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Established in the year 1797, the history of Nickolls & Perks has been consistently recorded. Earliest reference to the building which houses Nickolls & Perks Wine Merchants, derives with John Baker, who inherited the family home of 37 High Street Stourbridge in 1697. His windfall included: shop, outhouses, barns, stables, malt house, and washing pool. This was the first reference to trading on this site.
Spinster Hannah Baker together with her three sisters, resided their until 1713, when it was sold onto Thomas Foxhall for £1200. The eighteenth century saw no less than 18 changes of ownership, until 1797, when part of the property was leased to William Nickless for one year at five shillings only. George Richards later picked up the lease, when it became known as "the Liquor Vaults". James Nickolls had rented prior to this new agreement, and is recorded in the early 1830´s as a druggist, grocer and wine and spirit merchant.
The Board Alehouse opened in the 1860´s to complement the existing business, adding Ale and Porter to the range of goods and services offered. James Nickolls had passed on by now, leaving the business to his partner Francis Perks. Francis was licensee until 1928, when Harry Richard Reading took over . The Reading family owned both Nickolls & Perks and the well-known Edward Rutland & Co, at Bordeaux House on the corner of High Street and Foster Street, Stourbridge.
In 1945 William Gardener Purchased the business and property from the Readings continuing as the premier supplier of wines beers and spirits to the local pubs and clubs. For many years to follow, The Board Vaults Public House was known affectionately as "the corner shop", being the centre of life in Stourbridge, for people to rest and meet socially.
The following thirty years saw many changes in trading conditions, particularly in retailing. The abolition of retail price maintenance and the introduction of super stores and cash & carry type outlets, made life difficult for the established town shops. The company of Nickolls and Perks had to bring itself into new trading times, with a chance to compete with the modern methods of selling.
Fortunately peoples habits were changing in the 1960´s and 1970´s, increasing holidays abroad and new adventure with food, promoted increased demand for table wines, and so the under the guidance of David S. Gardener, son of William, the company decided to throw their efforts into the new wave interest in wine.
It was soon apparent that the very finest wines were about to become in great demand on a universal scale. The family decided to shut the Board Vaults Public House in March 1976, to accommodate the wine trading business, which was already growing rapidly.
David had been interested in learning and educating local enthusiasts in the art of wine appreciation. Stourbridge Wine Society was founded, to this end, in 1970, organising themed wine tastings and visits to the many famous wine growing regions of Europe.
Supermarkets gradually began to eat away at market share across all sectors of the retailing environment through the 1970´s and 1980´s, now accounting for 70% of all wine sales nationally. Concentration on mail order trading and increased specialisation into finer and rarer wines, became the way forward for Nickolls & Perks.
As winners ofthe 1999 Business Link Award for Export Achievement and being acclaimed recently by Which Wine Guide as "The Bordeaux Wine Merchant Specialist of the UK", Nickolls & Perks Ltd are looking forward to the challenges it will face in its fourth trading century as Wine Merchants.