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Cambridge Terrace Shops

A Memory of Bush Hill Park

Bush Hill Park had so many interesting characters back in the 70's when I was young. I loved going to the shops in Cambridge Terrace, just off Dehli Road. My favourite one was Stewart's, the sweet shop, owned by Harry and Rose. He seemed really old to me, and I was a bit scared of him. I used to help my friend take Skipper, their old corgi, for walks. Rose Stewart was quiet, but seemed nice. My favourite sweets were the ones on the counter, black jacks, fruit salads, shrimps, flying saucers - two for half a penny. An Aztec bar cost 6d and when decimalisation came, it was 2 and a half pence over night, which I thought was a bargain. I could walk from my home in Amberley Road and go to the shops without an adult. That was the norm. My dad used to ask me to get him a tin of Bondman tobacco for his pipe from Stewart's, and nobody turned a hair. At night a cigarette machine (I think) was pushed into the entrance of the shop. I found the Shoe Repair shop fascinating. It was dark and musty, with the overpowering beautiful smell of glue and leather filling the shop. I can't remember the owners name, but he was a large gingery man, who used to keep several nails in his mouth while working. He sold teddy bear and dolls eyes, and kept them in tiny wooden drawers that you were allowed to rummage through. I would buy 'Cinderella' dolls shoes in different sizes and colours for my dolls. He also had other small toys and my brother Mark and I bought a set of Kernockers, a pair of hard plastic balls on string that you could do tricks with. In the window were large child sized dolls that I wanted, but were not for sale. The owner's wife had jet black curly hair, with wire rimmed glasses, but she barely spoke. Children were not indulged in those days.
Mr Guiver was the family butcher. He had fingers like sausages and was generally cheerful. My mum worked in Clifford Stores part-time (Wavy Line) and Cliff, the owner, used to call me 'Chibby' for some reason. It was a self-service store and had a lovely counter of ham and cheeses that were cut with a wire. Gearys was the bakery. You could get a bag of Golden Wonder crisps for 3p. Both ladies who worked there were very old ( in my opinion), and had grey hair tied into buns. One was called Mrs Crane, I think. There was also an off-license, post office, tv repair shop, green grocer, chemist and wool shop. Everyone knew everyone, and every day was sunny. I'm sure my memories are swathed in childhood innocence, but it was so lovely. A far cry today, as when I pass, the shops are shabby and indifferent. I'm glad I lived in Bush Hill Park in the 60's and 70's, when life was more caring.

A memory shared by Sharon O Boyle , on Sep 21st, 2013.

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