Times were hard in the 1920s

Times were hard in the 1920s

“Times were very hard, but there was always ‘Uncles’, the pawn shop in Edward Street, which had a never ending queue of people on a Monday morning. The little office where we took the things to raise the money to feed us all for the week was round at the side and back. This entrance was in fact in Henry Street, it led into a dark gloomy little room with a very high counter. You passed the items over the counter; Dad’s best suit and shoes usually, and the spare sheets and blankets that could be spared in the warmer weather, occasionally there was some of Gran’s jewellery.

The pawnbroker would write the tickets with a funny contraption of a pen that wrote two tickets at once, one he would give to you and the other would be attached to the things you ‘popped’. If the things were clothes these would be wrapped in bits of cloth and secured with a special pin, these we knew as ‘pawn shop pins’. On Fridays we would get them out, unredeemed pledges were of course sold off. Many’s the time I’ve seen something that belonged to us for sale in the window of the shop in Edward Street.

I hated the place and was very ashamed to be seen going in. If there was anyone there that I knew I would walk around un­til they had gone before I ducked back in again, but of course as soon as anyone saw you go down the road they knew where you were going if you were carrying a bundle. Times were really bad when my mother pawned her wedding ring. There always seemed to be a lot of them for sale in the shop, so I guess there must have been a lot of unredeemed pledges.”

Comments about this page

  • Just read with fascination about the pawn shop in Edward Street, then saw it was from an interview with Georgina Attrell. I have ancestors in my family tree, Alfred Attrell(b.1868)and his wife Georgina(neé Simmonds)who were born in Brighton, and wondered if she could be a relative?

    By Jane Hanick (23/08/2008)
  • One of the pawn shop’s name was Lucas, next door to Jack Balls, who sold almost anything - including lug worms for fishing bait.

    By duffy watkins (21/02/2011)
  • Also on part of Edward Street was from George Street the Thurlow Arms then there was a small wet fish shop owed by Bill Spencer who was my husband’s uncle. Also there was men’s hairdressers called Dereks. He must have been there about at least 50 years if not longer as some already said. You had Luca’s pawn shop, Jack Bull’s fishing tackle then a greengrocers called Greens. On the other corner you had Greenfield’s the bakers then a newspaper shop. There wasn’t much on other side of the road. There was William Street then not much else till you got to the Salvation Army hall then the shops started again. The year was 1953-1960? I think out of all those the two that are still there and in business are Thurlow Arms which has changed its name, the hairdressers which is Derek’s.

    By Kathleen Catt (03/04/2011)

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