Kindred Spirits: The Oriental, Blanche and White Greengrocers and the old newspaper sellers remembered
Ipswich town centre is constantly evolving as shoppers’ habits change.
Small specialist shops dominated until the 1960s when supermarkets, like Fine Fare in Westgate Street and Elmo’s at Majors Corner, first opened.
In the eighties and nineties centres in the Buttermarket and Tower Ramparts also brought a new style of shopping. In more recent years the internet has seen many purchases made online or buyers using “click and collect”.
In a recent Kindred Spirits Paul Hyder, of Claydon, recalled the shops of his youth in the 1950s and early 1960s, when he lived above the shoe shop his father managed in Westgate Street.
Others have since recalled the shops of their childhood.Paul’s letter has now brought another detailed response from a reader and David Kindred has found more photographs from the past to jog memories.
Does this week’s set of photographs bring back memories?
Graham Smee said: “Paul Hyder’s recollections of Ipswich in the 1950s have certainly sparked off some memories for me. His recall is amazingly comprehensive and accurate and he is certainly worthy of congratulations. Some of my reawakened thoughts follow.
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“The Oriental: well remembered. When my wife and I were courting we often called there in the early evening for Welsh rarebit and chips, followed by peach melba and coffee.
Front of house was a ‘Major Domo’-like character, dressed similar to a butler, but with a bow tie. His function was to greet and show the more affluent dinner guests to their tables and present the menu. His name, I think, was Charles. He never used to bother with us. We were always attended to by the same very nice lady waitress, whose name I regrettably cannot remember.
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“Blanche and White Greengrocers: I very well remember Mr Blanche. Before I married in 1959 I lived with my parents in Brantham. Throughout the 50s my father was very keen to have a car, which in those days not every “ordinary” household had. To help his car fund he grew lettuce, which he asked me to transport by bus to Ipswich and convey them to Mr Blanche. Upon receipt Mr Blanche would inspect them and decide how much he was going to pay. The price given was fair. The quantities were relatively small and hence the returns were not hugely significant, but in those days every shilling counted.
In their final years I believe Blanche and White relocated to Upper Brook Street.
“Newspaper sellers: The seller outside the EADT/Star office in Carr Street, in addition to the dark green uniform, wore highly polished leather gaiters. His chant was often “Star or News” pause “Local Paper”. On match Saturdays the Green Un was also available anytime after 5.30pm.
“The Tiny Lady and her (quite tall) husband newspaper sellers often used to stand in Dogs Head Street at the junction with St Stephen’s Lane outside a long since demolished milk bar and opposite the Eastern Counties bus station.
“They often wore hessian sacking aprons and in bad weather bound their legs in hessian also.
“The Eastern Counties bus station at the old Cattle Market: The station was well organised in those days. It comprised a covered garage, the entrance being further along Dogs Head Street past the Plough. The buses would emerge crossing Turret Lane onto the open stand area. They would then be announced by an inspector before passengers embarked. One such inspector was Bert, of florid complexion and stentorian voice. He had a crippled arm and clamped his clip board under it. He had an encyclopaedic knowledge of routes and times. I can still hear him bellowing “Somersham”.
“Hairdresser: Paul mentions where he got his hair cut. I used a barber in Arcade Street. I cannot remember his name although Fisher comes to mind, but well may not be accurate. He was reputed to cut Carl Giles’ hair and certainly he had signed copies of Giles’ cartoons on display. He was a kindly man and gave me three folding cameras that were surplus to his requirements.
“The Ritz Cinema: A favourite haunt for dad and me, because of the Wurlitzer organ which used to arise from the pit and be played during the intervals.
“I repeat my admiration for the work that Paul has done and look forward to seeing more articles of a similar nature.”