Godfrey Jellyman (born 1923)
There were three milkmen including father (Brownshill/Bussage). One at bottom went round the village, another came round with horse and cart. Father sold them milk. Father delivered milk with horse and cart and might have sold a few eggs.
George Workman at France Lynch was a baker. So we would go over with horse and cart to get bran and corn food for animals. They started baking about 3 o’clock. If we was lucky he gave us a batch cake. The bakery was on the road above the church in France Lynch, on the corner.
Our nearest shop was the Co-op at Eastcombe for ordinary food because they did coupons. We used to have to walk to Eastcombe through the fields with the order mother gave, they put the order out so could check it. The next day the baker came with horse and cart to deliver what you ordered. There was what they called a divvy. They gave you back a percentage of what you spent.
There was a Co-op at Chalford and another at Brimscombe. They had a horse and covered -in cart and used to go all round Eastcombe. There was another baker at Chalford but he didn’t come up this way, he went to Chalford valley and several farms at France Lynch. We had three shops, the post office and two other shops and a pub at Brownshill. Now they’re all shut and there’s no pub. Used to go along to the Post Office for smaller things.
I was going delivering. The day I got married I had to go and deliver the milk before. If you wanted to invite somebody to tea you wrote a little postcard and posted it and that was delivered in the afternoon about 5 oclock because it came from Chalford, marked local. The postman used to come up from The Bourne and along through Bussage into Toadsmoor, walking, twice a day. Other people had it delivered from Chalford.
There was the Post Office in France Lynch run by Pam’s grandmother, then her mother, then Pam. Then there was Workman’s, the bakers, a shop at the top of Marle Hill along Chalford Hill, run by Mr. Court and behind there was another bakers, name of Gardener. Up the hill was Denzyl Stairs’, there was always a layer of dust on everything. A bit above that there was a fish and chip shop, then that closed and someone ran it as a wool shop, George Rolls wife, Anne Rolls and Diane Woodhouse ran it. Then there was a courtyard in from it where John Sawyers started up. Before he took it over, down in the village there was someone who used to charge up the batteries for the radios and John was friendly with the son of this man and they got together and opened up this little electrical shop in that little courtyard. They divided in the end and John had the little shop built on the crossroads (Sawyers). David was an apprentice to him. It’s a little goldmine. I don’t know what we’d do without him.
There was a butcher’s called Peaceys which Paul Dutton’s father took over. When Mr. Dutton died they changed it to fish and chip shop and hairdresser and just kept one butcher’s shop down by the school.
There used to be a milliner’s along Commercial Road, run by a Mr. Miller, and sell clothes. My mother used to buy father’s underclothes there. The shop is still there by the car park. Dougie Mills took it over. In the road down below there was another shop. He sold groceries and tin baths, mats and that sort of thing. His name was Mr. Gardiner, and in the end Mosley the ice cream van was there at the back of the Ferns. Before that he was in a little alleyway in France Corner.
Florence Workman’s Bakery was on the corner by the old bus shelter on the triangle of Dr. Middleton’s Road and Brantwood Road. The shop was in the triangle and the bakery was at the back. During the war because everyone was being called up, they were desperate for someone to deliver the bread and I helped out. The Workmans had two vans and they used to deliver to Chalford, Chalford Valley, Chalford Hilll, France Lynch, Bussage, Brownshill, Eastcombe, Througham, Bisley, Oakridge, Water Lane, Tunley – they had ever such a big round. They even delivered on Christmas Day. They used to make bread, cake, buns. I liked the dripping bun. Denis’s wife was one of Mr. Fuller’s daughter’s and she drove one van. She used to go to the shop in Bisley and get her rations and she had her little piece of cheese, all you were allocated, and we’d share it with a dripping bun. In the end that was all they could do – get some school girls like me to help out. Hazel Godwin and Colin helped out too.
There was also Hooks the builders, Everett the undertaker.
The only paper shop I can remember is where Mr. Court was, then it was taken over by Mr. Mills, then Peter Wood and his wife and another couple. Brian and Joyce Bakewell had it for a while, then they went to the King’s Head. Then they gave that up and Mrs. Bakewell took over Mary Taysom’s shop, then closed that and took over the Post Office in Chalford Hill. Then Mr. Raheem took over the paper shop, then it closed.
Solars was down the bottom of Dark Lane. That was run by Hoses as a grocery shop before. Marion Hose ran the post office on top of Chalford Hill. It was her father who ran Solars. Elsie Crook the school teacher’s sister served in that shop.
Eric Watkins’ dad used to come round with the milk in the cans and you’d have it in your jugs.
Anne Sutton (born 1927)
Almost opposite (Vale House) was Chalford Post Office, they used to sell sweets and tobacco and papers and things. Then there was Smart’s shop, Mr. Fred Smart and his family. Well they sold everything. If you went he would say ‘put your hand in there’, it was a jar and they were jelly cuttings and I wanted to put my hand in some different jars as there was a nice selection of sweets. If you kept waiting you just sat on this sack which was full of sugar. All those bottoms that sat on that bag of sugar, we all survived. The bacon was hanging up you know and if there was a grub on it, Mr. Jim Smart, who was no relation I don’t think, he just used to scrape it off. Amazing how we survived isn’t it.
And then there was the Co-op which was across the road where Lavender Bakehouse is now. That was another outlet but we used to use Mr. Smart more but if we did get sent off to use the Co-op we had to remember the number. You had a Co-op number.
