The corner-building that will house W. Smith’s Chemist and Photographer’s Shop is modeled on one from the corner of Elvet Bridge and New Elvet in Durham.
We chose this building because of its quietly iconic structure and details, which date from the right period. We wanted an earlier building that could give our Edwardian Town Street a greater sense of historical depth – as like any town street is should be made up of old and new structures. The building is also a great shape and size for us to copy and place in the gap we have in our town – but it never actually housed a Chemist or Photographers’!
We’ve done some research using Census returns and other documents into what the building was used for. It turns out that having been built in the 1700s as houses it was then converted into shops in the 19th Century. By the late 1800s and early 1900s it was a pub, called the Wheatsheaf Inn and later the Prince George. It now houses shops and offices, and is a Grade II listed building.
While it wasn’t ever a Chemist or Photographer, the long curved window frontage allows us to display many of the photographic materials and medical supplies in our collections – any early 20th Century Chemist of Photographer would have been extremely pleased to have so much display space!