After more than two centuries of farming and farrier background Ezra Janes broke away from the village based family tradition and began making shoes for people instead of horsesThree years after operating his business from a cottage, Ezra decided that he would build a house and a shop. Firstly he negotiated the purchase of a property round the green, only to find that he had bought it from a man who didn’t even own it and so lost his deposit. In 1891 the original eight room building was erected which now forms the main part of Janes.To make way for his new edifice, ‘Glass Bottle Row’ had to be demolished. This consisted of thirteen cottages, which adjoined Broomstick Cottage (behind 8 High Street) and the newsagents and housed over one hundred people. There was an open stream running along the front, which is now in a brick culvert under the pavement and also until recently marked the Beds/Bucks border.Ezra did rounds in Dagnall, Ringshall and Little Gaddesden collecting shoe orders and repairs.
Meanwhile Ezra continued his activities as Clerk to Edlesborough Parish Council, retiring after 36 years. His first official appointment came in 1894 when he was appointed Assessor and Collector of Taxes.1918 - After Charles, Ezras son, returned from service in the First World War he became involved in the business and after he married Ethel in 1921 moved into the shop. Charles introduced the hire and recharge of accumulator batteries for wirelesses, from that he went on to sell radios and cycles.1941 - When Philip, Ezra’s Grandson, finished school at the Cedars in Leighton Buzzard he began to get involved in the business but on being called up for service in 1943 Charles had to hold fort until war was once again over.
Philip moved into the shop with his new wife Mary and remained there for 20 years. Throughout this period with the help of his brother, Don, the business grew and with the demise of shoe making and repairing, the shoe retail side grew, along with the addition of electrical appliances such as kettles, irons, wash boilers and spin driers etc. By now the business had been separated into two shops with the shoe shop and the cycle/electrical shop standing next to one another in the High Street.
During the seventies Martin and Peter, Ezras Great grandchildren, became involved in the business and in 1976 the house was converted into extended shop premises. Carpet sales were also now becoming a more significant part of the business.1994 - One hundred and three years of local history came to an end when Martin and Peter closed the shoe shop doors for the last time. Whilst the cycle, electrical and carpet side of the business was very much alive they saw that, with the current trend in shopping habits, it was prudent to finish the shoe business and concentrate on the other areas of trading.
The shop at No. 8 High Street became vacant and the decision was taken to open up through our present store and fit it as our carpet showroom. Martin's daughter Louise came to manage the new store and we have seen a real growth in this area of the company’s trading, thanks mainly to repeat business with satisfied customers as well as new people experiencing the great service and help we aim to provide.
To the left you will see our 2013 Janes staff photo taken in September. From Left to right Charlie Munt, Tony Bearman, Andrew Janes, (Director) Louise Janes (Director) (Ezra’s Great, Great Grandchildren). Chris Butcher and Marcus Mitchinson.
In 2020 we saw the world come to a halt with the outbreak of COVID 19, person to person contact was restricted and isolation from others became the norm. The government guided everyone to stay home and only go out if necessary. With that in place the towns, cities, and villages became barren and ghoulish, The shop in the same unsual state; the eerie isolation with no customers coming in, the desolate shop floor, all of these made the work very different to what we had once knew.
Throughout the whole Pandemic the shop stayed open behind closed doors, adapting to overcome the hurdles placed in front of us. Deliveries of appliances and flooring while wearing face coverings and social distancing gave us the ability to keep helping customers. thr slogan of the business became "If You need it, and We've got it, We'll get it to You". With some new members on the team and some the same, Janes kept going!
From left to right, Andrew Janes (director), Andy McCuloch, Louise Janes (director) Marcus Mitchinson, Joe Smith