Edward Wherry was the proprietor of the village store at Edenham, near Bourne.
In 1806 he purchased from the premises on both sides of North Street, Bourne. The legal formalities for this transaction were carried out by Mr Worth – father of the world famous Paris Costumier.
These first premises were stocked with groceries and other goods in local demand. Business prospered and when Edward Wherry’s elder sons, William and Edward, left school they joined their father – the firm becoming Edward Wherry and Sons. To this retail business was added a wholesale side – which rapidly expanded. Often goods purchased from London and Manchester to Bourne came by water.
In 1856 Willliam’s son, William Robert Wherry, aged 15, entered the business as an an apprentice, 5 years later he took over the sole control of the grocery department, and of purchasing the drapery with which he was connected for the following 17 years. He also developed the trade in seed and grain thereby laying the foundations of our present activities.
Under the direction of the same WR Wherry, who became a County Alderman and Justice of the Peace, the agricultural side of the business developed considerably, to such an extent that it was created into a separate concern trading under the title of WR Wherry & Co.
Contracts for root seeds were placed with local farmers on behalf of most of the leading seed houses. For 26 years WR Wherry & Co purchased the total white mustard seed requirements for Keen Robinson & Co., until the latters amalgamation with Messrs. Colman of Norwich.
For the storage of this seed the large waterside warehouse in Eastgate, Bourne was purchased, though sold in later years.
In North Road, Bourne, a windmill was operated, this had three pairs of stones, two for wheat and one for Barley. Of this former Bourne landmark only the stump now remains.
Ald. WR Wherry was possibly the first gentleman in this country to recognise the need in the food processing industry for a complete dried pea trading operation, and so in the winter of 1878-9 this side of our business started.
Peas were grown by our farmer customers and transported to Bourne where they were hand picked by local people in their own homes - Bourne’s original cottage industry. This situation continued until 1902, when the factory in Church Lane, Bourne was built. From here, in 1967, we moved to our old site at the Old Railway Station yard.
In recent years the company have concentrated more efforts on UK and international pulse trading activities.
More details are available in our booklet, Seven generations of a family business - The story of Wherry & Sons Ltd