The 1921 census shows Arthur William Dockrill worked as a shopkeeper selling “sweets and tobacco” at the premises pictured here at 84 Dunstable Road.
By the 1930s, the shop was listed as a “corn merchant,” which may explain its transition to providing pet supplies.
After the war, it is advertised as selling livestock, potted plants and sundries for the garden.
At the time this photograph was taken, in the 1950s, Arthur’s grandson Jim Oliver Dockrill was at the helm of the operation which occupied what was then 82 and 84 Dunstable Road.
By this time it had become a local attraction. An advertisement placed in the Luton News in 1962 reads: “Parakeets, Canaries, Guinea Pigs, Hamsters, Mice, Rats, Tortoises, Tortoises, Gold and Fancy Fish, Parrots, Macaws, Cockatoos, Mynas, etc. etc. See -all of them on Dockrill’s”.
Separate advertisements from this time advise Lutonians to “display your purebred puppies at Dockrill and sell them quickly” and “If your parakeet won’t talk, give it Dockrill’s Seed.” If he speaks, he will ask for it”.
The much-loved boutique eventually closed its doors in the late 1970s.
Today the buildings that housed Dockrill’s are still in use as furniture stores – but are almost completely unrecognizable after more recent modernizations.
> Which old store in Luton or Dunstable do you miss the most? Email memories to [email protected].co.uk for inclusion in the Luton News/Dunstable Gazette which regularly features articles from Yesteryear like this.