Harry Rutherford's
Festival of Britain Mural

Tuesday, 3 October 2017

Hyde Market in the 20's & 30's

I am well aware we have had a few posts on Hyde Market, but I am sure that another one will not go amiss at the time when the latest version is nearing completion.

This little story I obtained from the same source as the Kingston post, but unfortunately there is no author's name attached. It may well be Elsie Hawkins again but I cannot be certain. It describes the market from around the 1920's to the 1930's.

                                          The Market At Hyde

Hyde market was held on a Saturday years ago, just the one day and then in the 1930's we also had a Friday market day.

Through the week there was fruit and vegetable stalls which were permanent fixtures, a sort of cabin affair and the people that kept them were known to all, they never seemed to change.

At the corner, diagonally across from Woolworths was Riley's. They were wholesalers as well as retail greengrocers. They would sell off any fruit that would not keep over the weekend very cheaply, when it was closing time on Saturday night. Mostly it was large bunches of bananas or soft fruit in summer.

Round the corner to the left was Sinnett's and they took pride in selling the best greengrocery. To the right of Rileys was Hollands, who also had a shop on Mottram Road. There were others of course making about six altogether. There was a tripe stall here too.

The market itself was a great attraction. One could buy almost anything there and people came from all the towns around. It was bright and full of interest. 

The stalls were lit with lamps which the traders hired from a shop in Hamnett St, which faced the market.

A lot of traders would auction their goods and they had a patter which would keep people around their stalls.

Mrs Crossley the curtain lady had a shop facing the market. She sold curtains, coat and dress material of a very high standard. She would talk away for hours on her stall while selling her wares and there were lots of people around her stall just listening to her.

Goodwins had a pottery stall and if trade was slack they would suddenly drop a pile of pots to draw attention to themselves. Mr Goodwin had a stick which he used to thump a wooden box as he explained he was not going to charge this or even that but some ridiculously low figure. One would buy a twenty piece tea-set in the 1930's for three and eleven pence in old money (20p in new).
We would all listen to Harry Gilbert who sold watches and clocks, much cheaper than anyone could buy in the shops. They were reliable watches too, and many a Hyde person still has a Harry Gilbert watch. He later opened a jewellery shop next to the Bank of Scotland in Market St, which is now a tailors (Greenwoods).

There was quite a number of drapery stalls selling both men's and women's wear. I remember seeing "long johns" and "combinations" hanging up and of course socks and stockings, a pair of artificial silk stocking could be bought for ninepence (4p) before the war.

The flower stalls were lovely and colourful , very often they were just part of a greengrocery stall.

In the 1930's they started an innovation. They had a large zinc bath and washed the dirt off the celery before it was sold. I used to feel sorry for them on cold winter days. At the other end of the market was a pie and coffee stall 
Barlow's swings and Cookes roundabouts were also here as well. There was also a black pea saloon, but this finished sometime in the late 20's.
In 1927 an indoor market was built. It has since been demolished to make way for the new shopping precinct. I much preferred the old one to the new one. It was light and airy and had  all food stalls, mostly butchers, though Mr Lowe had his grocery stall in there. His son joined Mr Booth's son, the butcher to open the supermarket in Clarendon St.

Nightingales made Godley rock and home made sweets in the market. It was always fascinating to watch them cooking the sweets and pulling the rock on a hook on the side of the stall.
Near this building was a football net and men and boys would pay a few pennies to kick the ball into the net.

The street at the side of the market was Helen Street. If one approached it from Reynold St/Norbury St there was a very nice hotel called the Norfolk Arms. It was pulled down to make way for the new market as was all the property there. There was Meals pawnshop and then the 'Hyde cafe'.

A street ran at right angles here , then came to Ashworths butchers, then to a sweet shop, Cloughs confectioners, Britannic Assurance Co and above these shops Mr Searle had his photographic business. A lot of our old photographs of Hyde were taken by him. next we came to the shop that is still a shoe shop but it was originally Jacksons whose slogan was a Cheshire Cat. They also sold hats:-

"Jackets, hats and caps are fine, Three and six and four and nine".

Facing here in the premises occupied now by Woolworths was Brownsons the tailors. This is a stone building - rather nice. We always made sure we saw Brownsons big window at Christmas. They did a scene that occupied the whole of the window. I well remember Red Riding Hood visiting granny in a cotton wool snow scene. One January about 1926 we had terrible gales and the window was blown in. It was immediately boarded up and a large notice proclaimed "Our windows may not be able to withstand the elements, but our overcoats certainly will".
At the corner of the market near the junction of Market Place and Market Street, opposite Greenfield St, was the Finger Post, a large mastlike village pole with sign boards indicating the directions of the various roads.
Now , on that spot in my day stood a drinking fountain which was used as a meeting place. We would meet our friends from other parts of the town there. It was removed to the park some forty or fifty years ago. It would be nice if we could restore it & put it back on the market place.

The 1920's was the time when women shortened their skirts and cut their hair short so it was no surprise to hear of Dr Marie Stopes disciples speaking on the market of birth control and selling her controversial book "Married Love".

The market itself was much nicer in the old days before the "precinct" was built. We all congregated there on Whit Friday when we had walked in our own parishes. Our Mayor and Mayoress would be on the balcony of the Town Hall and all the banners would be propped up against the railings while we sang our old well loved traditional whitsuntide hymns.

On Sunday evenings the Labour party or Socialists would hold an open air meeting with the speaker standing on a low loader cart. They stopped when they managed to get a labour government together in the 1920's -- previously the candidates had either been Liberal or Conservatives, but this changed after the first world war.

