Carol Simmons recalls the 1950s and 60s in and around Powis Road and West Hill…
I was born at 9a Powis Road in the front room on 4 June 1950. My first recollection of the street is when I was about 3 years old and was allowed to ride to the lamp post at the top of the street and back again on my little red trike. My childhood was very happy, kids were always playing on the Green, which in those days did not have a fence as the railings were taken away during the war or any trees in the middle as are there today, so climbing the older trees was a great pastime of mine.
No great incidents occurred apart from when a car ran away down Powis Square one day and crashed into garage next to the church and No 8. Nobody was hurt. I remember when a milk float somehow shed masses of milk bottles outside the Temple Inn in Victoria Road, now the doctors’ surgery and when the Bedford Hotel burnt down it was a spectacular view from there.
There were shops everywhere, selling anything you could possibly need. I would cut through the church yard in those days (as the West Hill Hall was not yet built) to my little boyfriend who lived in St Michael’s Place. We had to be very careful to dodge the vicar or we would get a right telling off. Sometimes my grandma would take me up Clifton Road to the Domestic Stores to get a gallon of pink paraffin for her stove. It seemed like miles away to me. It smelled so lovely inside in the winter, the oil stove would be burning in the shop and it had a lovely warm ‘paraffiny’ smell. Opposite this shop was Clifton Road Congregational Church, where I attended the Girl’s Life Brigade, later the Girl’s Brigade, until I was 18 years old. The Clifton Road College was next door, a lovely little school. Grandma would go into Dyke Road to Mr Coleman’s, the fish monger, and get two penneth of fish heads for our cats. She would boil them up and pick the fish off. Sometimes she would buy me a threepenny lucky bag from the tiny sweet shop a couple of doors away, which was a real treat for me. Later in life when I left school at 15 I went to work in the Teresa Florist next door to the sweet shop, now Blenio’s restaurant. Here are some of my “now and then” memories of shops in the area. [Interesting to see the number of greengrocers…the newly opened Grocer and Grain is keeping up a tradition – Ed]
#1 now an empty video shop, then Newings Greengrocer, which was particularly lovely at Christmas, with trees, holly, mistletoe hanging outside. Inside was a wooden floor and piles of fruit in the windows. Vinegar was sold out of wooden barrels, there were bunches of mint and you could always smell beetroot cooking in the back.
#2 now residential, then Trethewy/Brown grocers.
#3 now a dry cleaner, then Gray & White glaziers
#4a now derelict, then greengrocer/cakes and bread
#4 now residential, then Mr Gilbert’s Chemist, who always raised his hat to my mum and me.
#67 now SixtySeven gift shop, then Domestic Cash stores
#69 –71 now a dentist, then a grocer and Heidi, a knitting wool shop.
#81 now an Osteopathy clinic, then Major’s jewellers
#83 now Body Pacify, then greengrocer
#85 now Michael Paul Insurance, then Mr Coleman the fishmonger
#87=89 now Blenio restaurant, then a sweet shop and Teresa Florist
#95-97 now Tin Drum, then a Butcher and Rose Sports shop
#121 now Just Gents barbers, then Peter’s Florist (where I worked)
#106a now the Co-op, then Tesco
#104-102 now Tinkers, then Channel Cleaners and Homewards Newsagents
#98 now Ashtons chemist, then Ashtons
#92 now Italian deli, then greengrocers
#90 now Red Snapper, then Wonder Bar
#88 now Uden, then Blaker’s Butchers
#86 now Aramas, then Forfars bakers
#87 now Moorish Deli, then Marine Cash Reg
#82 now Rat & Trumpet, then the Compton Arms public house
#80 now Magic Lighting Co, then Lucille’s Hairdressers
#68-70 now Parker Plumbing, then a confectioners and cooked meat shop
#64 now Classic Cuts, then Burfoot’s greengrocer.
#99-101 now Mishon Mackay, then a launderette
#109 now Sobs, then Peggy’s Café
#115 now Murasaki, then a Health Care shop and the Dials Café
#119 now Jagwa salon, then tobacconist