Sunday morning in Charnwood Street…

post war bluesHere’s an extract about Charnwood Street from Valerie Tedder’s book on Leicester in the 1950s, Post War Blues (Leicester City Council, 1999):

Then there was Charnwood Street, a road with every shop you could imagine from one end to the other. Frequently on a lovely Sunday morning we would go for a walk along the street from Spinney Hill Road to Nedham Street, fascinated by the little shops and the wares for sale.

The shops closed at 1 pm and all the crowds dispersed. Second-hand clothes and furniture shops were busy places. Second-hand jewellers and knick-knack shops held our attention. There was always something to catch the eye. I recall that Mum purchased several pairs of shoes from a discount store and lots of baby clothes for Julie [Valerie’s sister]. Fruit and vegetable, sweet and newsagents, corner shop grocers, all did a roaring trade between 8 am and 1 pm. If you could not get what you wanted in town, you usually could from one of the shops in Charnwood Street.

I had a relative named [Francis] Wright who owned a small music shop along the street. He played accordion, sold pianos, sheet music and musical instruments. Years later when Charnwood Street began to lose its shops and folk moved away, he sold his shop and took up teaching the accordion at one of the large houses on University Road, which he converted into a music studio.

When Charnwood Street was pulled down to make way for better housing, the old community spirit and simple and honest trading for the less fortunate members of society was lost forever. Many remember Charnwood Street with affection.

Many thanks to Valerie for permission to reproduce this extract from Post War Blues, which is available in local libraries. More about Francis Wright at https://cib2.wordpress.com/2012/10/22/charnys-accordian-teacher/.

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