From paraffin to an Oxo cube!
42 Elder Street was a three storey house with a basement, over which was a grating; we used to look up from this to see the weather and watch people walking over it. The house was cool in summer, cosy without the need of central heating in winter.
The Railway Viaduct across Argyle Road could be seen as we played in the street, we often watched the steam trains go over it. From the top front bedroom we could see the railway workshops and paint shed, where they repaired and painted the old steam engines. From the back top window, you could see the fish and chips being prepared in the rear of ‘Bostock’, the fish shop.
At the other end of the street (York Hill) was a blind merchants, called ‘Wilmhurst’, where they made all types of blind; and a little general store called ‘Baldock’ just round the corner; in York Hill itself was a paper and sweet shop called ‘Croydon’. There was a Public House on the corner (New England Road end) called the ‘Old Hoss’ two doors from us; I think it was originally called the ‘Old Horse’. Between the gap of the fish and chip shop and the butchers, we could see Preston Circus fire station and hear the big brass bell clang when the fire engines went out.
At one place about half way along the street, on the top side, there was a very small general shop, selling anything from a gallon of paraffin to a half penny Oxo cube; further along an old Public House was converted to a house, by the side of which was a gate cum door. Children, myself included, slipped through to Elder Row if we wanted to dodge someone. On the upper corner, New England Road end, we had a tiny barber’s shop, a watch and clock maker’s shop; some of these people were also part-time firemen.