TVs on HP…

croxtall cropped photo

The shop at 277 Charnwood Street (Mr and Mrs Croxtall)

Some time ago now I spoke to Mr and Mrs Croxtall who had the Catherine Electrical Service shop at 277 Charnwood Street from the late 1950s until the street was demolished. The shop was on the corner with Spinney Hill Road, but the business started in Catherine Street selling hardware, and kept the name after moving to Charnwood Street. Mr Croxtall ran the shop, and Mrs Croxtall, who was a hairdresser, helped out when needed. When Charnwood Street was demolished around 1970 it moved nearby to Green Lane Road.

The shop sold televisions as well as repairing them. Television broadcasting by the BBC started in November 1936, but ceased on the outbreak of World War II until June 1946. Less than 15% of households had a TV in 1952, but in the following year many people watched the Coronation on a friend’s set or (like me) on televisions set up in a village hall. After this, as the price of sets gradually came down, television became more and more popular. ITV was available from 1955, but people had to have their existing sets converted or get a new one to receive it. Some of the most popular programmes in the early years of ITV were the quiz shows Take Your Pick and Double Your Money, Sunday Night at the London Palladium, and the hospital drama Emergency Ward 10.

According to an article in the Observer in May 1960, a 17″ table TV set cost from £65 – 75 to buy, and should last for five to seven years, ‘but not without trouble. The best person for the servicing is usually the original retailer…’.* New tubes cost £10 -15, and servicing charges were about 13 shillings an hour for the engineer’s time. Mr Croxtall’s shop sold TV’s on hire purchase, enabling customers to spread the cost by paying in instalments – and ‘there were not many bad customers’. Renting a set was the other option, costing around £100 – 110 for five years with free servicing, usually through one of the two big national companies, Radio Rentals or Domestic Electric Rentals.

There was another TV dealer on Charnwood Street in 1960, Sam Carpenter and Sons, at 192 on the corner of St Saviour’s Road; and in 1969 Schofield’s radio and TV dealer is also listed in a directory at 200 – 202 Charnwood Street. Other local shops selling or repairing radio or electrical equipment included the Radio Manufacturer’s Service at 211 and J & S at 177.

Many thanks to Mr and Mrs Croxtall for the photograph of the shop.








One thought on “TVs on HP…

  1. I was fascinated to see this picture, and for a while I was very confused by it since my mother and father too ran a shop on the corner of Charney and Spinney Hill Rd. This was during the mid 1950s and their shop sold groceries. For a while I wondered if my parents, the Haywoods, hadn’t had the shop before Catherine Electrical – but the picture of that shop didn’t accord with my memory. Our shop had had a yard which could be accessed by a set of double gates which opened to Spinney Hill Rd as it led up the hill to the Sacred Heart church and the adjoining school where I was a pupil. As I say, this confused me for a while until it struck me that our shop had to be on a different corner, one which would have been opposite the shop which later became Catherine Electrical. I wonder if anyone has any memories of our shop. My mother mainly ran it since my father worked at the time at the Danish Bacon company. What I remember – well I would, wouldn’t I? – is that we had a large confectionery section where for an (old) penny you could come away with two Black Jacks (eight a penny), a Flying saucer (four for a penny), two curly red things and licorice stick. Most people though would probably remember it for the boiled ham it sold. My father cooked this in the yard from bacon he bought at staff discounts from work, and he cooked it in one of those old copper tubs people used for boiling washing before the advent of washing machines. On Saturdays the whole of that part of Charney smelled of ham, and queues would soon gather to buy it by the slice or in cobs my mother used to make.

    Incidentally, my grandfather Arthur Hoden and his wife Olive ran another grocery shop at the same time on the corner on Charney and Newby Street. Anyone remember that?

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