Based on recollections of
shops in Edgware, north London in the 1940s - see photos looking south and
looking north. See also the
shops in the High Street.
Spurriers was another bakers just beyond the railway hotel, opposite
St Margaret's Church.
In the late 1940s I had a bread round between Edgware and Burnt Oak.
It was a Saturday morning job and paid the grand sum of 2
shillings - a fortune for
me at the age of 9-10.
The small green van, labelled Avery Bread Co, would pull up outside
the Gaumont cinema and I would get in. Then the old geezer who was the driver would
start driving round the streets. He would pull up outside each house
on the round and yell out to me what bread I was to deliver there.
There was only one bakers shop in the group of shops close to Edgware
Station which my mother frequented. It was known as Brills, so I suppose
it was run by a Brills or Brill family. They did deliver, but nevertheless,
the shop did a roaring trade. What I remember more than anything else was that
the queues often stretched outside the door and into the street.
Lewis the tobacconist shop can be seen close to the corner on the left in
the above photo. My mother's visits there were not only to buy
for my father who, like most men of the time, smoked. She would also buy pipe
cleaners in the form of cotton-padded pliable wire which she used to curl up
her hair overnight.
Flying fox paying system. The sales assistant unscrewed
a canister and put the money and the bill in it. He then screwed it up and
pulled a release mechanism, upon which the canister flew along a cable to
the cashier. The change and receipt came back the same way. Screen shot
from an old film.
The only department store in Edgware was Stanley J Lee which was owned by
the Lee family and, as far as I know, had no branches anywhere but Edgware.
The people of Edgware seemed to be rather proud that their town boasted a department
store. So it could not have been common.
The department store, Lees as it was called, was on two sites in Station
Road: one sold haberdashery, fabrics, underwear, etc and the other sold clothes.
What I remember particularly was how the customers paid. The sales assistant
sent each bill and the money in a special container along a cable to a central
till. Then the cashier sent back the change the same way. I think that the device
was called a flying fox.
There was only one furniture shop in Edgware, which I remember. It was
called Times Furnishing and looked very grand to me, as a child, because it
had large windows and a large shop floor. That must have been well after
1945 when the Second World War ended
because during the war many furniture shops closed because they couldn't get
the stock. Times Furnishing closed in the late 1950s and the
Green Shield Stamp
tower was built on its site.
There was another furniture shop which I don't remember because it
had to close shortly after the beginning of the Second World War. It had been called Oustons, and had been owned
and run by the Ouston family. My mother always bemoaned the fact that it had
had to close. When she and my father married in 1938, they had used it a
great deal to set up home.
Portable newspaper trolley.
Over time, tobacconists combined with newsagents, but I remember very little
about it. I don't think we ever had newspapers, because all the news was on
the radio. Also a great treat was to go to
the cinema, known as the pictures, and there was always a Pathe News
between films. There was a W H Smith shop in the 1950s, and I suppose it was
also there in the 1940s. As far as I remember it was essentially a bookshop,
but it may also have sold stationery.
Newspaper sellers who I remember stood outside in the street at places where
people would be passing, like the station. They displayed the day's headlines
with chalk on a blackboard or inside a billboard frame. The newspapers and magazines
were kept in place with lengths of spring, so that they could easily be pulled
out for customers. The newspaper sellers called attention to themselves by shouting,
"Read all about it! Read all about it".
Inside a typical 1940s and 1950s sweet shop, where most sweets were
weighed out for each customer from large glass jars. Photo courtesy of
Send and Ripley History Society.
The day after sweet rationing ended, my mother took my brother and me to a sweet shop in Edgware High Street,
as it was rumoured to have a new delivery of sweets. By the time we got there,
though, all that was left were a few sticks of liquorice flavoured wood chews – such disappointment after all the build up!
Our sweet shop was Maynards, a chain store. I remember it from the
late 1950s and suppose it was also there earlier. However sweets were rationed
until 1953, so it couldn't have done a particularly good trade. It was next
to the cinema to capitalise on what seemed to be a normal expectation: that
going to 'the pictures', as the cinema was called, was a treat and therefore
deserving of sweets.
There is a photograph of the Edgware Maynards on the
There was a photographic studio more or less opposite W H Smiths. The photographer's name was Mr Dixon, and we had several photos taken by him there. (I
still have a couple of photos with his stamp on them). Later on, the studio slowly turned into a camera shop.
It was the first shop in what is now the major Dixon camera-shop chain.
This website Join me in the 1900s is a contribution to the social history of everyday life in early to mid 20th century Britain, seen through personal recollections and illustrations, with the emphasis on what it was like to live in those times. It is © Pat Cryer.