Stephen Butt

Stephen Butt


This blog is about my interests in history and photography. I have always enjoyed discovering something new about the past, and there is always much to discover.

I am always pleased to chat about the subjects covered in my books and to hear about new historical research projects which I may be able to help you with.

I can also present illustrated talks to local history and heritage societies on a variety of subjects, some quite obscure, and I have my own audio-visual equipment.

If you would like to chat about a book, project, visit or idea, in the first instance, please contact me by email here.

Pochin of Leicester

ResearchPosted by Stephen Sat, February 04, 2017 08:01:31
While researching for my book on High Street brands, I discovered that James Kemsey Wilkinson, founder of the Wilko chain, worked briefly for Pochin who were based at the time in Granby Street. Wilkinson opened his own shop in 1930, appaently because he was disappointed that Pochins would not take up some of his suggestions for new products.

By happy co-incidence, I was recently looking through the souvenir programme of the famous Leicester Pageant and found this photograph of Pochins. The Pageant took place in 1932 so this must be very similar to how the store looked when Wilkinson was working there.

Oak trees from acorns

ResearchPosted by Stephen Wed, February 01, 2017 06:42:46
For the next eight months I will be researching the stories of the men and women behind some of the most familiar High Street brands for a book commissioned by Pen and Sword. Remarkably, several of the big names began in Leicestershire, including Halfords, Currys PC World, Next, George and Wilko.

I recently met Tony Wilkinson, former Chairman of Wilkos, and son of the founder of the company. His father was James Kemsey Wilkinson, who opened his first hardware shop in Leicester's Charnwood Street in 1930. Tony gave me this photograph of his father, and told me of his memories of childhood, and later when he joined the family business and became manager of the company's first Leicester store in Charles Street.