Everyone who has lived in Hyde and is over a certain age, will have heard of or visited Brooke's Ironmongers on Market Street. Before the coming of B & Q and other similar shops, Brookes was the only place to go for anything to do with ironmongery or DIY supplies. The shop was very cluttered with nearly everything in little drawers behind the busy counter. Brookes closed the Market St shop in 1992 and move round the corner in Water St for a few years, before it shut down completely. The Market St premises were taken over by a Doctor's Practice named The Brooke Surgery in respect of the old shop.
Below is a copy of a North Cheshire Herald report from 29th October 1992:-
SHOP HAS RELICS OF THE PAST
Fire tong's grates, gas appliances from long ago and other devices most of us have long forgotten - all can be seen in Hyde's "old curiosity shop".The Crimean War was four yours away when William Brook opened his ironmonger's business in Hyde and now the Market Street shop is a treasure trove of odds and ends.Walter Brooke and his brother Bill have been running the shop since 1945 but tomorrow (Friday) they will cash up for the last time.Hyde's oldest shop is closing to make way for a new business, but Brooke's Ironmongers won't be gone for ever. Apart from the sale of domestic hardware and garden equipment, the business is moving lock, stock and barrel to their warehouse on Water Street.But what might not make it is a collection of odds and ends that look like an ironmongery Antique Roadshow: like a turn-of-the-century toilet roll, made by the Daffodil Company and said to be "not injurious to health" and an old football "rickrack" used in the war to warn of gas leaks.There's a circular metal slug-catcher, "you sink it in the garden, filled with beer, and the slugs would be attracted to it," said Walter. "They would fall in and drown - or get drunk!"Walter, 64, admits that moving will be a wrench because the interior of the shop has changed little since the start of the century.Wellington and wire stand cheek by jowel with shovels and secateurs. Nails are still weighed by the pond and screws are counted out. The smaller items are house in polished wooden drawers and the focal point of the shop is the well-worn counter.Walter and Bill, 67, are moving round the corner, deciding on the move after a crack appeared in a wall when the next door property was demolished.Sorting through hundreds of old items, Walter also came across a box of brass gas fittings. "It had not been opened since it was delivered ," said Walter. "And that was in 1909.An 1898 price book shows fire shovels costing just over a shilling (5p) and nails, at a penny a pound.Sadly most of the relics may be consigned to the scrapheap, but a pair of brass spit rods were recently sold to a collector and there might be more little gems to unearth.Walter and Bill have one bit of gear that even they don't know what it was for. Made of metal and 5ins long, it has adjustable spikes at the top. Walter thinks it might have been used in the leather industry but if you can fathom it out, call in and let him know.
William Brooke outside his shop around 1900.
The busy counter with scales and the rows of wooden drawer behind.
Brooke's shop around 1990.