Wickham is steeped in history, but it is especially famous for its village square, which is arguably the largest village square in Britain. Wickham has been trading goods in and around the square for centuries.
RG Warwick Hardware with well over a century of retailing in the Square relocated to allow a shopping centre to be built, similar, but larger in comparison to the highly successful Bay Tree Walk.
The hardware store moved over to Buddens Yard on Station Road, some 400m down the road and ‘Warwick Lane’ was established in 2012. Warwick Lane made room for 12 more boutique shops in Wickham.
RG Warwick hardware continues to trade well, especially for those who are in to DIY or horticulture, but there is much more that they stock!
The village itself continues to bustle and sometimes bursts at the seams with locals and visitors looking to buy unique gifts and trinkets or look through antiques markets and shops.
There is also, just off the square the peace and tranquillity of the water meadows. It’s a short walk, with a bridge over the river that leads to the old railway line if you want to continue your stroll. You might even pop back to the square for dinner or to have a drink in one of the many bars and restaurant in and around the square.
The building itself is Grade II listed and has been in the Warwick family for over 125 years. Originally trading as an engineers and confectionery shop around the 1900’s the Warwick family lived in what was the accommodation above. The engineering business turned to hardware around 1929 and the business took over much of the building.
The building was either home or birthplace to much of the Warwick family during the mid-century; famously the birthplace of Dorothy Mary Warwick. Mary married John Francis Donaldson, Baron Donaldson of Lymington to become Lady Donaldson of Lymington, GBE, DStJ and who was the first female Lord Mayor of London in 1983.
In 2012 work began to convert the building in to a shopping centre so as to allow small businesses to flourish and enhance the village shopping experience. The building was named after Richard Warwick and his wife Joyce Lane, hence ‘Warwick Lane’ (continually confusing people looking for a road!). The building is a reminder of those family members lost, but not forgotten. It has after all been in the family for well over a century.
Warwick Lane as it stands today offers many boutique shops, antiques and a coffee house so there is plenty of variety. In fact the shops are excellent for unique, not on the high street gifts for everyone and the BBC Antiques Road Trip have paid four visits to Warwick Market alone!