Pioneer Printer

First Newspaper here in 1856


The shop next door, empty at present, is fondly remembered by many as the Moore's fashion and drapery store. It was a branch of Boots the Chemist between 1923 and 1966. Before that it was owned by the Tibbett family. James Tibbett founded the business in 1840 selling a variety of goods.

Famously, he installed a printing press in the cellar and produced the town's first weekly newspaper, the Dunstable Chronicle, in 1856. His son, Daniel, began the Dunstable Borough Gazette in other premises in 1865.

The Tibbetts founded the Index Printing Works behind the shop which became internationally known for the ABC Rail Guides and the ABC World Airways Guides. The factory was approached through the archway, still in existence, next to the shop.

Parts of the building are very old and incorporate stones salvaged from the old Priory monastery, demolished in the reign of King Henry VIII. Documents trace ownership back as far as the 1700s. In 1750 it was owned by Lillie Aynscombe, whose tenant was Edward Skikelthorpe, a plumber and glazier. There are references in earlier deeds of adjoining properties to it being a pub called the Black Lyon, whose name was transferred to a property in West Street before 1750. There's a deed dated 1794 describing it as a cottage and it was a tailor's shop in 1804.

Charles Moore ran a drapery business in the small shop next door from 1917. His son, Fred, expanded the premises when Boots moved to the Quadrant in 1966. Fred's daughter, Pauline Keen, managed the shop in later years until it closed in 2009.

Picture showing James Tibbet leaning.
A photo portrait of James Tibbett.
Moore's shop on a street.
Moore's shop in its Heyday.
The building which became Tibbett's which became Boot's, and then Moore's; is seen before large shop fronts were added.
Tibbett's reporter office 1909.
When Boot's the chemist moved to the Quadrant in 1966, the Moore's drapery shop (left) expanded next door.

Text: John Buckledee of Dunstable and District Local History Society. ©
Design: David Turner.
Narration: Katy Elliott of Dunstable Repertory Company.
Recording: David Hornsey.
Website developer: Joshua Buckledee.