Post was originally posted July 2012

This was one of the many posts where the pictures are not showing up...  it is a long process but we are getting there.. in the meantime bare with us and all picture WILL be replaced eventually 


Anonymous said...

What a great account of Hyde Market in days gone by. Makes me feel quite nostalgic.
Thanks for posting.

Bill crompton said...

Fantastic write up,reminds me of comeing down on the bus from Newton,No15nI think going to the ABC sat morning and then going through the Market hall and open market,I also had a Sat job at, I think it was called Ashowrths the Butchers.
Well done again.

Bill crompton said...

Fantastic write up,reminds me of comeing down on the bus from Newton,No15nI think going to the ABC sat morning and then going through the Market hall and open market,I also had a Sat job at, I think it was called Ashowrths the Butchers.
Well done again.

Anonymous said...

Does anyone know what's going on in the second photo from the bottom? or what the 2 signs in the background are?


Hyde Lad said...

At very important ceremonies in Hyde, the time honoured custom of "Roasting Ye Ox" took place. I think this one was for the Jubilee of the Incorporation of the Borough of Hyde in 1931. The bullock was roasted by Mr Fred Tyler of Stratford a champion ox-roaster. Hyde Cafe and the Norfolk Arms are in the background.

Trish said...

What a wonderful write up of the market in days gone by, makes me remember how good Hyde was back then, in the fifties my mum, brother and I would walk into Hyde down Market St, stopping at some of the lovely shops on our way down, when we got to the market, we would get the fruit and veg from one of the wooden cabins opposite the UCP, and if we were getting a bit tired and hungry by now, mum would let us go on the swingboats and buy us a wagon wheel (and them wagon wheels were big in those days, so they kept us happy and quiet for a while!) Oh yes, and Saturdays, it was Jocks stall, what a magical stall this was for us kids. It was a real treat to go into Hyde in the fifties, Hyde was full of character back then you could buy absolutely anything you needed. Lovely to see the old photos, makes me feel very nostalgic.

Werneth Low said...

How wonderful this walk down Memory Lane is. In the 50s everyone I knew went to the market on a Saturday morning, usually early because there was so much to see and do. It was a place of entertainment as much as anything else, with characters already mentioned who will never be forgotten. How I remember Jock and his stall - all that junk and I could never understand a word he said! The pot stall was my favourite. I think the tripe stall in the green huts was Winterbottom's. Fancy having a tripe stall opposite the wonderful and much missed UCP!

We used to get our grocery order from Lowes in the market hall; I think this was a throwback to the time when the grocer kept your ration book and you were registered to buy stuff from him when things were scarce. Everything was weighed out and sugar was in blue bags.

I hated the swingboats because they ranked alongside the trolley buses for bringing your breakfast back! In the late 50s/early 60s there was a big ride outside the market hall - the Jungle Ride but we called it the Jigger. On the way home from Astley we would get off the bus at Hyde and hang out round it for ages in the hope of meeting nice lads from Hyde Grammar. It played loud pop music while the ride was going, my favourite being The Shadows Wonderful Land.

Our Saturday dinner was always the same - meat and potato pie from Clough's - delicious! The shoe shop at the end of that block was Cable.

Actually, the wonderful description given fits nicely into Rutherford's painting of the market.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the reply hyde lad, so where were the Hyde cafe and Norfolk arms situated, i can't really tell from the photo.

John Taylor said...

Great memories, many thanks.

I worked at Cable shoes from leaving school in 1960. This was right opposite the market and we had Woolies and Brownson's across the road. Had photography lessons at Searle's above the shop.

There used to be a tobacconist next to the confectioners. I used to buy 2d "Joystick" fags for the pictures! A long smoke!

Wish I could get a photo of Cable shop. Been searching for ages.

I dressed all 11 windows & as soon as I had finished had to start all over again. Those were the days when windows were dressed properly and with great style & care!

Anonymous said...

@ Anonymous

The Norfolk Arms, was located around about where the Market Hall is.
There's a Blue Plaque located at the main doorway to the Hall, which commemorates the Norfolk Arms Disaster of 1829.

So, Hyde Cafe, was located around about where Argos is.

Werneth Low said...

There's a good photo showing the Cable Shoe Shop on Tameside MBC image archive site. Didn't copy it as not sure if there are copyright restrictions, but you could look at it, John.

John Taylor said...

Thank you Werneth Low much appreciated. I spent an hour checking out all the photo's but the nearest was from 1980 showing "Manfield" shoes as the name of Cable was changed to.

One also from 1915 but prior to Cable. I need one from the '50's or '60's. It just seems that every pic of that area cuts off just before showing Cable!!!

You get Woolies, Brownson's etc but alas not Cable. I have just bought a few pics from their site and would love one of Cable so if I have missed it let me know what page it was on,

Really WL thanks again very much. At least I know the site now & can support their efforts.

Susan Jaleel said...

This description of the market was written by Hilda Hibbert in 1990, and can be found in Living Memories of Hyde which was published in that year. Its worth reading it in the book as there are memories of the market from other people at that time too.

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Anonymous said...

In reply to John Taylor
I think the Tobacconist may have been called Alf Keenan?

Anonymous said...

in the photo that has 2454 in the bottom right hand corner what's that huge building in the background?

Tom said...

It's the building you can see in the picture at the top of the page, shops were in the bottom part and a photographers called Searls on top... not at all sure if it was built for that, or if the building had it's own name.

John Carr said...

What a great post, and what a memory the author has. I remember the market from the mid fifties and its great to have those forgotten memories revived, thank you.
By the way, great to see the site active again.