Brooks and Brooks Limited was a very well known Tobacconist, located at 2 Imperial Buildings in Rotherham. I believe it had occupied this unit since the time that Imperial Buildings had opened in 1912.
Thomas Brooks, born circa 1849 in Lincoln, married Rose Alice Lilly in 1872 in Lincoln. Together, they issued at least seven children, two of them being, called, Charles James Brooks and Thomas Herbert Brooks.
At some point between 1898 and 1901, Charles Brooks came to Rotherham with his wife, Esther Rebecca Drury, who he had married in 1898 in Lincoln. Charles and Esther issued two children, called, Violet Brooks (1899 to 1985) and Mary Theresa Brooks (1904 to 1988). In 1901, Charles and his family were living at 105 Fitzwilliam Road, Eastwood, Rotherham where Charles was also trading as a Hairdresser. By 1911, Charles and his family were living at 97 Fitzwilliam Road, Eastwood, Rotherham where he was still trading as a Hairdresser.
Thomas Brooks came to Rotherham sometime between 1901 and 1911. He came with his wife, Janet Geddes, who he had married in 1901 in Lincoln. Thomas and Janet issued two children, called, Doris Gwendoline Brooks (1903 to 1962) and Vera Irene Brooks (1906 to 1963). In 1911, Thomas and his family were living in his brother, Charles’s old home at 105 Fitzwilliam Road, Eastwood, Rotherham where Thomas was trading as a Tobacconist and Hairdresser.
97 and 105 Fitzwilliam Street, Rotherham, have both been demolished; probably in the 1970s when a new road was planned for the area.
The above Charles Brooks and Thomas Brooks formed the business, ‘Brooks & Brooks Limited’.
The first mention of ‘Brooks & Brooks’ in a trade directory was in the 1902 edition of White’s Directory:-
Brooks Charles, hairdresser & tobacconist, 27 High street; h. 105 Fitzwilliam Road.
The above 27 High Street forms part of the Three Cranes public house.
Other mentions of the business in the trade directories include:-
1912 White’s Directory
Brooks & Brooks, hair dressers, 2 Imperial buildings.
Brooks Charles, hair dresser & c. (B. & B.), 97 Fitzwilliam road.
1905 White’s Directory
Brooks Charles, hairdresser & tobacconist, 27 High street; h. 105 Fitzwilliam road.
1925 Kelly’s Directory
Brooks and Brooks Limited, wholesale & retail tobacconists, 2 Imperial buildings.
Brooks Charles, governing director Brooks & Brooks Ltd., h. 29 Broomfield grove.
1935 Kelly’s Directory
Brooks Chas. 29 Broomfield grove.
Thomas Brooks left Rotherham, although I don’t know when. The business seemed to be operated solely by Charles, but whether Thomas still had any kind of interest in it, I do not know. Thomas died in the Lincoln district in 1936.
My first experience of this shop was in 1991 when I purchased a cigarette case. Over the subsequent ten years, I would occasionally go in and purchase tobacco. I found it to be a wonderful place with the gorgeous aroma of tobacco filling the shop and fitted with vintage wooden decor which had probably barely changed since the shop’s opening. They had every variety and flavour of tobacco imaginable. When I frequented the shop, I was usually served with impeccable old-fashioned service by an elderly gentleman and a younger man, who I presumed were father and son and descendants of the above Charles Brooks or Thomas Brooks. When my parents used to purchase tobacco from here in the 1950s, they said that they too used to be served by an elderly gentleman and a younger man (I presumed the younger chap was the older one when I used to call in).
When Charles died in 1941, one of the attendees at his funeral was ‘Mr. Swift (representing Messrs. Tylers, of Sheffield’. I discovered that Frederick Gordon Tyler (1885 to 1966) was a Tobacconist in Sheffield and in 1911 was residing at 12 Nether Edge Road, Sheffield and trading as a Tobacconist. His father, Thomas Tyler, was also a Tobacconist, so perhaps Frederick inherited the business. After Charles Brooks died, I believe that Frederick Tyler took over the business.
The above Frederick Tyler and his wife, Minnie Toft, issued just one child, a daughter, called, Joyce Fanny Tyler in 1926. I believe Joyce probably inherited the Brooks and Brooks business upon her father’s death. Joyce married Cecil Markham in 1940 in Southport, Lancashire. They issued two children, one of which was called, Sandra. Sandra married Keith Wortley.
