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W. P. Orrell, M.P.S.

Research and article by Richard Hall, 2017

William Pilling Orell was born in Preston in 1873 and in the 1891 census, aged 18, he is shown as living with his parents and siblings at 155 Waterloo Road, Preston and his occupation is “pharmaceutical student”.

His father was John Orell, a cotton waste merchant and his mother Annie, nee Sowerbutts. His eldest brother was cashier at a biscuit works and his other brother a bookkeeper at a Waste Warehouse. (His father’s?)

By the time he was 28 in 1901 he is shown in the census of that year as having a Chemist & Druggist business in Stockport, Cheshire.

In 1911 he is shown as living at 72 Chatham St. Stockport with his wife Annie and 7 year old daughter Muriel, and is evidently the owner of a pharmacy as he is described as a pharmacist and an employer.

He appears to have moved to Rushden to succeed Walter Maudling at 9 - 11 High Street sometime between 1911 and 1912 as he has an advertisement in the programme for the St. Peter’s Bazaar of October 1912 for his Dental Rooms and pharmacy at 9 - 11 High Street as the successor to Maudling. In the 1914 Electoral Register he is shown at 11 High Street but his abode is given as 89 Newton Road at which address he is also shown in the 1924 Kelly Directory and the 1925 Electoral Register.

In the Echo for 23rd November 1917 we are told that Bertram Allen, of 3 Newton Road, has moved his practice to Mr Orrell’s and will attend on Tuesdays and Saturdays. Following this the business was then advertised as Orwell & Allen Dental Surgery at 9 - 11 High Street and the chemist wasn’t mentioned although it evidently continued to function. Sometime between 1926 and 1928 the pharmacy passed from Mr Orrell to George Edward Victor Fleeman (Vic) who must have discontinued the dental practice and concentrated on the pharmacy as I can find no mention of a dentist after 1926.

1920 advert from the Rushden Echo

W P Orrell, M.P.S., traded as

The Rushden Pharmacy.


He offered 'personal attention, accurate dispensing and
high-class toilet requistes'.

He also sold photographic goods.

The shop was opposite the Parish Church
of St Mary, and was part of
Peter Crips's department store
but it is now up for sale. (2010)

9 & 11 High Street

W P Orell
Rushden Echo 16th August 1912

Know with whom you Deal.

Rushden Pharmacy

9 & 11
High Street
(opposite the Church)

W P Orrell, M.P.S.

The Rushden Echo, 20th August, 1915, transcribed by Gill Hollis

Dental Operator - In The Mediterranean Expeditionary Force
Pte. R. Mawson, 2308, A Section, 1/2nd Welsh Field Artillery, R.A.M.C., who joined whilst the detachment were in Rushden, now with the Expeditionary Force, was formerly dental assistant to Mr. W. P. Orrell, of Rushden. In a letter to a fellow assistant (Mr. H. M. Johnson) he says:-
............... See Soldiers' Notes 1915 part 2

Rushden Echo, 1st February 1918, transcribed by Kay Collins

Pte. H. M. Johnson, Northants Regt., signalling section (formerly with Mr. W. P. Orrell, chemist) came out top in the signalling examination, and gained a flag.

Rushden Echo, 1st November 1918, transcribed by Kay Collins

Mr W P Orrell, chemist, Rushden, has received a letter from his former assistant, Trooper J L Shoesmith, of the Hussars... See Soldiers' Notes 1918

Rushden Echo, 25th December 1925, transcribed by Kay Collins

A Handsome Clock had been presented to Mr. W. P. Orrell, of Rushden, by Messrs. De Witt, proprietors of Man-Zan and other specifics, being the prize awarded in Messrs. De Witt’s national window display. The dressing of the window was the work of Miss Olive Mayhew, one of the assistants, and the prize was the highest to come to Northamptonshire.

Rushden Echo, 23rd March 1900
1900 advert
This advert tells us that
Mr M H Griffith
had taken over from
Mr W Wilkerson in 1900,
in the same premises.

Wallace Wilkerson had traded throughout the 1890s.
Matthew Griffith took over in 1900 but seems to have stayed for just a few years.

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