Here’s another memory of going to the Imperial cinema in Green Lane Road from Jean Smith nee Raynor:
The pictures was good. A lot of us kids went to the tuppenny rush, and it was very noisy. When the baddies were on in the cowboy films us kids would boo, and when the goodies came out it would be ‘Hurrah’, and some kids would come out the pictures riding a pretend horse. The Imperial was only a small place, it had one row upstairs and the downstairs sloped down at the front. One day my sister Janet and her friend went to the ‘Greeny’ – that is what we called it. Well, it was chucking it down with rain outside. They were sitting on the front row [and] rain came in through the front of the pictures and it ran down to the front, so their feet were wet through! Then some plaster fell off the ceiling onto Jan’s head and she had got her new hat on. Her friend rolled off laughing!
Other memories of childhood in Charny include earning a few pennies by doing the shopping for people who struggled to get to the shops, or doing a paper round. Roy Hallam would:
help the Co-op milkman with his horse Billy (the last horse-drawn milk float). He would pay me sixpence, which enabled me to go to the cinema in the afternoon down in Green Lane Road. When I was 13 years of age (1954) it was lawful to earn money, and this I did by delivering the Leicester Mercury for Flinders the newsagents, who were located between Flint Street and Shenton Street on Charnwood Street. They paid me three shillings and six pence a week for six nights, which enabled me to purchase a brand new Elswick racing bike from Vine’s cycle shop in Charny.
Arthur Beyless did a paper round for Flinders as well, and also remembers a small shop on the same side of the road that sold radio parts and ‘ex-military “bits”, things like front cycle lights with a black-out cover which had a slit in it to reduce the light. Another ‘odd shop to us children was a divers’ shop which sold all manner of underwater equipment’ [the Midland Diving Equipment Co at 143 Charnwood Street].
Christine Oliver, who lived on the corner of Mere Road in the 1950s recalls being sent on an errand to fetch ‘a slip of snuff for my grandmother that took me to the Humberstone Road junction with Forest Road. I don’t think a three year old would be sent on errands now!’. Christine Oliver nee Adcock spent ‘lots of happy times at my Nan’s and Granddad’s having boiled egg shelling competitions with my Nan, who always won, and helping her to roll her knitting wool, watching Cowboy and Indian films with my Granddad, and also every Saturday checking the pools (football), sitting on the corner in their fire grate’.
Weekends were definitely the time for treats of various kinds. Lorraine Gee-Nicholls remembers that:
Each Friday afternoon/evening my mum would take me with her when she went to have her hair washed and set or permed at Eunice’s hairdressers in Charny, and we always popped into Paddy’s Swag Shop and I was allowed a little treat. As money was a little tight in those days I assume the toys or games were cheap and cheerful, but saying that I was always grateful and remember looking forward to going to the shop. Afterwards mum and I walked to my dad’s garage where we would get a lift home with dad.
Many thanks to Michael Westmorland and Arthur Beyless for permission to reproduce the photo of Flinders’ shop and the Employment Card, and to everyone for their memories. If they’ve jogged some of your own, please share them by leaving a reply below!