High Street Longton in The '40s And '50s
Barbara Johnson's memories brought back some of my own from the High Street days. Those rows of shops Barbara describes provided all the locals with everything they needed. I remember going over the road from the off-licence we ran for a meat and potato pie from 'aunt' Sarah's, going for haircuts at Billy Goodwin's barbers (right up till the middle '50s), fish and chips from MacLaughlin's (Graham Walkers grandparents), sweets and biscuits from Crooks', cooked meats, Aspros and rabbits from 'Rabbit Joes', Arkinstalls repaired watches and clocks, 'clogger' Quale for clogs, Ross' for fruit and veg., Harry Slater was the butcher, Nightingales would do all the tailoring needs, Sargeants was the furniture and pawn shop, Gothams for seeds, hardware, and almost everything else! The two pubs were the 'Sailor Boy' and the 'Royal Oak'. All these on both sides of around 100 yards of High Street. Our off-licence had once been a bakery and retail bread shop. The ovens were still in situ behind the house when we lived there. When Barbara Johnson's grandmother and great aunt gave up the post office it moved a few doors away to 161 and then after we gave up the the off-licence, in 1959, number 159 High Street ( by then Uttoxeter Road) became the post office. The building now appears unoccupied and derelict. The whole of that area is now plagued by destructive vandalism.
When the old post office had closed, after Barbara's elderly relatives had retired, we kids used the post office counters as a stage and put on entertainments - a girl from Beaumont Road sang ' I have heard a mavis singing', Ray Edwards played the piano and we put on short plays. Yes Barbara those were happy days.
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