A shadow of its former self
London Road was my mother’s main shopping destination, and in the fifties and early sixties, it was still sufficiently vibrant to rival Western Road, though later it suffered a severe decline from which it still hasn’t really recovered – probably instigated by the Churchill Square redevelopment. If it wasn’t for the proximity of the Open Market it would probably have suffered even worse. Like Lewes Road, which used to be just as good, it is now just a shadow of its former self as a shopping thoroughfare.
No self service
Fond memories include the original Sainsbury’s – no self service in those days, all done by ladies in turbans; Bellman’s, which was nominally a textiles outlet but which seemed to sell everything including ex-juke box singles which I bought to start my record collection; Bradshaw’s bicycle shop whence came my first real bike, a 19-inch BSA Star Rider, and, just up Ann Street, Needham’s tiny musical instrument shop where I bought my first musical instrument, a Hohner Chrometta 10 harmonica.
A popular stop for the bus
I remember the enormous numbers of passengers who would disembark at the Co-operative store when I was conducting the service 5 bus in 1968. London Road was certainly a popular destination in those halcyon days. On my occasional visits to Brighton from home here in Bath I still stroll along London Road, and invariably pop into the bookshop opposite what was the Co-Operative store – mainly to look out the latest nostalgia publications on the old home town. Thankfully I am rarely disappointed.