In early days people were largely self-supporting but gradually specialist tradesmen became more common. Millers ran meal and saw mills, shoemakers were always required (and in 1871 there was a master shoemaker employing two men), carpenters and blacksmiths were also common and in 1861 there were several workers in the iron mill.
The first shop appears on record in 1866 when Craigmore Cottage was ‘a neat one storey house, thatched, used as a grocers shop’. The 1874/5 valuation roll shows the house, shop and garden of John Macaulay, baker and those of John Maclean, carpenter and Alex Robertson, merchant. By 1901 John Macaulay at Old Bridgend was described as a baker, butcher and general merchant, with a son employed as a coachman.
During the earlier 20th century before present day mobility there were many shops in the village. At one time or another Coopers, Galls general merchant and Gordon’s fish and sweets near the station, four bakers included Doull at Old Bridgend and Miss Methven beyond Duack bridge, Willie Mackenzie, butcher at Caberfeidh and his brother MDC (Donnie) general merchant at the present shop and post office. There were also a tailor, a shoemaker who famously ‘mended shoes free of charge tomorrow’, a chemist and a doctor’s surgery. Spar operated a shop at the Causer for some years until the 1990s.
Nethy Bridge Community Centre
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