TWO of Botchergate's longest-standing businesses, each with a unique approach to a shared trade, are marking their 90th anniversary this year. 

Despite enduring events like World War II, Cumbria's floods and the recent challenges posed by the pandemic, these family-run establishments have stood the test of time just a door down from each other. 

Both happily sharing the title of Botchergate's oldest business, Palace Cycles and Whiteheads, have had a presence on the street since 1934. 

Mike Lee, the current owner of Palace Bicycles (which took its name from the former next-door theatre), traces the business's history back to his grandfather Bill and great-uncle Walter Lee, who initially ran a bicycle and gramophone repair shop further along the street, before moving into its current premises in the 1940s. 

News and Star: Mike Lee, pictured alongside Palace Cycles interior shot. Mike Lee, pictured alongside Palace Cycles interior shot. (Image: Supplied)

Mike, who took on the business in 1992 from his father, said: "My dad and my mum did everything they could to keep me away from coming into the business...but it nagged and back I came to my parent's horror - now, it's 32 years later."  

Emphasising the bicycle's role in his business and family's history, Mike said: "With all of us, the bicycle has been the driver.

"My dad in particular just thought the bicycle was a great force for good in the world. He thought it was clean, efficient, beautifully eccentric," he said. 

News and Star: Older photographs of Palace Cycles & WhiteheadsOlder photographs of Palace Cycles & Whiteheads (Image: Supplied)

A few steps along the pavement take you to Whiteheads. 

Whiteheads, officially K Whitehead & Son, was established by Kathleen Whitehead and her husband and offers a focus on both biking and motoring. 

Today the legacy is carried on by their grandsons, Paul and David Whitehead. 

Paul, having started his career in 1970 as a 'Saturday boy', moved into full-time work by 1975 after leaving school, a role he affectionately referred to as a 'love.'

News and Star: Paul Whitehead pictured in 2013. Paul Whitehead pictured in 2013. (Image: Supplied)

"Botchergate, you could get anything you wanted in the 70s," Paul said. 

"You could buy a car, couch, TV, butchers, pubs - everything you could want was on that street," he said. 

Despite the competition, both Whiteheads and Palace Cycles have thrived together.

"It feels amazing for us and Whiteheads to be here," Mike said. 

"The more I think about it, the more we compliment each other.

"If I can't help a customer I send them to Whiteheads and vice versa, and I suspect, that's been the case for 90 years.

"When I started 30 years ago, I'd say to people when you can find the shop with glass in the windows that's us, everything else was boarded up. 

"I think that it's remarkable that two shops doing the same product almost, we're the only two businesses in Botchergate to survive and thrive."