Harry Rutherford's
Festival of Britain Mural

Thursday, 17 January 2013

Memories of Hyde in the 1950's

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.

Dowson Road Pictures, Images and Photos
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 !


westarsteve said...

that was an excellent account of living in hyde i lived in hyde for 35 years till i moved to ashton but have many hapy memories of living there

downsie21 said...

The toffee shop belonged to Mr. Bill Cooper, eventually taken over by his daughter Irene and husband Eric Knott. I loved watching the crumpets bubble into shape and the model toy shop was Wilds (or Wiles).

Werneth Low said...

Graham, thank you for the walk down Hyde. I would have come from GX so met you at Dowson Road corner, by Whalley's chemists. It's a shame you didn't sometimes cross the road because you've missed out on Oldham's at the corner of Nelson Street - an Aladdin's cave of Dinky toys, bikes, models, fireworks in season - everything really. Further down on that side was the Chinese laundry, then Meschia's.

When the advertising hoardings were taken down between Tower St and Church St, a single storey building was put up in its place which, in the early 60s, was the Youth Employment Office where you went to get a NI number and card to start work. Tom Wigley said this later became the probation office. The china shop on the corner was Rosebottom's. One shop beyond the corner of Edna Street was a ladies hairdressers called Whitehead's and then there was the Jester coffee bar, launderette and Leigh's toy shop just before the Cheese. Next to the Cheese was Dawson's sportswear and then Bentley's who sold school uniform and expensive clothes for children. Next was the chemists Timothy White & Taylor's. Crossing over Chapel Street, on the corner was Mr Swann the optician and Higginbottom's paper shop was next to that - they later opened a stall in Stanney's when it became The Supermerket in Clarendon Street. On the corner of Croft Street was Bradley's outfitters and in the next block, again in the 60s there was Adsega, a precursor to today's Asda, Tesco etc. And Price's the bakers.

Boots corner was famous as a meeting place in Hyde abd I've mentioned it several times on this site. Inside the shop was fascinating - strange shaped bottles with coloured water in them and hundreds of little wooden drawers with strange labels and Lucozade in glass bottles wrapped in orange cellophane.

On the other side past the Clarendon there was a ladies hat shop and Singleton's toffee shop with the bow window. Then Martin Middleton for all things musical next to the Midland Bank. You could listen to records through massive earphones before you bought them, and they sold gramophones and Dansettes which stacked 6 or 7 records and played them in turn. They also sold tiny tin boxes of gramophone needles with the HMV dog on the front.

Got to stop as out of breath! Think it's time I came home.

Gillian M said...

What a great piece of nostalgia. I went to St Georges 1942-49 I and used to walk back home to Gee Cross via the tip. In the mornings I used to catch the tram from the Grapes to Shepherds Call and walk along Tower Street to school. Lunchtimes I sometimes went to Togos with my friend Judith Wain for a Vimto that we drank at a little table behind the counter. The crumpet shop made the best crumpets in the world. Next door to that I remember a boot and shoe repair shop.

Sean said...

Thanks for the superb post. There were so many shops years ago but it's mainly tat now.

Marjorie said...

During the war my mother used to take me into a shop a little further down from Togos (or maybe next door) to buy me a book, usually a birthday or Christmas present. It seemed a strange shop as there were never any books on the shelves and we had to order them. Would this have been Higginbottoms? I can remember the inside of the shop well, but not the name.

John Taylor said...

Thanks for the memories. My mum worked at Whalleys for a while just after the war.

Togo's for sarsparilla nothing like it ever since then! Dawsons we used to go for fishing tackle there and old man Dawson used to throw the lead shot balls (fishing line weights) across the counter top, one had to be very nimble to catch them!

Werneth Low is right Oldhams was indeed a treasure trove.

The jester coffee bar became the "Round Table" I was sat in there the night the news broke of Kennedy's assassination 22/11/63. It's true you do remember where you were!

Kevin said...

The mention of the Adsega store jogged my memory. This was the narrow shop with an entrance and exit doors that you walked around once! My school-friend's mother worked on the till, and it was the first Tesco that I knew of. Small beginnings!

Werneth Low said...

Just re-read all this wonderful nostalgia and realised that, on my walk down Market Street I'd missed mentioning The Music Box, just a bit lower down than the Church Inn. My dad did the shop fittings before it opened late 50s/early 60s I would say. On my recent visit to Hyde I walked up Market Street and found to my delight that there is still a music shop there, although I couldn't swear to it that it was in the same premises as the original!

