Bearmans - a Memory of Leytonstone.

Bearmans was the big department store on the site which is now occupied by the Coop or Leo's. I remember the toy department at Christmas was fantastic with an enormous model train layout in the centre of the floor which would take you ages to walk right round, everything painstakingly assembled in miniature for the kiddies. I remember visiting Santa at Christmas. To get to Santa's grotto, you went on a sleigh ride with plywood cut out reindeers on either side of the seats. The ride had some machinery to make it feel like a real sleigh ride. Bearmans sold Ladybird clothes and Clarkes' shoes for children and had child mannequins in the front windows. Where the big roundabout now is, where all the local roads meet with the intersection of the slip roads to the M11 motorway, used to be a nice wooded area with a bus stop close by a Tardis style police box. Just over the way was the Green Man pub. We would wait at the bus stop to catch the No.10 back to Abridge. A man sold Percy Dalton's roasted peanuts from a brazier near the bus stop and served them up in a small paper bag printed with Percy Dalton peanut man (a red peanut with arms and legs and a friendly grin). We would shell the freshly roasted peanuts and eat them on the bus on the way home (making a bit of a mess on the floor).

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