A family business which has changed little through its 156-year history is up for sale.

John Greenwood Ltd was opened in 1856 and is Dewsbury’s oldest shop.

Known locally as Greenwood’s, the shop sells jewellery, workwear and outdoor clothing.

Going into Greenwood’s is like stepping back in time as the interior of the shop has hardly changed.

It still boasts the original mahogany counters, shelving and fixtures and fittings.

The shop was run for many years by Colin Parkin, who went to work there after leaving school aged 15 in 1953.

Colin died seven years ago and the shop has been run by his wife, Catherine, and daughter Caroline Clegg.

Catherine, 72, wants to retire and Caroline, 45, who has worked in the shop since she was 12, wants a change of career.

The business has now been put on the market, but Catherine and Caroline hope the shop will continue.

Generations of customers have grown up knowing Greenwood’s and Caroline said: “It’s the end of an era.

“Mum wants to retire and I got married two years ago and I’ve just trained as a phlebotomist.

“There is no-one to leave the business to so we have put it up for sale.”

Dewsbury town centre has struggled in recent years with as many as one in four shops empty.

But Caroline said Greenwood’s had weathered the decline thanks to their loyal customer base.

“This has nothing to do with a lack of trade, it’s just our personal circumstances,” she said.

“Our customers keep coming back and they are more than customers, they are friends.

“It will be a big wrench to leave the shop, especially because of my dad and all the memories.”

Greenwood's in the late 1960s
Greenwood's in the late 1960s
 

The early history of Greenwood’s has been lost in the mists of time and no-one knows who John Greenwood was.

One of the earliest owners, however, was Tom Burns. His daughter Doris ran it for many years before it was taken over by Jack Gledhill.

Colin Parkin worked for Jack and was shocked when Jack left the shop to him in his will.

Catherine said the bequest came out of the blue and said: “Colin was so overcome he broke down in tears.

“Jack had no family and I suppose he wanted to reward Colin for all his hard work.”

For many years Greenwood’s was a pawnbroker’s but new laws meant the Parkins gave up that side of the business, instead developing the jewellery side.

Workwear, such as boilersuits and overalls, also remain staple products.

Bolenium Bill, a counter-top figurine which displays Bolenium industrial clothing, has been in Greenwood’s window for more than 80 years.

Catherine said they had never seriously thought about updating the shop and bringing it into the 21st century.

“People like it as it is,” said Catherine. “One lady came in the other day and said: ‘Don’t ever change it’ but someone will.

“The business isn’t stuck in the past and has always adapted to changing trends.

“It’s the end of an era, but not the end of the business”.