Guard’s outfitters

Henry Guard and Sons Ltd, Draper, Clothier and Bootmaker 16 to 23 Church Street
  • Henry Frederick James William Guard was born in Christchurch, Hampshire, in 1860, the son of an upholsterer.  He came to Romsey with his wife, Annie in the 1880s.   They had six children.  One son, Frederick, had a distinguished career in the armed services.  Another son, Owen, was a chairman of the Southern Gas Board in the 1950’s.
  • Henry established a large store based on both sides of Church Street.    The first shop was a Boot Shop on the west side of the street.  This was followed by a  ladies’ outfitters on the east side of the street while the gents’ expanded on  the west side. The Menswear department closed in 1952 and was replaced by the Magistrates Court.  The Ladieswear department closed in 1954 and was replaced by the Post Office building.
  • Henry was a keen photographer probably influenced by his father who was described as a “Photographer’s Assistant” in the 1861 census.  Henry was a founder member and first president of the Romsey Photographic society which was formed in 1906. He gave many lantern shows to the folks of Romsey. He was probably responsible for the large collection of photographs of the Guard family and the employees of Guard’s Outfitters, both at work and on their annual staff outings, now held in the Romsey History Society archive.
  • Henry was also heavily involved in the organisation of Romsey Carnivals and held many civic offices, including  Mayor in 1897. As a member of the board of Guardians he donated many items including boots and shoes to the workhouse. He was also a keen musician and dabbled in conjuring tricks giving many performances for the church and other societies in and around Romsey
  • Henry died at his home in Luzborough House, now a pub, in 1945.
  1. British Newspaper Archive Online
  2. Images courtesy of Romsey History Society