Paulton shop frozen in time to make way for new funeral parlour
A well-known shop in the heart of Paulton is due to be demolished to make way for a new funeral parlour.
Bryan G Bishop will be moving from its existing premises at Hallatrow Road to a new, custom-built parlour being created where Park Stores currently stands once work on the one-acre site has been completed.
For decades, the shop was the place for people in the village to stock up on their supplies long before the age of supermarkets.
But since the death of previous owner Albert Cary more than five years ago the premises has stood empty, almost frozen in time, with many items still stacked on the shelves.
The plan is to demolish the building, thought to be more than 100 years old, before recreating the same layout as the existing parlour using natural stone recovered from the Park Stores building.
The firm's Bryan Bishop said: "The building doesn't only look a mess, it is downright dangerous. It needs to be demolished before it falls down.
"I remember going into the shop as a youngster in around 1948. It never really changed over the years. Many of the original fixtures and fittings are still inside."
Matthew Bissex, the Radstock architect who is working on the project, added: "There are trees growing out of the roof, and staircases and chimneys have just completely collapsed inside. It is in a shocking state. It was so dangerous we couldn't even complete a survey.
"What we plan is to retain the double gable front and recreate the current premises and detached house on the site."
Mr Bissex, who won an award from Bath and North East Somerset Council for the work he did on Bishop's existing premises in 2004, said demolition would be done slowly by hand to ensure as much of the original stone can be reclaimed as possible.
The independent funeral director has been based on Hallatrow Road since 1968 but the Bishop family say recent housing development on the former Purnells printing site behind the site has made it impossible for them to continue where they are.
Tudor Bishop, who runs the funeral directors with his wife Jane, said: "The reason we are moving is because of the overdevelopment of the housing site behind us.
"The houses look directly down into the funeral parlour which is inappropriate because we feel it is important that people have privacy when dealing with the death of a loved one. In the original plans it was due to be just garages and gardens but that isn't what has happened."
Mr Bishop said he intends to submit a planning application to change the existing premises into one-bedroom flats once the move is complete.