Astwood Bank Co Op......Remember It?

A Memory of Astwood Bank

It was so interesting to find a few photos of old Astwood Bank on here. I moved to the village when my mother married my step father, Jesse Bradley, in 1964. We lived at 21 High Street and I got a job at the Co-operative grocery store on Evesham Road.

The manager then was Harry Pearson and he lived with his sister and brother-in-law in the little cottage next to the shop. Gladys Harman was the accounts lady and Rene Bishop worked on the bakery counter. I worked on the grocery side with Des Potter and Betty Winkfield. It seemed like a huge shop at the time but I realise now that it was actually quite small! There was a a large clock hanging outside the shop and an archway at the side led to the rear yard ~ we even had a hoisting hook to take large boxes up to the upper storey. But no tills - we had wooden cash drawers with a book at the side to give the customer a ticket showing what 'divi' they had earned. Remember the dividend system when each customer had a unique number and you earned money every time you shopped?

We sold all sorts ~ chicken feed, seed potatoes, fresh fruit and veg as well as all the usual grocery stuff. We had a couple of vans which took grocery orders to villages such as Feckenham and Inkberrow.
Just a couple of doors away there was the Co-op butchery shop managed by Lennie Voss and next to that the Co-op drapery shop managed by Frances Tongue from Feckenham.

When Mr Pearson died in the mid 60's he was replaced by the manager from the Headless Cross shop, Frank Dyer, who also moved into the Co-op cottage next to the shop. A year or two later both Miss Harman and Mr Potter retired and I was doing relief manager work for this and other branches : Studley, Crabbs Cross and Headless Cross. We were by now part of the Birmingham Co-operative Society but when I first started in the 60's it was still the Alcester Co-op.

By 1970 there were changes afoot and one was the introduction of Co-op stamps with every purchase. I actually got my husband with Co-op stamps! He was the bakers roundsman from the Worcester Co-op who delivered on the village and wanted to know if he would also have to give out the stamps. Of course you will I told him. Oh no I won't he said. So he suggested we needed to go out one night to discuss the matter . We did. And, to cut a long story short, we were married the following year.

Well my husband and I, that same bakers roundsman from 1971, came through Astwood Bank today and were amazed at the changes to the old shop. It's now been split into three with a wine shop and a bakery store. The archway where our delivery vans used to drive in has had a flower shop built into it and the upper storerooms are now offices. The upper workroom at the back of the shop is now a chiropracters office and the old rundown storerooms where the chicken feed was kept all those years ago are now offices. Even the managers cottage has been cut in half and is now a Balti takeaway! I stood in the car park at the back of the shops which had once been the yard where I weighed potatoes and so many memories came flooding back!

Much of Astwood Bank remains unchanged but this little corner which holds so many memories for me is so very different today. If anyone else has memories of the village and the shop in the 60's and 70's it would be fascinating to hear them. Thank you for taking the time to read MY memories!

Sue Ford (nee Webb) 22nd March 2012

A memory shared by Sue Ford , on Mar 22nd, 2012.

Comments & feedback

Wed Jul 6th 2016, at 2:35 pm

kaz6047 commented:

This is fascinating to read i live in Astwoid bank now and would love to know more about its history.do you have any pictures of how the co op used to be?

Add your comment

You must be signed-in to your Frith account to post a comment.

Sign-in or Register now

Tips & Ideas

Not sure what to write? It's easy - just think of an important place in your life and ask yourself:

  • How does it feature in your personal history?
  • What are your best memories of this place?
  • How has it changed over the years?
  • How does it feel, seeing these places again?
  • Do you remember stories about the community, its history & people?