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Portishead High Street

Portishead High StreetPortishead High Street was previously known as Mill Street and Duck Street and the water came up as far as the old mill at the beginning of the High Street. Now a pub, the building was for many years called the White Lion but has recently been renamed The Old Mill.

It is thought the first shop opened in the High Street in the 1860s. Named Wedmore’s, the shop was situated opposite Court House Farm, facing St Peter’s Church. More shops followed, mostly during the Victorian era, with a few more in Edwardian times. The majority of new shops after those times have appeared in existing buildings that have been modernised to accommodate current trends.

Two businesses still in open in Portishead High Street today have been operating for more than 100 years. Many more, like Freemans and Morgan Westley have been running for more than 40 years.


F H Halliday & Son Ltd

Hallidays Historical PhotoF H Halliday and Son is an independent family business owned by Glyn Lawrence and his wife Helen, direct descendants of the Halliday family who established the funeral business over a century ago.

In the early 1800s the Hallidays were a family of carpenters, painters and property maintenance operatives, working from a woodworking shop alongside their home at 115 High Street, Portishead.

In the 1870s they were asked to make a coffin and this is how the funeral business began for them.  Records show that although the property maintenance business continued, by 1880, F H Halliday and Son was carrying out full funeral services, providing horse drawn hearses and horse drawn mourning coaches.

Halliday’s still holds records written in long hand on every funeral dating back to 1880, which are held in archives and are regularly used to look up past funeral arrangements. 

The business was founded by Frederick Halliday and passed to his son William (Bill) and in the late 1950’s his nephew Edward (Eddie) Lawrence joined the business, along with his wife Kitty. Eddie worked in the carpentry workshop and Kitty ran the office and the decorating business. Eddie’s son Glyn joined the company after leaving school at the age of 17.
In 1966 Bill Halliday retired and the company was formed into a Limited Company, owned by the Lawrence family.

Today the company is still owned by the Lawrence family - Glyn Lawrence and his wife Helen. They are joined by directors, Matthew Aldridge, his wife Tracey and their team.
Matthew, Tracey and their children live in the house that sits alongside the High Street business, where the founder Frederick Halliday once lived with his family. The family say they are very proud to be following the company tradition in this way.

Matthew said: “Family tradition is very important to F H Halliday & Son but a small business does not survive this long based on tradition alone. We are very pleased to maintain the quality and high standards of customer care that the business has always held in high esteem. We also love being a part of the Portishead community and supporting local events and activities.”

Tracey added: “Whilst we hold traditional values we also realise the importance of choice and have a modern view about funeral services. We offer a truly personal bespoke service and help to families at what is a difficult time, aiming to make the arranging of a funeral as stress free and easy as possible, taking care of all the arrangements in accordance with their wishes.”


Tudor Garage

Coles GarageThe Coles family has been operating a business in Portishead High Street for more than a century.

Thomas Coles founded a haulage business at 62 High Street in 1895, where the shoe shop SoleLution now is. He ran a daily carrier service to Bristol with his horse and cart.

Thomas was later one of the first people in Portishead to own a car and lorry and after operating vehicles he saw business potential in their repair. Deciding to expand his business to include this facility, he instructed the building of Central Garage, just off the High Street at Cabstand, where Gordano Ford now stands.

After World War Two Thomas’ son George took over and expanded the haulage side of the business, still based at 62 High Street. In 1955 George had Tudor Garage built at its current location of 51 High Street. As the garage was now thriving, George decided to sell the haulage business, ending 60 years of trading at 62 High Street.

Tudor Garage PortisheadGeorge, with his son Brian and brother-in-law Robert Wheeler, continued to run Tudor Garage and when George retired in the early 1960s Brian and Robert took on the running of the business. Tudor Garage was the first garage to carry out MOTs in Portishead. Brian’s nephew Martin Petty joined Tudor in 1972 and in 1980 Brian’s son Vaughn started his apprenticeship.

Today the business is run by Martin, Vaughn and Vaughn’s wife Jane and their office secretary, Janet Tebbutt, has been working at Tudor Garage since 1970.

Martin’s son Jordan has worked for the company and his cousin Pete Atherton is one of the mechanics.
In 2013, after 118 years of the Coles family running a business in Portishead High Street, the next generation joined the family firm when Vaughn and Jane’s son Joe signed up as an apprentice.

Vaughn said:

We are very proud to be one of the oldest family run businesses operating in Portishead. We trade on our reputation and have solid values at our core, just as the business did when it began, however, whilst we are proud of the heritage of our business, we are firmly focussed on the future and offer everything expected of a 21st century garage. We have a clear vision for continuing our long-term success and maintaining our contribution to the local economy. Quality service, high standards and commitment to our customers will always be our priority at Tudor Garage. Portishead is a great town and I can’t think of a better place in which to live and work.