Neal’s General Store
Fred Octavious Neal had been the licensee of the Duckholes Hotel (1866-8) and, due to the post office being located there, local postmaster. He later moved to Romsey, purchased the old timber National Bank, moved it north to this site in 1877 and opened a butcher’s shop here. The present brick building, a two storey red-brick and stucco shop and residence, was constructed by Alfred Pugh (who also built the Mechanics’ Institute) as a general store next door to the butcher’s shop for Neal in 1884. It is regarded as perhaps the grandest surviving privately owned 19th century general store in the region.
This was symbolic of the importance of the town’s businesses in this rich farming district. Neal’s son, John, continued the butchering business next door and, his son, Joseph H Neal took up the store in the 1890s. The Neal family retired from this store in 1897. Fred Octavius Neal was also known for his saw-milling activities and reputedly set up one of his sons as a timber merchant in Romsey.