Does anyone remember the Diana Doll’s Hospital at 145 Charnwood Street? This was a toy shop, listed there in a street directory in 1954. I assume you could get your dolls repaired there, but I haven’t been able to find anything more about it. Some other shops from the 1950s that might be more familiar include greengrocers like Alf Bannister at 130 and Charles’s at 261, Dalton’s hardware store at 233, the butcher Frank Lee at 246, and Bagnall’s drapery store at 214 – 218. Mr Bagnall was recalled as ‘very strict – sitting in his cubby-hole where the till was, watching his assistants like a hawk’. Mrs Hanford, who lived in Charnwood Street until the mid-1940s, remembered getting gingham at Bagnall’s for a summer dress: ‘Sixpence farthing a yard. People would give a halfpenny if they had no farthing and get a string of pins on paper instead of the farthing change’.
Vine’s cycle shop was at 212, where Mr Vine himself was a familiar sight arriving in the morning in his bowler hat and carrying a leather case. Next door at 210 was Harvey Chaplin and Son’s music shop. Ray Massey recalled that his grandmother bought a piano as a wedding present for my mother and father from there – and Harvey Chaplin used to sit and play in the shop window on a Saturday afternoon when the street was busy. Mrs B. Bailey also had a piano from Chaplin’s: ‘My piano at home had seen better days (yellow keys and notes missing!), and my older brothers and sisters clubbed together and bought me a piano for 17 guineas. It was delivered on a wooden barrow after the shop closed on Saturday night. I was beside myself with excitement! The piano was paid for on the “weekly” – I took the money in every week: about 1/6d, I believe’.
Paddy’s Swag Stores were at 257, and Hynard Hughes, wine and spirit merchants, with its flashing electrical sign, was at 189. The Maypole Dairy Co had a branch at 228, and the ‘receiving offices’ of the Wyvern and Empire laundries were at 166 and 186 respectively. Eunice, the ladies’ hairdresser, was at 112, and the hairdressing shop of Ernest Toone – popularly known as ‘Lilting’ by family and friends – at 224. There were several bakers’ shops – Gordon Brant at 197, Parnell’s at 263 and Getliffe’s at 153 – while James Jelly ran his undertaking business from 173.
These are just some of the shops in Charney in the 1950s, and just a few of the memories that people have passed on to me. There are more to follow – but if you’d like to add some of your own, leave me a comment below…
My thanks to Ray Massey, Patricia Kirby, Mrs Bailey and Mrs Hanford for permission to include their memories.