TWO new independent shops have opened in Devizes.

Partners Bob Gilmore and Ceri Brooks bought the 17th century John Kent House in the Market Place to live in but last month opened a shop in a downstairs room.

Ms Brooks has been a self-employed bespoke seamstress in the Devizes area for 20 years and decided it was time to open a shop.

Her business Hen House sells women's and children’s clothes, designed and made by her on the premises. It also sells accessories including jewellery, knitwear and handbags.

The couple also sells women’s and gent’s toiletries by D.R. Harris of London.

Ms Brooks said: “It’s nice making my own designs and really satisfying when someone comes in and buys them. I love the building and its history. We have had customers in who used to work here when it was a solicitors office and antiques shop.”

Mr Gilmore, who gave up his graphic design business and moved from London to start the venture with Ms Brooks, said: “Having our own shop is a brand new experience and we were very keen for the shop to be slightly different and to be far more personal. It has a homely feel.”

Their shop is two doors down from the former Gazette & Herald office.

Meanwhile, the former Julian Graves shop at the top of The Brittox has been let to Tim Landergan, who has opened a lifestyle accessories and upmarket giftware shop called Tila.

Mr Landergan is the husband of Sam Hooper-Browning who owns Essentially For You, offering natural therapies, in The Ginnel.

He has relocated his shop from the Brunel Centre, Swindon, because it was not successful.

He said: “I opened in Swindon about this time last year but concluded Swindon was not the right location and I closed it in June. I was going to go into Chippenham but the deal there fell through.

“At that time this unit (in Devizes) was being heavily marketed and it was too good an opportunity to miss.

“Reaction from customers has been very positive, I have had a lot of people in. My first three trading days here have exceeded considerably what we did in Swindon.”

Mr Landergan lives with his wife in Potterne and is an accountant.