End of an era for one of Lincoln’s oldest family-run businesses

Bigger of Bailgate, one of the oldest family-run businesses in Lincoln, is shutting up shop after over 70 years of trading.

The uphill kitchen shop at 48 Bailgate was opened in 1944 by Fred and Nellie Bigger, originally selling ironmongery and hardware items.

Fred and Nellie Bigger set up the Bigger of Bailgate hardware shop in 1944. Photo: BofB

Fred and Nellie Bigger set up the Bigger of Bailgate hardware shop in 1944. Photo: BofB

The business was passed down through the generations, evolving into a homeware and cookery specialism and expanding to incorporate a growing online marketplace.

Last year the company, including Nellie Bigger herself who was still playing a big part in the running of operations at the age of 92, celebrated their 70th anniversary.

Biggers of Bailgate staff (L to R) Simon Bilton, Andrew Madden and Kate Edgar. Photo: Steve Smailes for The Lincolnite

Bigger of Bailgate staff (L to R) Simon Bilton, Andrew Madden and Kate Edgar celebrating their 70th birthday last year. Photo: Steve Smailes for The Lincolnite

Andrew Madden took over his grandmother’s business over 20 years ago.

He said: “The decision to close has not been easy as Bigger of Bailgate has been a family business for 72 years, but after 55 years of being involved in the business, Director Peter Bigger has decided that he would like to retire entirely from the business.

“After 22 years I’ve decided I would like to move on.

“The business will be trading until the end of March.

“Thanks to everyone who has supported us. We have been involved with some fantastic people over the years, and a special thank you to our long serving staff.”

Staff and customers have years of fond memories of the shop.

Simon Bilton who had worked at Biggers for 33 years told The Lincolnite during the team’s 70th birthday celebrations: “One of my fondest memories was a disaster that had a positive result. We accidently started a massive fire at the back of the shop and it all had to be rebuilt. We ended up with a nice new extension!”

Lincoln residents and visitors also left many compliments on the news story last year.

Jane Rimmer said: “I have such happy memories of Biggers, from when my mother lived just round the corner in Chapel Lane.”

Kare Hinojosa said: “My grandad used to take me there to buy a little toy car each Saturday. Loved it, great memories.”