NO country town is complete without a saddler’s shop.
It’s part of country life, and for 74 years in the small shop in Narrowgate, Alnwick, the Castles, father and son, have made and repaired saddles and harness and all the accoutrements of the horse.
Now the shop is to close, for Mr David Thompson Castles, who is 77, is to retire on July 17.
A widower, he will live with his son in Oaky Balks, Alnwick.
Born in Alnwick, Mr Castles was educated at the Borough School, and after serving his apprenticeship with his father took over the business after serving in the Army, on his father’s death.
He has seen big changes since the days when some farms had as many as 12 pairs of horses, and all the harnesses had to be repaired and kept in trim.
Now the biggest trade is in riding equipment.
Mr Castles was admitted a Freeman of Alnwick at the age of 16, and was for many years a member of the Freemen’s Council, at one time being senior chamberlain, a position he held when he retired from the Council in 1957.
Mr Castles plans to spend his retirement quietly.
His hobby is music and at one time he played the violin in Mr Fred ‘Brizlee’ Willcox’s orchestra, and in various local orchestral societies.
He does not intend to take up violin playing again, but will enjoy listening to classical concerts, his favourite composers being Mozart and Handel.