Millie's Tuck Shop

By Pauline Maryan

Millie's Tuck Shop in 1973
Stevenage Museum P4394

Millie’s Tuck Shop in Church Lane in 1973 at the extreme right of the picture.
This may have been the confectionery shop originally run by Amelia Howard and later by Alice Kefford in the 1930s.

This page was added on 21/02/2011.

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  • My mum worked in millies in the early 70’s, meredith i think was the surname of who owned it at the time, they lived in the old town

    By Debbie (19/03/2018)
  • Peter, the old Police Station was behind the house you describe, across Stanmore Road. Built in Victorian times; there’s a photo in one of my local history books of the notorious twins (local criminals) the Fox twins, helping to build the police station! Now demolished, a doctors’ surgery now stands in its place.

    By Sue Bradford (17/03/2018)
  • Amelia Howard & Alice Kefford

    Amelia Briars ( 1852-1930 ) was one of 9 children born to Thomas Briars (1821-1857) and Amelia Biggs.
    She married Thomas Howard Kefford on the 2nd October 1873 in Stevenage. Thomas was a fish dealer who came from Hitchin, he died in 1884 at the age of 32. They had 2 children Herbert Howard Kefford (1874-1950) and Alice Kefford (1877-1953) neither of them married.

    As a young woman Amelia was an assistant teacher at the National School.

    1891 Amelia was continuing with the fish dealership.

    1901 she was a fish seller and shop keeper, with her son Herbert as assistant.

    1911 she was listed as Confectioner, in Back Lane, and her son was still with her. The last 2 years of her life Amelia had failing health, but had for 39 years also been a stallholder on Hitchin Market. Travelling between Stevenage and Hitchin in a pony and trap. During the war years, she upheld the “ Stevenage Fair Charter ” by having a stall in the high street, selling sweets.

    Alice was, in 1901, a servant to George Pallett, a farmer living in the High street between the Yorkshire Grey & Diamond pubs. She cannot be found in 1911 Census, and it is not known when she started to help out in the shop, but in 1930 when her mother died she carried on the business, until her death in 1953. In her will she left the property to her neighbour and friend Mrs.Florence Bates.

    It seems Alice had a mind of her own, as she also wrote in her will the following;

    “I bequeath the sum of £200 to the Urban District Council of Stevenage, upon trust that the council shall invest the same and apply the income thereof in keeping the councils cemetery at Almonds Hill, Stevenage in good order and repair and I request without imposing any legal obligation on the council that the said Urban District Council will keep in good order and repair the grave and gravestones of my late brother Herbert Kefford (in which grave I also wish to be buried) and will keep the lettering on the stone legible.”

    Alice and Herbert’s grave is still standing in the Almonds Hill cemetery, although not in a very good condition. After her death, an Inventory and Valuation was taken at the property and the following was noted:

    Stock in Trade ( the contents of the shop ):

    13 packets Soda Crystals
    62 Rizla cigarette papers
    5 pounds of candles
    2 toilet rolls
    5 pencils
    8 dozen boxes of matches
    17 packets of cigarettes
    40 Aspro
    48 sweet cigarettes
    19 spearmint gums
    10 Val peppermints
    25 Nipits

    With a total value of £5-5-8p

    After Alice died, Millie Briars, daughter to Joseph, (Alice’s cousin) took over the running of the shop, under the name “Millie’s Tuck Shop”. The shop was upgraded, and the walls were fitted with shelving and large glass jars of sweets lined the walls, as well as a larger selection of cigarettes, and a fridge with ice cream. At Christmas the main window was decorated with bubble lights and a giant Christmas cracker was hung in the window, and sold to the highest bidder. Millie was in the shop until about 1977.

    By Andrew Briars (10/11/2017)
  • Thanks for the new information about Millie’s Tuck Shop, Peter.  Many people seem to have fond memories of it.  Margaret Ashby’s “Book of Stevenage” describes how the Stevenage Fair tradition was maintained during World War II thanks to Alice Kefford’s annual sweet stall in the High Street from 1940 till the end of the war.

    Stevenage Museum has a couple of other photos of the shop in Church Lane, which was known as Back Lane until the end of the 19th century.  Your mum’s memory of the police station is correct, as it was in Stanmore Road between 1916 and 1959.

    By Pauline Maryan (17/12/2015)
  • Hello Pauline…My mother’s Aunt, Florence Bates (nee Filby) lived in ‘Regalwood,’ the property immediately adjoining Millie Kefford’s. (To the right just out of the picture). Would be fascinating to see any more photos or hear anecdotes! Mum seems to remember the police station being just behind Regalwood.

    By Peter Freeman (11/12/2015)