Norah’s for all the gossip
I have personal memories of a few businesses on North Street when I was growing up and living in St Andrews Road in the 1950s/60s. I remember Norah’s a wool-shop and haberdashers; a visit to Norah’s could take some time as all the gossip changed hands there. The place was stacked high with ‘put away’ wool, hair nets, buttons, cottons, needles, stockings – all sorts of things and smelled heavily of mothacks. Norah was a jovial rosy faced lady with a tight perm who rode a black bike.
Other shops I remember
I think the Sweet family lived next door to that shop; a lady and two small boys. I remember Whittaker’s sweet-shop – just. I also remember Goble’s the greengrocers, Pauline Goble went to school with me – she was a year younger than me. Then there was The Clarence Hotel – where I played with Sandra Luxton from time to time. Grace Hambleton’s father was Captain at the Salvation Army Citadel, but the Baptist Church was a recycling depot for paper and fabric when I was young. I used to get all my drawing paper from the paper and fabric warehouse, and my art materials from the little stationers on the corner of North Street and Station Road. I bought my first record player from a little junk shop just down the road from there.
An unfortunate interview
One summer, 1970 I think, I secured an interview for a job as a touch up artist at the photographers next to the pub at the Church Road end. I was taken into an office and a man with his back to the wall and me facing it, commenced the interview. He had just offered me the job, and before I could reply an enormous mouse scurried along the skirting board behind him. No way was I working in a place over run by super-mice. I was out of there at my earliest chance without telling the gent, so fast my feet could not carry me quickly enough.
Do you remember any other shops?
I think North Street must have been a grimy sort of place in its hey day. I would love to know more about it. My grandfather, who owned a fish shop in North Street died in 1946 and his wife in 1953; I never knew them and so never heard their memories of the area. Does anyone remember more about the shops? I feel they would have been gone by WWII. If you have any memories you can share, please do leave a comment below.