A Memory Of Westbury Village 2 - a Memory of Westbury on Trym.
After Townsend's chemist shop was Hudderstone's which was a family business and Mrs Hudderstone pleasantly sold sweets, lemonades, ice cream and newspapers in the front of the shop and Mr Hudderstone undertook men's hairdressing at the rear. The business closed in about 1961. Mr Hudderstone was sometimes rather too fond of chatting and leaving customers needlessly waiting. This is the reason my father and I stopped having our hair cut there. On the corner of College Road in the old castle building was William Evans, the vet. He was said to be unqualified and seemed to rely on penicillin but his fee was small and he was most charming. On the opposite corner was a shop which sold pet foods and some garden products run by a friendly florid faced very stout man. Then in the next shop further up the High Street was Walter Long, an ironmonger. His storehouse was facing across the road. Walter Long had fought in North Africa during WWII and like most shopkeepers then was very gentlemanly. He employed a Mr Gray and another man. After this latter man married and left, he employed Mr Gray's wife as the original male replacement was a troublemaker and was quickly sacked. In about 1971 Walter Long died suddenly from a heart attack aged 62 and though Mogford's, the other ironmonger in the village, took it over for a time, the shop eventually closed. Between this shop and the Post Office on the opposite side of the High Street was the Police Station. The policemen there were tall, carried a whistle and a truncheon, walked a beat or rode a bicycle wearing an old style helmet with a long black cape in wet weather and were also gentlemanly in manner. One immediately respected them! In rough neighbourhoods they walked in twos. Everything was written down in a notebook and reported to the desk sergeant when they got back. Only detectives or policemen in real emergencies used cars.The rank under a sergeant was correctly a constable.
In the premises next to the Co-operative grocery going towards Westbury Hill was Ramsey's which sold both male and female clothes. Mr Ramsey was middle aged, just under medium height, somewhat stocky, dark haired going a little grey with a florid face and always very smartly dressed in a dark suit. He was an excellent businessman and Ramsey's did very well especially at Christmas when his staff were extremely busy. After some years in about 1965 he moved a little further along the High Street and called this new shop Ronto's and opened another branch at Shirehampton. Near the bottom of Westbury Hill on the left side facing the War Memorial was Mogford's ironmonger which had been there since the 1890s and is still a very successful business now. In the next premises was MacFisheries which sold fish, poultry and at Christmas game birds. My mother always bought fish and cockles there. About 1964 this closed and was taken over by Williams which sold fruit and vegetables. It was run by a mother and son. The son every September enjoyed a two week shooting holiday in Scotland. After a year or so they moved to a site on the present Carlton Court. My mother was a customer of theirs and at Christmas would buy our large Christmas tree which I pushed home on my bicycle.
The first supermarket in Westbury village was called Gateway and appeared in Canford Lane on the former site of the Carlton Cinema (now Carlton Court) after it was demolished. Carlton Cinema had stood there since 1933. My maternal aunt and her husband watched "The 39 Steps" just after it was made in 1935 in the cinema and I watched a few films there in the late 1950s. It was fairly large and pleasantly constructed and the only drawbacks were the films could often be mediocre and it sometimes attracted young riffraff from the nearby post war housing estate of Southmead who wanted to cause trouble. The supermarket was a new convenience and Gateway was extremely popular. Diane Young, after Townsend's chemist closed, worked there as a cashier for many years and left when she was passed over for promotion to manageress.
On the corner of the High Street, facing the war memorial, where the present cafe is situated, was a sweet and toy shop which as a child I went in frequently. A little further on going towards Carlton Court in Canford Lane was a tea shop. The manageress was called Rose and was very chatty and genuinely friendly. My mother and her sister sometimes had tea or in warm weather milkshakes with ice cream there. Facing, where the present coffee shop is sited, was Allen's, a clothes shop. The owner, a tall middle class gentleman in his thirties, who had gone to school with my cousin, Roy Watts, had few customers on account of charging very high prices and eventually went out of business. His father was also employed there.
Lloyds TSB bank in the 1960s was known as the TSB bank and the manager, William Powell, was very gentlemanly and well liked by the clients who were mostly respectable working class or lower middle class. In those days the Westminster bank was looked upon as mainly used by rather more affluent people and the atmosphere inside was more formal.
A memory shared by on Aug 20th, 2013. Send Timothy Purnell a message
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