • Mr Harbour, fishmonger, poultry, game and rabbit dealer, fruiterer and greengrocer, and china, glass and earthenware dealer 49 and 50 High Street
  • Hughes and Sons, saddlers and harness makers, 39 High Street
  • Mr Hussey (Albert), baker, 29 High Street
  • India and China Tea Company, grocers, High Street
  • Mr Lewis, baker and grocer, 5 High Street
  • James Meredith and Co, ironmonger, house furnishers, drapers, hardware dealers (and also insurance agents), 4 High Street
  • Mitchell and sons, drapers, 10 and 11 High Street
  • Mitchell and Son, saddlers, 46 High Street
  • Mr Morris, ladies and gents tailor, hosier and glover, hatter and outfitter, 48 High Street
  • Mr Oliver, butcher, 47 High Street
  • Mr Padmore, fruiterer and greengrocer, 14 High Street
  • Parker, son and co drapers, milliners, costumiers, hosiers and glovers, hatters, outfitters, and hearse and mourning coach proprietors, 38 High Street
  • Mrs Payne, draper, 53 High Street
  • Mr Roper, dispensing and photographic chemist, tobacconist and seeds man,  7 High Street
  • Miss Roper, fancy depository, 8 High Street
  • Ross and son, boot makers, 23 and 24 High Street
  • Mrs Stephens, stationer, 17 High Street
  • Mr Stephens, grocer, 22 High Street
  • Mr Stevenson, bookseller, stationer, printer, circulating library, new agent, fancy good dealer, bookbinder, 20 High Street
  • Mr Thomas, butcher, 52 High Street
  • Mrs Thompson, stationer, 51 High Street
  • Mrs West, milliner, 34 High Street
  • Mr Yates, photographer, 13 High Street



  • Mrs Abberley, fruiterer, 6 Church Street
  • Mr Baker, tailor, 9 Church Street
  • Mr Bellion, watch maker, 10 Church Street
  • Mr Boulter, boot and shoe maker, 7 Church Street
  • Mrs Briggs, watch maker, 2 Church Street
  • Mr Evans, general draper, milliner, costumier, dress maker, hosier and hearse and mourning coach proprietor, 12 Church Street
  • Mr Hart, grocer, 39 Church Street
  • Mr Howells, coal, lime, salt and chemical manure merchant and agricultural implement agent, 19 Church Street
  • Mr Hussey (John), baker and confectioner, 3 Church Street
  • Mr James and Sons, boot makers, 1 Church Street
  • Mrs Jolly, confectioner, 11 Church Street
  • Mr Phillips, grocer, 4 and 5 Church Street
  • Miss Reading, china and glass dealer, 36 Church Street



  • Mr Bannister, cabinet maker, at 47 Duke Street
  • Mr Bayliss, confectioner, at 7 Duke Street
  • Mr Edwards, hairdresser, 2 Duke Street
  • Miss Hartwell, dress maker, 25 Duke Street
  • Mr Holloway, tailor, 44 Duke Street


  • Mr Cook, boot maker, 55 Bridge Street
  • Mr Edwards, dairyman, 34 Bridge Street
  • Mr Griffiths, tailor, 25 and 26 Bridge Street
  • Mr Griffiths, shopkeeper, 38 Bridge Street – of what it is not mentioned!
  • Mr Hamlet, confectioner, 62 Bridge Street
  • Mr Harris, fishmonger, 5 Bridge Street (He was also the Town Crier)
  • Mr Jones, grocer, 57 Bridge Street
  • Mr Newbould, boot maker, 15 Bridge Street
  • Mr Powell, hairdresser, 3 Bridge Street
  • Mr Shuter, boot maker, 58 Bridge Street
  • Mr Smith, butcher, 7 Bridge Street
  • Mrs Thomas, dress maker, 37 Bridge Street
  • Mr Warner, fishmonger 45 Bridge Street


Mr Knowles, Printer, Mill Street

Other commercial undertakings included:

Deacon Brothers, builders, contractors, undertakers, house decorators and building material dealers, Victoria Road; The Old Radnor Trading Company Ltd, which owned and ran the quarry – the manager was Walter D. Chambers; Passey, Nott and Co, maltsters and seed merchants, on the Square; J & P Turner, millers, at Arrow Lodge, the Meredith Foundary –

as well as numerous smiths, coach builders, plumbers, house painters, masons,  public houses and refreshment rooms (including a Temperance Hotel).

The Old Radnor Trading Company, with its offices in Kington, was noted a carrying on “an extensive trade”, with “the works of the company at Dolyhir …furnished with the most improved machinery for drilling and crushing the limestone and macadam stone”.  The ORTC Roll of Honour exists, and carries the names of all those who served, as well as those who died, who worked for the company.

Many of these commercial businesses and undertakings supplied men and women for service during the war, as did the farms around Kington.  The names of the shopkeepers, and of the professions that also served Kington, are represented on the War Memorial and in the rolls of honour of serving men of Lady Hawkins School, and the Old Radnor Trading Company, as well as noted in the pages of the Kington Times for 1914 – 18.

The Kington Times newspaper, published weekly and including news from across Herefordshire would have been the main source of news.  Its pages included national news as well as local.  The railway would, however, have brought the London newspapers to Kington.  It also brought the post – letters arrived first at 6.20 a.m. to be delivered at 7.30 a.m.  The next post, for delivery at 11.00 a.m. was that from Hereford and the West of England and there was a third arrival of post at 1.50 p.m. but this was not delivered – it was available to callers only.   On Sundays, letters were delivered at 8.00 a.m. and there was also a Sunday dispatch of post at 6.50 p.m.  The frequency and regularity of the postal service would be an important feature during the war, keeping those away serving in touch with their families.  The Kington Times during the war years also noted letters received with news of Kington men themselves, and often of other Kingtonians they had news of.

Kelly’s directory does not list all of the inns and public houses in 1913, but there were many.  Sons from the Railway Inn (The Tavern), the Lamb, the Sun, the Swan and the Burton Hotel have already been identified as serving in the armed forces.

Kington also had a cottage hospital, erected in 1887 – at a cost of about £1,200 – which had 9 beds and treated 49 patients in 1911.  There was also an isolation hospital at Kingswood, which was turned into a Red Cross hospital during the war.  For more information on this, please see the piece on this web site on Kington’s Nursing Heroes, written by students at Lady Hawkins’ School.

The total population of area, including Kington rural and Huntington in 1911 was 2,651, of which 1,819 residents were in the urban district council area.