Isles of Scilly family to sell islands' oldest shop after 119 years in business

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A newsagent that has been run by the same family for 119 years on the Isles of Scilly is looking for a new owner.

Mumfords, more commonly known as the Papershop, has seen four generations of the Mumford family in Hugh Town on St Marys.

Current owner Clive Mumford is the grandson of founder Charles Mumford who opened the Papershop in 1904.

"I know it's only a corner shop but it's a corner shop with a huge significance," he said.

Clive Mumford says he hopes the new owner will continue to run the Papershop as a newsagents Credit: ITV News

Clive's three daughters have all worked in the shop but have careers in other industries so say the time finally came to put the business on the market.

He said: "119 years is a long time time, but I just kept on putting it off. But all my daughters are gainfully employed but as I say people aren't buying papers like they used to so there's only one way out."

Clive, who is a journalist by trade, says people's attitudes to buying newspapers has changed significantly.

"Newsprint was king but people don't read newspapers anymore these days, or not as much as they used to.

"We get all that news as such from social media, which oftentimes is incorrect. So it is a struggle to make ends living as newspapers these days."

The shop is in a prime location in the middle of St Marys main high street. Credit: ITV News

Estate agent Sibleys describes the shop as a "piece of Scillonian history" and the sale would include buying the adjoining three-bedroom family home.

The original shop was in a building in the centre of the terrace fronting Hugh Street but the original owner Charles Mumford only ran the business for a year before he tragically died on the wreck of the Plympton, leaving behind his widow and one-year-old son.

The Papershop moved to its recognisable present prime site on the corner of Hugh Street and Garrison Lane in 1924.

Tregarthen Mumford OBE ran the newsagents in 1984 when his son Clive Mumford took over the business - makes Mumford’s the oldest continually run business on Scilly.

Putting the papershop up for sale has brought a flurry messages and even a poem from well-wishers appreciating what the shop has meant for the islands.

Selena Baxter says her father was "heartbroken" when he came to the decision to sell the business but they have all been left with wonderful memories.

She said: "Even now, when I come down to the shop, the smell, it's just it takes you right back to your childhood.

"It's I don't know if it's Polo mints or it's just the smell of the shop. And you regress to a child all over again."

Prime Minister Harold Wilson visiting the Isles of Scilly during his summer holiday in 1965 Credit: PA Images

Many famous faces have visited the shop and sat in a chair that sits in the corner of the room.

Royalty has even popped through the doors Selena says she "vividly" remembers a young William and Harry visiting the store.

"They came in with their nanny Tiggy Legge-Bourke, I remember seeing Harry's frog welly boots on the wrong feet."

Clive says they have had "whole series of famous bottoms plonked on that chair".

One of Clive's favourite stories to tell includes regular customer Harold Wilson, who served as Prime Minister.

He said: "A mainland visitor was complaining that he couldn't get his paper and he said when I go back to my house, when I see my MP, I'll mention it to him that I'd had the most awful discrimination.

"So just that minute. Harold Wilson walked in with his wife and was looking at the bookshelf.

"So I said, well, don't just bugger around with backbencher MPs let's go straight to the Prime Minister Mr Wilson, this chap turned on his tail and fled. Yes. It's a lovely little story."