Many chain stores that were staples of our high streets across England have disappeared in recent years. Shops like Home and Colonial, the International Stores and Woolworths have gone. However Boots the Chemist is one firm that has soldiered on.

Boots was founded in Nottingham in 1849 and has retained its original name. Before 1935, the town had two independent chemist’s shops at no 8 Market Place and No 2 Church Street respectively. In the latter half of the 20th century, the first of these was owned by Stan Sales, and then by Roger Shaw. Afterwards it became a branch of Boots. Amongst the owners of the Church Street shop were C.E. Griffiths and later Geoff Holloway.

Boots opened a branch shop in Romsey in 1935 in Ashley Terrace, Church Street. At some time Timothy Whites, another pharmacy chain, established a branch at 1 The Hundred.

After Bradbeers moved from their temporary home in 14 Market Place to Bell Street in 1947, Boots took over the shop and established themselves in the Market Place. For a number of years the pharmacist and manager was Leonard Saint, Romsey Borough’s last mayor.

In the early 1980s Boots merged with Timothy Whites and Taylors, which is remembered locally for its useful range of household goods. For a while both shops were occupied and continued much as before so far as the customers were concerned.

In due course, Timothy Whites’ shop, the larger of the two, was closed and refurbished. The combined business was transferred wholly to that premises, and Boots left the Market Place. Their shop was taken over by Abbey National – another name that has gone – and later Santander. It is now occupied by a café.

Late in the 20th century Super Drug moved into the shop opposite Boots. In earlier years this building had been Footner’s Bank, and for many year it was Purchase’s Grocers. Its doorway at the side is perched above the stream that runs under The Hundred to the bus station.

The doctors’ surgeries have pharmacies, but these do not dispense to the general public, nor sell the range of goods found in the retail shops. Finally Lloyds Pharmacy is to be found at 123 The Hundred, which building started life as a Primitive Methodist Chapel in the 1840s.