I’m not sure of exactly who owned what etc., but certainly, in the latter years of the business, the business appeared to be operated by Cecil Markham and his son in law, Keith Wortley.
Cecil Markham passed away in 2002 aged 85, presumably working in the shop up to or almost to the end of his life. The shop was then sold and purchased by somebody, whose name I do not know. The new owner traded here until it was decided that the Imperial Buildings needed restoring and that the businesses occupying it would need to be moved out whilst the renovations took place, circa 2006/07. Rotherham had then lost its last Tobacconist, which had traded from the same shop for almost one hundred years.
Incidental, but Charles & Thomas Brooks had a sister, called, Eliza Mary Hannah Brooks. Eliza married Willie Milnes in 1898 in Rotherham. Eliza and Willie issued one son, called, Dennis Hirst Milnes in 1899. Dennis married Doris Ivy Sides in 1928 in Rotherham. Doris is a descendant of the Sharpley family of Swinton who were well-known farmers and business owners there. Dennis and Doris’s son, David Milnes, married my fourth cousin, Maureen Barron, in 1966. Between 1993 and 2009, David was a Director of The Rotherham Hospice. So whilst I am not related to the Brooks family, I do share a relationship with a few of their descendants.
Although I’m not sorry that tobacco smoking is a now dying habit, I’m disappointed that the business didn’t survive long enough to take advantage of the current electronic cigarette craze.
Below is a newspaper article pertaining to the death of Charles Brooks.
THE ADVERTISER, SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 15th, 1941.
DEATH OF WELL KNOWN TRADESMAN.
MR. CHARLES BROOKS.
The death occurred in the Clifton Lane Nursing Home, Rotherham, on Saturday morning of Mr. Charles Brooks, founder of the firm of Brooks and Brooks, tobacconists, of High Street, Rotherham.
Mr. Brooks, who resided at “The Bungalow,” 2, Herringthorpe Avenue, Rotherham, was 65 years of age. Born in Rotherham, he commenced business as a tobacconist and hairdresser on his own account when he was 20 years of age. He retired from business last May.
Mr. Brooks leaves a widow and two daughters, Mrs. A. B. Woodcock, of Peterbro’, and Mrs. G. B. Gould of Rotherham.
Prior to interment in the Wickersley Churchyard on Wednesday, a service was held at, “The Bungalow.” The Rev. A. J. Yorke (Minister of the Talbot Lane Methodist Church) and the Rev. H. J. Spalding (priest-in-charge of St. Cuthbert’s Church, Herringthorpe) jointly officiated.
The mourners included Mrs. Brooks (widow), Mr. and Mrs. Woodcock, of Peterbro,’ and Mr. and Mrs. Gould (sons-in-law and daughters), Mr. and Mrs. W. Milnes and Mr. and Mrs. McDermott (brothers-in-law and sisters), Mrs. Towras (sister), Mr. and Mrs. J. Brooks, Mr. and Mrs. Stanley Brooks and Mr. and Mrs. George Brooks (brothers and sisters-in-law), Miss Jeanne Woodcock (grand-daughter), Mr. and Mrs. D. H. Milnes (nephew and niece) and Mr. and Mrs. Fox (cousins), of Sheffield.
Others present included Mr. and Mrs. J. H. Collier, Mr. Puddephat, of Bournemouth, Mrs. Gracie, Mr. Sides, Mrs. Horne (manageress for Messrs. Brooks and Brooks), Mr. and Mrs. Pashley, of Leeds, Mr. and Mrs. T. Hewitt, of Lincoln, Mr. Jennison, Mr. Thacker, Mr. Walls, Mr. F. C. Ellis, Mr. H. E. Houghton, Mr. Ball, Mr. B. H. Taft (representing Messrs. Gallagher, Ltd.), Mr. Swift (representing Messrs. Tylers, of Sheffield), Mr. Arthur Pickles, Mr. Arthur, Mr. and Mrs. G. Emmerson, Mr. and Mrs. Stanley Parkin, Mr. F. Tarbit and Mr. A. R. W. Clarkson.
The funeral arrangements were carried out by Messrs. Moorhouse and Co. (Rotherham) Ltd., of Wellgate.