Beasley - watchmaker, jewellers and opticians, 6 Fore Street and 46 Holyrood Street.
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The Beasleys were a well-known family of shopkeepers in Chard for almost 100 years.
George Beasley completed an apprenticeship with Thomas Drayton, a local watchmaker, and opened his first business in the 1880s in Holyrood Street. In 1892 he moved away, but in 1900 he returned to Chard, opening a shop at 6 Fore Street. This shop operated as a jewellers and opticians for 64 years.
George’s son Leslie worked alongside his father as a silversmith, jeweller and optician. They built such a reputation in the town that they were responsible for servicing the town clock, St. Mary’s Church clock, the clocks at Cricket House, Hinton House, Forde Abbey and other stately homes. They also dealt with the mechanical repairs of scientific instruments belonging to Colonel Gifford. George Beasley was also responsible for constructing the model of the Town Hall that still remains in the Guildhall.
Leslie met and married Gertrude Barnes, a nanny to a family who had come to Chard from London in World War 2, in 1940. Leslie served in the Navy and the business was ably run by his wife and sister Bertha, while he was serving abroad.
In 1966 Beasley’s moved temporarily to 46, Holyrood Street, when Charringtons took over their premises. Then in 1968 they moved to the larger premises of Mill House, a Georgian property at 19, Holyrood Street. Here the jewellers and opticians continued, together with a fine china, glass and handbags
department, run by Leslie and Gertrude. Celia, their daughter, ran a hairdressers on the premises and the family lived above the shop.
Leslie died in 1981 and Gertrude moved away from the premises but remained in Chard, passing away in 2018 aged 105.
The building is now occupied by the Five Senses Portuguese café and restaurant.