G. J. Keddie & Sons

Famous Southend store had a draper's shop in Hadleigh

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With the opening of the bypass in 1924 (now the London Road from the Old Fire Station to Rectory Road), more businesses opened in Hadleigh. In the mid-1920s, a draper’s store opened on a prominent position on the corner with Rectory Road – G. J. Keddie and Sons (now a branch of Santander).

George James Keddie was born in March 1855 at Hintlesham in Suffolk. At the age of 16, he was living at Auchtermuchty in Scotland, working as a draper’s apprentice for his uncle, John Keddie. Eight years later, he had returned to Suffolk where he married Laura Fletcher in 1879. By 1881, George Keddie was working as a draper at Braintree in Essex. In 1892, George Keddie opened his draper’s store at 144-146 High Street, Southend.

George James Keddie died on 5th February 1921, aged 65. In his will he left assets worth £41,875 12s. 4d. to his three sons Arthur Maitland Fletcher Keddie, Frederick Wallace Keddie and George Douglas Fletcher Keddie. As well as the store in Southend High Street, the Keddie sons opened smaller stores at Hadleigh and Leigh. By the late 1920s, Keddie’s drapery store on Central Parade, Hadleigh had a telephone, with the number 58364. The Hadleigh store closed in about 1946-7, after about twenty years trading in Hadleigh. The premises were then occupied by a draper’s shop owned by the London Co-operative Society Ltd. 

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  • Just a point of clarification: Although by then owned by Santander, there were two Abbey branches following the purchase of B&B in 2008. Abbey (National) was re-branded as Santander in 2010.

    By Terry Palmer (05/05/2018)
  • The reference concerning two Building Societies of the same name can be explained. Santander bought the Abbey National opposite the Churchyard and Bradford & Bingley on the corner of Rectory Rd. They chose to operate from one branch eventually.

    By Rob Keen (01/05/2018)
  • Hi Terry, thank you for reply, any little snippet helps.. I will try to trace KD Discount …

    By Michael Souter (18/02/2018)
  • Michael, things get a bit hazy now. I’ve known Hadleigh since the early 70’s, and I think the first business I remember in that ‘new’ building was KD Discount, which belonged to Keddies (them again). They sold groceries from cardboard boxes – you could use the entrance in Rectory Road then. Then I think it was Bejam (named after the founders –
    Brian, Eric, John And Millie ) which was taken over by Iceland in 1989. Well, that’s how I remember it – others may remember differently.

    By Terry Palmer (18/02/2018)
  • Thank you Terry Palmer for the information, I wonder do you remember anymore of Hadleigh Corner, maybe the shop opposite where Iceland stands now…I have been told that Bejams was there before them but can’t find any proof as yet, also when the parade of shops was built… a missing part of the puzzle…

    By Michael Souter (18/02/2018)
  • I seem to recall that the Hearts of Oak and Enfield Building Society was there until about 1980, when it was taken over by Bradford and Bingley (had my mortgage with them). Then Abbey National/Abbey and Santander, of course. Seemed odd that they then had two branches in a place like Hadleigh.

    By Terry Palmer (16/02/2018)
  • Can anyone update the history of this shop after the London Co~op left the premises. [I am researching building timeline on Hadleigh Corner]

    By Michael Souter (14/02/2018)
  • Frederick Wallace Keddie had three sons, all of whom were killed in WW2. The last to die was Richard, the 26 year old Captain of HMS Cattistock.


    {Editor:  HMS CATTISTOCK  was a Type I, Hunt-class Escort Destroyer;  the 2nd ship of this name.

    Battle Honours;   North Sea 1941 – 1945;  English Channel 1942 – 1944;  Normandy 1944 

    Richard George Damyon Keddie DSC   26, Lt. killed in surface action 29 August 1944; one of four men who were killed that day on HMS Cattistock.}

    By JOHN HOEY (02/03/2013)

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