Brian Moseley, Plymouth
Webpage created: September 14, 2019
Webpage updated: September 14, 2019




The Plymouth business house of Messrs Fernley Walis (Chemists) Limited was located at number 1 Market Buildings, East Street, Plymouth until the Second World War and thereafter at 1/3 New George Street.

Thomas George Fernley Chapman Wallis born in Plymouth in November 14th 1892 and baptised at Charles Church with his older sister, Emma Chapman Wallis, on February 5th 1893.  He was the second son of Mr George Wallis, a police sergeant, and his wife Rachel Mary, formerly Chapman.  They had married at Plymouth's Saint Andrew's Church on March 1st 1882 and in addition to Emma already mentioned they had a son, William George Henry Chapman Wallis.

Although both his parents came from Cornwall, his later claim to be of Cornish birth was incorrect.

He was educated Cattedown Road Boards Schools and later became President of the Old Cattedonians.

Messrs Fernley Wallis, chemists, at
1 Market Buildings, East Street, Plymouth.
From author's collection.

This was presumably followed by science classes at the Plymouth Technical School as Fernley later became President of their old boys association.

Within six months of becoming qualified as a chemist, Mr Wallis purchased the bankrupt business of Messrs Martin and Palmer at numbers 1 and 2 Market Buildings, East Street.  The year was 1914.  The partners were (possibly Mr John Martin, chemist of Cattedown Road) and (certainly) Mr John M Palmer. 

As Fernley Wallis he married Miss Olive Edna Louisa Ross at the Greenbank United Methodist Chapel, in Plymouth, on Wednesday September 4th 1918.  She was a daughter of Mr William Charles Ross, master butcher, and his wife Alice Maud Ross.

As a chemist, he would have sold Aspro, "In times of Stress, ASPRO Soothes Nerve Strain and brings Sweet Sleep", which in November 1941 was available in packets at 3d, 6d, 1s 3d, and 2s 6d and Germolene Antiseptic Ointment, which in February 1947 was retailing at 1s 4d and 3s 3d per jar including purchase tax.

Although some of the Plymouth Market buildings were severely damaged as a result of the wartime destruction of nearby Bedford Street and Old Town Street, Fernley Wallis's managed to carry on until just before Market Buildings were demolished in January 1952.  The business had been there for 38 years, except for a very short period after the Blitz.

The business reopened at numbers 1 and 3 New George Street, on the corner with Old Town Street, right opposite Boot's the Chemists.

The original interior of Fernley Wallis's shop
in New George Street, Plymouth.
  Robert Chapman Photography.

Mr Wallis, who was President of the Rotary Cub of Plymouth in 1953-54, sold his business early in 1980 and retired to Plympton with his wife, Olive.

Thomas George Fernley Chapman Wallis died at his home, 6 Morley View Road, Plympton, on Saturday September 12th 1981.  The funeral service was held at Embankment Road Methodist Church.

His two sons, Peter Wallis and Raymond Wallis, had both predeceased him and his widow, Mrs Olive Edna Louisa Wallis, passed away only 17 months later, in 1983.