Memories From the 1920’s to the 1940’s

Posted on THOW on October 8, 2012

I just found this by a Gentleman named Des Hickinbottom.
Born 1922.
I have just copied a snippet of it to post here but you must read it all ….. you can almost smell Wednesbury in the 1920’s & what it must have been like for a young boy in those days (see link below)

Some Memories of Wednesbury, from the 1920’s to the 1940’s

I remember we used to visit the market and sometimes there were entertainers.
One who I remember used to throw rings up in the air and one of them would seem to disappear (the quickness of the hand deceiving the eye); there were also some fire-eaters.
What a wonderful sight it was to see the market stalls lit up by the flares of naptha lamps and hear the cries of the vendors selling their various goods.
Then there would be the blue buses of Walsall Corporation threading their way through the crowds.

One Saturday I noticed a new addition to the town, at the junction of the Market Place, Union Street, Upper High Street and Walsall Street a set of traffic lights had been erected.
I remember seeing a notice saying ‘move only on green’.

I cannot remember many of the names of shops, but those I do, were the ‘Magnet’, a gentleman’s outfitters at the corner of Union Street and Market Place.
Incidentally this shop is still there and still trades under the same name.
In Lower High Street was Holloway’s the toy shop which at Christmas time always had a wonderful display of train sets in the window and it was from here that I managed to get my parents to buy me a Meccano building set, and later when I was older I used to go there for extra parts for this set.
(Just as Jo Hyde mentioned)

Almost opposite was a sweet shop where they used to give demonstrations on how toffee was made.
In the Market Place itself was F.W. Preece, The Maypole, Foster Brothers, Midland Electric showroom, Wandsworth’s cake shop and a cook shop where a large man (I believe his name was Mr. Collins) used to stand carving up meat for sandwiches.
I think at sometime he became the Mayor.

At the junction of Upper High Street and Church Hill was Mason’s the grocers, it was in this shop that I once caused my grandma to nearly have a fainting fit by putting my hand near the bacon slicing machine.
An interesting innovation in this shop was the method by which assistants used to send the money to the cashier.
There was a overhead wire from the various counters to the cash office, and on this wire ran a little kind of truck with a cup suspended below it.
The assistant would put your money and a bill into it and then pull a handle which was spring loaded, when released it propelled the receptacle to the cash office where they would put any change required and return it by the same method. (wow)

Then of course there was Bray’s the fish and chip shop from where I had many a pennyworth of chips.

Shops in Oakeswell End if I remember rightly were Lavender’s the cake shop, an outdoor kept by a Mrs. Blackgrove ?.
Incidentally I always thought this shop to be a dismal place as it always seemed very dark inside and the lady herself always seemed to be dressed in black.

Jackson’s the chemist, Minettes ? dress shop.
This I believe is still there. Hemming’s hairdressers and Taylor’s Garage.

Read the rest here:


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