For 140 years Church’s China filled thousands of Northamptonshire shelves with its glasses, crockery and ornaments. It was one of Northampton’s best known and best loved family businesses. The family behind the shop has a remarkable story to tell. The former Mayor of Northampton, Richard Church tells that story through the words of his own ancestors.
Five generations of the Northampton family began with the founder of the business, Thomas Church, having stones thrown through his windows just a year after moving to the town. Richard’s grandfather, Wilfrid, recalled a Victorian childhood living above the shop on Northampton’s Market Square. Great Uncle William wrote a diary of his arrest and imprisonment for refusing to fight in the first world war. Uncle Philip’s death as an RAF pilot in a bombing raid over Berlin and an aircraft crashing in the heart of Northampton in the second world war are told through the diaries of Wilfrid Church.
The story continues through the re-development and expansion of the town in the 1960’s and 1970’s. The demolition of the much-loved Emporium Arcade in 1972, followed by 30 successful years in Welsh House and St. Giles St.