Look up to see the town’s heritage revealed

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THE renovation of a historic shop front has earned the praise from the Bury St Edmunds Heritage Society.

The Jacobean-style frontage of the town’s WH Smith branch has been cleaned and repainted bringing out the detail of its ornate plasterwork.

The society’s Martyn Taylor said: “It’s totally transformed the building from the point of view of anyone interested in local history.”

He urged shoppers to look above the store’s blue name sign to admire the design by Michael Treleaven for an early branch of Nottingham chemist Jesse Boot’s expanding empire.

Examples of Treleaven’s work remain in Peterborough, Winchester and Shrewsbury, but he localised them.

Mr Taylor said the first floor statues are, from the left, a Roman soldier possibly Agricola, governor of Britain from AD 78 to 84; St Edmund; Edward I and Edward VI. In the centre gable a freize depicts a royal court and you can now read carving on the beam below saying ‘Canute rebuking his flatterers’.

Jesse Boot’s career began at his herbalist mother’s shop in 1860 and by 1913 he had 560 shops, including Bury’s built in 1910. When Boots moved along Cornhill, it became Martins the Newsagents then Smiths.