Local historians, Charles Tebbutt and Rosa Young, have published extensive research into St Neots’ history. What follows has largely been gleaned from their work.
From 1865 Paine and Company, the brewers, set up a building merchants business in the yard behind the Dog and Duck Inn near Eynesbury Bridge. They sold tools and materials to local builders and skilled craftsmen. In 1879 the business was sold to Charles Daintree and Fred Jewson. The yard was too small so they first hired, then bought, Navigation Wharf across the street. It used to be the wharf and depot of the Ouse Navigation Company but the coming of the railway in 1850 had caused serious decline in the canal trade.
More storage sheds were built and the 1850 steam engine from Paine’s Bedford Street mill was brought up to power a new saw mill. It was replaced by diesel in 1931 because of the high cost of coal. The old lime kiln was re-used for making cement and mortar.
In 1881 they advertised as ‘Deal Timber and Slate Merchants
Dealers in Lime, Lath, Chimney Pots, Stone, Whiting, hair, Sewerage Pipes, Cement etc. Proprietors of the New Sawing, Planing, and Moulding Mills.’
Richard Jewson took control of the business in 1887 after Daintree’s family emigrated to Australia. He sold the yard, stock and goodwill of the business in 1889 to Charles Tebbutt, who became very involved in local sports clubs.
During the First World War he bought the Felmongers Yard on the south side of Eynesbury bridge. He installed a rack bench driven by a portable steam engine to produce timber from local trees.
(Sources: Young, R. (1996), 'St Neots Past', Phillimore; Tebbutt, C.F. (1978), St Neots – History of a Huntingdonshire Town, Unwin Brothers)