Shops serve up treats and memories

THE local shops of your childhood remain a firm memory for the whole of your life.

David Kindred

THE local shops of your childhood remain a firm memory for the whole of your life.

A bag of sweets or chips are an important feature in a child's mind and the shopkeepers' names and faces remain in your mind.

A note from mum and a shopping bag saw thousands of children on a mission to the grocers or butchers in the generations who grew up before the habit of a weekly shop by car at a giant supermarket.

Peter Shaw, of Swilland, recalls growing up there between 1939 and 1959 in the Orford Street area of Ipswich. Peter drew a map of the area from the past, which Jon Elsey, the Evening Star's graphic artist, has interpreted.

Peter said: “In 1939 when I was four years old my family moved from 1 Waterloo Road, Ipswich, to settle at 40 Orford Street. My mother told me that father hired Freddy Elvin, who worked from the yard of the Rose and Crown at the junction of Bramford Road and Norwich Road, with his horse and cart to move all our goods and chattels. The house had no bathroom, so we used a bath in front of the fire. The water was heated in a brick copper in the corner of the kitchen. The house had no electricity and all lighting and cooking was by gas.

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“The shops and businesses I recall from my years growing up in include a small private school in Redan Street (1) run by Miss Darleston. It was for 15 pupils aged from seven to 15. Mr Sharman and his son were plumbers and builders in Alpe Street. At the corner of South Street and Orford Street (3) there was a general store, selling sweets, tobacco and tinned goods when available. At the corner of Orford Street and Norwich Road was the Hare and Hounds public house (4), which had a billiard table. The pub is still there today.

“Arthur Hardy was a grocer at 50 Orford Street on the corner of Newson Street (5). During World War Two he sold all rationed food at his shop. You had to sign a register with your ration book. On Saturdays and holidays I worked for Mr Hardy delivering customers' orders. The orders came in notebooks along with the ration book.

“Mr Hardy ordered in bulk and packed everything in blue craft paper. Sugar from the sack packed in 1lb bags, cheese was split from large rounds, which were so heavy two people would have to put it on the marble slab ready for cutting with a cheese wire. Butter came in large boxes and Mr Hardy would use butter pats to make into half or quarter pound packs. Bacon came in whole sides which had to be de-boned before putting on the slicing machine.

“One of my jobs in the cellar was putting vinegar in half pints from a large barrel. Also kindling wood was delivered to us in large sacks, which I had to make into bundles on a machine, which put a wire round the top. I used to do all the deliveries on a trade bike with a basket on the front.

“Mrs Shaw's (no relation) shop in Orford Street (6) sold tobacco and sweets when available. You were allowed two ounces of sweets per week, but only if you had enough coupons in your ration book. At 32 Orford Street (7) was the Westerfield and Akenham Dairy run by the Mundy sisters. Two of the sisters always wore jodhpurs and used a van for deliveries, while the other sister delivered locally using a cart. Sometimes we were lucky; they would give us extra eggs because I was often ill. As boys we would help push the cart up the Orford Street hill.

“Raymond Jackson was a potato merchant with a warehouse in Orford Street (8). The Brewers Arms public house (9) in Orford Street then only sold beer and cider. They had a very small off licence next door. Gould's pork butchers (10) in Orford Street made wonderful pork cheese, faggots, chitterlings, sausages and pork fat. Pork scraps, which cost one penny, came in a twist of newspaper, I used to queue for these as a child. During the Second World War all Gould's products were off ration.

“At number 4 Orford Street was Sabatella's fish and chip shop (11). His method of cooking was a brick and tile base with two coke fires underneath. The chips were cooked in two very large white enamel bowls. The top was enclosed by a wood and glass enclosure with two sliding doors. The cooked chips were put into a container in the front window of the shop. We would queue down Orford Street as far as Norwich Road waiting for a bag of chips.

“Mr Sabatella rationed his potatoes and sometimes after waiting for ages he would run out of chips and we would all be turned away. The shop and the cooker were extremely clean as they were scrubbed every day. All his chips were fried in lard. There was no fish until after the Second World War.

“Kitty Parker turned her front room in Newson Street (12) into a small shop selling only boot laces, polish, cotton and thread. Albert Mayes ran a general store (13) and off-license at 6 Newson Street. In a yard off Newson Street was Jackson's, potato store (14). The army barracks, which occupied the site between Berners Street and Newson Street, had a depot (15) nearby where they kept a Bren gun carrier with a Piat gun.

“Wilfred Denny was a wireless mechanic in the same yard (16). He only had one arm. When soldering he would tuck the soldering iron under his artificial left arm. He built one of the first televisions in Ipswich but it was very difficult to watch as the picture was all spots and lines. Walter Ward (17) next door to him was a carpenter. There was a large two storey warehouse (18) in Gymnasium Street with all sorts of paper. It was run by Mr Rendall. In the same building was an ex-Army and Navy store (19). This was run by Mr Brown. Also in Gymnasium Street was the Aerated Water Company (20). They made fizzy drinks including 'Vimto'.

“At the corner of Gymnasium Street and Newson Street (21) there were two metal bins used to collect pig swill. This was collected daily. We saved all our vegetable peelings and any food not eaten to put in the bins.”

- Do Peter Shaw's memories remind you of your life in the past? Write to Kindred Spirits at the Evening Star 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich IP1 4LN or e-mail