Graham mentioned Bridge's bakery which rings Bells for me but not sure why, except that I seem to recall that on Stockport Road next to the house where Leslie and Annie Armitage lived there was a confectioners which I'm sure we called Bridges. Perhaps Eric Downes would recall this. Also, can anyone remember Gerrard's Bakery? If so, where was it please?

Anonymous said...

From Graham Sharp

Yes there was a Bridges on Stockport Road as well as Dowson Road, I think all the actual
baking was done on Dowson Road.

I believe that Gerrard's Bakery was on Rock Street and owned by Fred Baddeley....not the Fred Baddeley who was Joyce's dad.

Werneth Low said...

Graham thank you again. Bridge's on Stockport Road later became the offices of Benjamin Armitage, at the Mottram Old Road junction just along from the Methodist church. All the buildings are still there of course and may still belong to Armitage.

tigerboy said...

What a detailed post

I use to walk this route although this walk was before my time some of these names of shops remained in to the 70's

The off license was called Stowells in the 70's Barnfield dance academy was where my Nan and Grandad learnt to dance something they took up when they retired Oldhams was a great shop you could get model's bikes I also remember vaguely Meschia's

Werneth's post mentions Martin Middletons did this become Rumbelow's

I know of this walks route but does anyone remember Reillys toy shop in the Mall and Hyde Music Centre

tigerboy said...

What a detailed post

I use to walk this route although this walk was before my time some of these names of shops remained in to the 70's

The off license was called Stowells in the 70's Barnfield dance academy was where my Nan and Grandad learnt to dance something they took up when they retired Oldhams was a great shop you could get model's bikes I also remember vaguely Meschia's

Werneth's post mentions Martin Middletons did this become Rumbelow's

I know of this walks route but does anyone remember Reillys toy shop in the Mall and Hyde Music Centre

Hydonian said...

Hi Tigerboy - Yes, I remember Rileys Toy Shop and Hyde Music Centre very well indeed. The latter of the two is where i spent most of my teenage years (and money) browsing through their very detailed Northern Soul special orders book :) Rileys was about half way down the precinct, if I remember rightly, on the opposite side to the entrance to the Market Hall.I also remember Tesco's, complete with escalator before B&M opened. There was also a clothes shop next door to Hyde Music Centre who's name escapes me but was where I got my very first pair of Levi denim jeans from ! Happy Days !!

tigerboy said...

Hi Hydonian

Sorry I spelt Rileys wrong my memory not what it should be at times,me and my brothers and sister bought many a board game from this shop some I have still got

I to spent a lot of my money in Hyde Music Centre whilst my poor mum was shopping in the old Tesco's

What price a Hyde Music Centre now with the demise of HMV hey?

Bought my first Northen Soul single from there Judy Street's What latter covered by Soft Cell

Thank's for responding and I am pleased we share common memories

Happy Days indeed

Werneth Low said...

Hi Tigerboy

How lovely to have contrasts from old and new Hyde. Thanks to you and Nancy for your memories.

Martin Middleton did become Rumbelow's.

I remember Riley's toy shop in the mall on one of my visits. My daughter, now aged 44, bought some Stickle Bricks with her own money, and we still have them! She would have been about 2 or 3 then.

Anonymous said...

I could be wrong ,but I think the toy shop higher up than the cheshire cheese was Lees ,and not Leigh,s .Also,I think it was their daughter...Miss Lees who taught me at Leigh St Junior school about 1950.

Anonymous said...

Fabulous memories of a great town. My teenage years were spent in the Round Table on the left side of Market Street heading towards the marker. The Jester was lower down on the same side but opposite Meschias on the right hand side.
Thanks fir this lovely trip down memory lane

Anonymous said...

Great post. I lived in Hyde from 1944 till 1966. For 10 years on Oldham street just behind Market Street. So remember all the shops, though I can't remember names. I remember thecrumpet ship, in fact Iwas just talking about it to my son the other day. I remember the school uniform shop, and got my uniform for Leigh Street Girls school there. I learned ballroom dancing in the dance academy (and also in the Astoria which used to be near the bus station) I worked in the JESTER some evenings, and my first job after leaving school was in Walley's chemist. I also remember the ice cream shop across the road from the Jester, we used to go in there after we had been to the baths for a hot vimto or oxo

Anonymous said...

I think you are right ,anonymous, Miss Lees also taught me in about 1950 (we could have been classmates ) .She used to give prizes to the top two in her class and brought them from the shop!