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Fred Hales
later "Hale's Superette"

A young Fred

Fred Hales' shop front

A young Fred selling Flags for the
Blind & Crippled Children's Fund
The shop at 196 Wellingborough Road
Courtesy of Rushden Museum

Fred Hales started out preparing small bundles of firewood that he sold at 2d a bundle to local shop keepers, such as Bert Wells. Then his mother bought him a horse and cart.

He first traded from a shop at the corner of Windmill Road and Welllingborough Road, and then he took over the grocery shop, where Fred Collins had traded, at 196 Wellingborough Road, in 1948. There Fred also became a newsagent.

Fred on his cart with his van
Fred with and horse and cart c1930
and here with a van

c1947 1953
Janet and Susan Hales outside the family's first shop in 1947
Jul 1953 at a Query Club meeting

 The Rushden Echo and Argus, 21st January 1955, transcribed by Jim Hollis
Part of the 'Spotlight on Rushden' series
Freddie near the Rose & Crown
Freddie the businessman still sells his papers

Everybody in Rushden knows Freddie Hales. He stands by the Rose and Crown selling papers, and has sold them for 27 years. But Freddie is no ordinary newspaper seller – he owns an important business.

Each evening he leaves his big modern grocery shop in Wellingborough Road, gets his copies of the “Evening Telegraph” from our office, and meets the crowds going home from the factories.

Between 5 and 6 p.m. he sells personally fifty dozen copies of the “telegraph” – and that takes some doing, especially when you remember that Freddie has only one leg.

He lost his left leg when he was six during an illness that kept him for two years in Northampton General Hospital. But Freddie had something that made up for the loss of his leg. It was business sense.

As soon as he could get about he bought an orange box for a penny, chopped it into firewood, and sold the result for sixpence.

He soon became a schoolboy businessman. He purchased newspaper rounds off other boys who had tired of them, and bought oranges which he sold outside the Co-op factory. Then he started pushing a truck round Rushden, selling bundles of wood and oranges.

Next his mother saved up and bought him a horse and cart, and from then, selling fruit and vegetables and keeping on with his “Evening Telegraph” sales, Freddie never looked back.

In 1938 he motorised his business, buying a van and fitting it with a hand clutch. In 1941, he opened his shop at the corner of Windmill Road, and in 1948 moved into his present premises.

But all the time he kept on with his street sales of evening papers. “I do it because I like it,” he says. “There’s a lot of good-humoured chaff between me and the crowds. If I gave it up I’d miss them and I hope they’d miss me.”

If Mr. Hales cannot go to the Rose and Crown – he has been ill once or twice in 27 years – his wife goes for him.

“These last few weeks have been the worst weather I’ve ever known,” he says. “But I don’t bother. You see I’ve only one foot to get cold.”

His hobby is trials driving with Rushden Query Motor Club.

The business was taken over by Len and Val Ward in 1970, and later by Mr & Mrs Skoyles, and is now [2009] a "One Stop" grocery store.

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