A Walk Down Hyde, 1950
by Graham Sharp
My memories of Hyde are that of a pleasant and safe place in which to grow up. In 1950, I was sixteen years old living on Laburnum Avenue with my parents and younger brother, and working at Hyde Station
World War Two had not been over very long and shortages were still widespread, but somehow, Hyde managed to be a good place to live and I think that one of the factors in making that so was the variety of shops. There was no need to go out of the town for anything.
Leaving the house to “go down Hyde” the first shop was an off license on the corner of Dowson Road and Grosvenor Road. Between there and Kirkley Street there was the large, deep Borough Tip on the left and open ground on the right. On the corner of Dowson and Markland Street was Bridges Bakery, my Dad worked there for a time, they sold lovely potted meat, I think the building is still there.
Looking down Dowson Road.
Bells chippy was on the corner of Green Street. On the left, opposite Bradbury Street was a double fronted shop set back from the houses, Torkingtons Hardware.[used to buy paraffin here for the portable heaters at home]. Next was Harndens Engineering and then on the corner of Dowson Road and Market Street was Whalleys Chemists [I think that corner has long gone] On the opposite corner was a branch of Hyde Co-op and if this was a Saturday, I would have crossed the road and gone down Queen Street to Ewen Fields. Jimmy Lovery would no doubt have scored a hat trick for Hyde against their dreaded rivals Stalybridge Celtic!
For some reason I always walked down Market Street on the left hand side and somehow with the exception of Meschias and Kinder’s green grocery I was not all that familiar with shops on the right
Barnfield Dance Academy on the right
Next to Whalleys on the left side of the street was Booth’s Dairy [Cheetham Fold Farm], a toffee shop and tucked away in the corner Robinson’s Funeral Home. Next was Pickfords Barnfield Dance Academy and a little lower down still on the left was the Shepherds Call.
Johnsons and Hopwoods Barbers
The other side of Tower Street was Johnsons baby clothes shop and next to that George Hopwoods barber shop. My memories of having my haircut there was that Mr. Hopwood always seemed to have a pint pot of tea in his hand and breathing tea all over me ,always using a lighted wax taper on the back of my head after cutting and strangely, a rack of umbrellas next to the door, I think a lot of barbers repaired umbrellas as a spare time side line. Then there were some high wooden billboards advertising many products [notably Guinness] and behind the billboards was a little wooden shack - a bookies!
Mr Hopwood standing in the doorway of his shop !
On the corner of Church Street was Rowbottoms. They sold all kinds of gift items, mostly ornaments and fine china, a really lovely shop.
Crossing Church Street there was a row of small shops that I think at one time must have been houses. The first one that I remember was a crumpet shop, you had to step down into this dark, stone floored front room where they made the crumpets. Even after sixty years I can still taste those hot buttered crumpets for tea! I think that Moscrops had a branch in this row where they sold prams and other baby stuff Andrews had a confectionary and upstairs a nice café where my wife’s Auntie Clara used to work. Then, another bakers and confectioners, Oldhams, great meat and potato pies and vanilla cuts!
In between there and the Cheshire Cheese was a really good hobby shop, forget the name. Although, I do remember the name of the hobby/sports shop across from Union Street and the P.S.A. as being Dawsons.[good place to buy fireworks] Just past this shop the row stepped back and in the corner was Togos herbalists. Togos for some reason, had a reputation, particularly if you were allowed in the “back room” there was some oriental mystery and danger about the place, but really all they sold was herbal drinks and I don’t remember him as being oriental! Nearby was Nanettes, a high class ladies shop.
On the corner of Croft Street was Higginbottoms ,one of the many newsagents that I delivered papers for.
There was then a row of mostly quite large shops among them Grundys shoe shop, Dewhursts and Redmans [great bacon] and on the corner of Corporation Street, Boots Chemist. This was a great corner to meet a girlfriend [or boyfriend] before going to the Theatre or the Alex after calling at Nightingales of course for some toffees.
The row in which Redmans stood.
Hyde really was a great place to live in those days and I am sure the same applies today although, there was something different back then.
Many Thanks. Graham , for the excellent account !! :)
Much appreciated !