Sainsbury’s tiles and hot cross buns

Hot cross buns

Hot cross buns - Credit: Archant

Was Lynne the only Ipswich girl who got up to buy hot cross buns straight from the oven?

My piece on Ipswich shops sparked some memories last week.

Sheila Rhodda wrote in to say she remembered the stores fondly... except for Gardiners. “I have racked my brains trying to place where it was.”

According to a post on the website: “In the late 1950s & early 1960s Corder’s created “Gardiners” which, I think was for the young & trendy younger women, this was at the corner of Tavern St & Dial Lane! They also opened a restaurant! The original Gardiners on the site were mantle makers!”

So this may be the answer.

Terry Bramer of Capel St Mary got in touch to talk about the Sainsbury store in Tavern Street which is now Nationwide Building Society.

He writes: “Do you remember the standard style and layout? Counters on either side as you went in the door and a payment “booth” at the far end in varnished wood. There were coloured tiles on the walls and separate sections of the counters sold bacon, dry goods etc, and butter was made into blocks on the counter in front of you.

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“My then girlfriend (now wife) and I used to shop in the branch in Edgware Road, near her flat in Willesdon Green, around 1960. The trick to minimise time spent queuing in the shop was for us to divide the shopping list carefully and each go to separate parts of the counters in a sequence to buy items.

“The tiles on the walls, or most of them, still survive. A few years ago, when Nationwide had a makeover, I went in one day when some of the added-on wall panelling had been temporarily removed, and saw the tiles still in place.”

I have, perhaps, a good reason to remember this well as I went to work for Nationwide after leaving college in 1973.

I was there for a couple of years and often looked at the tiles.

The shop in Westgate Street (I think it became MacFisheries) did not have the booth at the end and, as a small girl, I thought there it was a magic hatch because sometimes it was there and sometimes it wasn’t.

Only much later did I realise there were two of them.

It is Good Friday tomorrow and, in the true spirit of nostalgic wallowing, as a girl I used to get up at 6am, cycle round to the bakery on Foxhall Road (east of Bull Motors) and buy hot cross buns hot from the oven. Then I’d cycle home and make everyone get up and eat one.

Now I get them from Sainsbury!