Charny shops in the 1950s…

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.


7 thoughts on “Charny shops in the 1950s…

  1. I’m sure many will remember Foster Bros at; 229/231 Charnwood Street. I had my first school uniform there and I do believe it was there first shop in a chain where they also had one on Clock Tower.

    Albert Goodrich the watch maker at; 217. I still have a watch that belonged to my late father that came from there bought in 1960.

    Although not in Charnwood Street. Many will remember Bones cycle shop around the corner at 1, Mere Road on the corner of Occupation Road where my first cycle was bought before he moved to nearby Green Lane Road.

    • The cycle shop on the corner of Mere Road &Occupation Road was known as Biily Bones, but Reg Bones his son ran the shop and Billy had a shop that recharged accumulators on Melbourne Road facing Worthingtons grocers near the Melbourne cinema.

      • Thanks for this George. I have some more memories of cycle shops that people have sent me – I’ll sort them out and post them onto the website.

  2. My mum Rita Cooper (nee Lee) was born in no. 269 in 1940 and lived there with her brother Albert sister June and my grandparents, Albert “Nobby” and Alice “Min” Lee. Mum left when she married in 1961 to live on Green Lane Road above Harold Lee the butchers (no relation). Nana and Grandad lived in Charny until street was demolished in the seventies. There was a sweet shop called Joblins, which mum tells me was the only shop open on Sunday until probably the mid fifties when Sadie’s sweet shop also stayed open. Grandad was a butcher and Frank Lee, the butcher mentioned in the article, was his cousin. Mum worked at Parnells bakers on Saturday mornings as a youngster and also had a paper round Monday to Saturday for Astells/Grants.
    Wilkinsons aka Wilkos the home/hardware stores actually started on Charny – I haven’t seen this mentioned anywhere yet. Apparently there was a pawnbrokers down the entry next to Bagnalls clothes shop, which was regularly used by Charny residents.

  3. In the row of shops between St.Saviours Road and Preston Street Weightmans who used to sell meccano, dinkie toys,and hornby trains. There was a Smiths greengrocers also in this block of shops.

  4. There was a laundry in Charnwood Street which took in “bag wash”. It was run by Mrs Finney. It was on the other side of the road opposite the Chemists (Hill, I think) a bit further along in the Spinney Hill Road direction. There was a junk shop on the corner run by Mr Puscka (? Spelling). I remember going into Paddy’s Swag Shop. I thought the owner was very outgoing but he reminded me of Mr Punch. I was very young though. I also remember going to a paper shop to buy snuff for a neighbour. I was probably about five and yes, he sold it to me. I had no idea what it was. I also used to buy her a bar of Fry’s chocolate at the same time. She lived in a house in Shenton Street which had also formerly been a shop.

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