A better class of second hand clothes in Charny…

Mrs Bird's shop just before demolition in 1970 - is this the same shop?

Mrs Bird’s shop just before demolition in 1970 – is this the same shop? (Michael Westmorland)

Does anyone remember Bird’s second hand clothes shop in Charnwood Street? Here are some memories from Sarah Lissaman whose grandparents kept the shop:

Their shop was Frank Bird or it may have been Frank Bird and Son. It sold second hand clothes, and as a child I stayed there most Saturday nights. I used to climb into the window and sit there or try on the clothes. I used to be allowed to use the ‘reach me down’, a pole with a brass hook on the end to pull down the canopy over the window.

My Grandpa would go to wealthy people’s houses in Stoneygate etc. to get the clothes to sell, and liked to think he had a better class of second hand clothes! – but my mum says he often would give clothes to poor people for free. He also stood on Leicester Market for many years and was quite a well known character.

The first thing I did when I arrived on Saturday afternoon, once given a few pennies, was run down to Paddy’s Swag and buy a toy. Sometimes it was plastic spiders or flies, or finger nails painted red. Also I remember the kind of small ladybird or fly which you held a magnet behind to run over your jumper. It would move if you wiggled the magnet underneath. I would also buy joke items to scare or annoy my parents when they joined us for tea after work.

I’m not sure if the photo above is of the same shop – can anyone tell me? Paddy’s Swag Shop was a few doors down to the left if that helps.

Many thanks to Sarah for her memories, and to Michael Westmorland for permission to reproduce the photo.


6 thoughts on “A better class of second hand clothes in Charny…

  1. I think Bird’s clothes went on to Catherine Street / Surrey St

    Interestingly, Bird’s Butchers was on the corner of Catherine St / Brandon Street early 1900’s.

    Kind regards


  2. you are correct with the shop’s position. It was on the corner of Frank St (which was bombed at humberstone rd end. I remember the shop well as I born in 1935 at 252 which is the house on the left of the picture and next to Paddy’s. I lived there until I joined the R.A.F in 1953. Such memories, never to be forgotten, Tony Towers

  3. further to my earlier reply, I believe that there was also a second hand shop opposite our house (next to Joblin’s) which was also owned by a member of the Bird family. I believe there were quite a few second hand shop around Leicester run by the the Bird clan. I also remember a fish and chip shop between Joblin’s and Edwin st, where you got a pennyworth of scratchings. This must have been about 1940-43. Before Paddys swag shop it was called B&P (Bogle & Parlett?) selling radios etc., but I may be wrong about that. Regards Tony

  4. Hi Tony

    I’ve had a look in a Kelly’s Directory and I think the shop you remember (at 250 Charnwood Street) was B P Cycle Radio Co, wireless dealers. Does that sound right? Best wishes. Cynthia Brown.

    • perfectly correct ! I have a photograph taken sitting on my front step taken about 1946 with myself, Valerie Bowers (that’s the B in B.P) and Malcolm Ball (son of Les Ball – cooked meat shop next to Frank Lee’s), if I knew how to upload it I would. Thanks Tony.

  5. Hi if sara is still monitoring this post or anyone knows of her could you please inform her that Frank sadly passed away this morning with his family by his side at the age of 93 a truly wonderful man who will be sadly missed by all who new him.

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