It all began in the year before the Battle of Trafalgar whilst England was fighting the Napoleonic Wars. At that time Ramsgate was the port from which troops and stores sailed to the Continent. The Duke of Wellington (then Sir Arthur Wellesley) stayed with his Headquarters staff at the London Hotel in Ramsgate (the site now occupied by the HSBC Bank), which was owned by Robert Page and his younger brother Richard. At that time, there was a threat of
invasion by Napoleon and among those caught up in the invasion scare was a grocer named Fisher. He offered his shop on the corner of Harbour Street and Market Place for sale and hastily left the town. The Iron Duke had taken a liking to young Richard, then just 24, and advised him to buy the empty grocer’s shop. Richard took his advice and invested his life savings in the new venture in 1804, establishing a business which has been passed on from father to son for seven generations.