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May 05, 2021

FHW Hickling store in Flesherton, trove of antique treasures — an artefact story

FHW Hickling store interior South Grey News | Hickling store a trove of treasures

BY ROBERT IANTORNO — Early in April, I had the opportunity to explore the old FHW Hickling store on Toronto Road in Flesherton. I had been itching to get into this place for a while, as I had been told that the building still housed original furnishings and old goods.

I was not disappointed.

This was once a thriving general store, run by Fred Hickling, who had come from England to Flesherton in 1891. He operated this store from the early 1900s until his passing in 1961 — it’s said that he never missed a day’s work, and that he even placed orders for inventory up to the eve of his passing to ensure that the town could remain supplied. The current owners of the building were very kind to let me run around and take photos. Here are some cool things I observed:

A rat trap which was enormous, and demonstrated that rats were a nuisance back in the day

A safe, painted beautifully with the lettering “FHW Hickling,” which has been in this spot for 100 years

hickling vintage sign

A tin sign advertising lead paint — we have the sister sign in the collection at the Museum

Top Photo: Signage advertising Hickling’s Dry Goods Department Store and original tin ceiling panels.

The owners of the building are graciously donating dozens of the original logbooks from this store, as well as tax ledgers from the village, reaching back over a century. As time goes on, there is less and less history still out there in its raw state, so it is a joy to be able to explore and document the old buildings in Grey Highlands.

Robert Iantorno is the curator at South Grey Museum in Flesherton.


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