Further along the alley there was the Red Lion then there was a little bank, I think there is still, Bank House now. Then there was Miss Gardiner’s, who sold a bit of fruit then, they had two little sides to the shop and this one was drapery and such, knitting wools and such like there. Toddle on up further to Bournes Corner where you turn and go up Coppice Hill, up those steps was Bournes shop. She had a slot in the counter where she put the money through. I used to long to put my money in there. She sold sweets I know but probably had groceries and things.
My recollection of our personal bread was from Workman’s, just where France Lynch begins. They used to come round in a van but there was Mr. Smith’s bakery who had a donkey and there was a Mr. Wood, I believe he smoked over it, cigarette ends had been found. So, we certainly had three bakers that I’m aware of. Everything you needed really. You didn’t really need to go to Stroud but one did. I don’t remember buying any clothes in the village, we used to go to Clark’s in Stroud for clothes.
(My sister lived quite near The Mechanics Arms, now the Old Neighbourhood.) There was Duttons butchers shop behind, I think it’s a hairdressers now. My sister Madge married a Workman from this bakery firm, they had a house built opposite the bakery, on the edge of the recreation ground.
I used to do the milk round every day. My father milked the cows by hand. He used to start between 4 and 4.30 in the morning, and again at night. They had between 20 and 30 cows. Then it all went through a cooler and into churns and loaded onto that milk float and we did the milk round. People would leave the jug on the doorstep with a saucer over the top. All the milk was sold in France Lynch and Chalford Hill. He had quite a big round really including Dark Lane, Coppice Hill, not right down the bottom. I started to help about 7.15 in the morning until school time. When I went to Marling, I still did it before running down Marle Hill to catch the bus to school.
(Later) the milk round went to Norman Crew, then to Harry Cadd’s (Cadwallader) father in law, and then Harry took it on. My dad had heart trouble when I was in the forces, and he had wanted to keep the milk round for me but it was too much work.
(We had all sorts of fruit in the orchard). The excess of fruit used to go to Mills’ Shop at the top of Marle Hill, for sale. I was sent back to school at dinner times carrying baskets and I used to give stuff to Miss Mallett at school who was engaged to Mr. Mills. A chap named Court had the shop before them.
There was three bakers in the village. Workman’s Bakery and one at the back of Mill’s shop. We used to get round batch cakes (round and flat bread) when we were at school, at dinner times. Threepence for one which we all shared – about a halfpenny each.
Charlie Wood (we used to call him Charlie Hood) used to come outside the school every night in his horse and cart with his penny buns with currants in, we called flies. He was a baker down Coppice Hill.
There was two cobblers, Mr. Freeman and Mr. Lydiard.
Once a week my Dot and sisters and I we used to walk down to the Co-op in Chalford and bring up what was essential and get the rest delivered. When Mr. Workman closed down, we had a baker deliver, Mr. Hemming used to do that.
The postman lived up Cowcombe Hill and he knew us all by name too. Pop Walder he was called. He used to come round twice a day on foot. Boxing Day he was quite tiddly because everyone gave him sherry and port for a Christmas drink!
George Gleeed (born 1930)
There were three shops (in Brownshill) – a Mrs. Damsell kept the sweet shop; then there was Leonard Marshall who had a post office and shop, very nice people; and Underwood’s shop at the far end, away from the house. You had to go and pull the bell and they would run from the house over the garden to open the shop.
I had to help my father. He had his own paraffin business around the area including Minchinhampton, before, during and after the war, and I used to help him. No gas or electric for a long time so most people had paraffin.
(During the war) rationing was quite stiff. There was a bit of black marketing going on, I’ll give you some eggs and you help me out with some potatoes.
Cynthia Gleed (born 1933)
There was four shops in Bisley. One was my grandmother’s sweet shop. My grandfather had a painting and decorating business, A.S. Brown it was called. Mrs. Kilminster had the draper’s shop next door, what used to tickle us, they had a hole in the counter to scoop the money into instead of pulling the drawer out.
Duttons – he had two shops. He delivered round Brimscombe, Minchinhampton, Oakridge, all round. I used to serve in the shop as well when I wasn’t out on the van. When I left he opened the second one as a chip shop because he couldn’t run two butchers, couldn’t go on holidays.
I come into Chalford in 1960. Sometimes I’d call into Miss Holmes which was in the Post Office. She was a right pain. Didn’t matter if here was 50 people waiting she would talk! There was Harold Gardiner’s hardware store in Commercial Road. Our children was chuffed to bits, because at Lypiatt there was no shops
Grace Banyard (born 1930)
There was Workman’s Bakery on the common, on the crossroads just up from the church. Every fortnight I had to go over with a basket and warm tea towel and collect some ready risen dough, wrap it in the warm tea towel and run all the way home so my mother could make a lardy cake. (Later, when I used to collect other children for school) we used to go and get a loaf of bread for twopence halfpenny and they hadn’t had no breakfast so I used to let them eat that on the way to school.
I remember Freeman’s Shoes, near the car park on Coppice Hill. Harold Gardiner had an Ironmongers in Chalford Hill, near the spring. Mr. Moody sold ice cream from a van and from his house at France Corner.
Harold Mills and his wife (she was a Mallett) had the shop at Eastcombe.
There was a bloke called Donald Baker in France Lynch and him and John Sawyer used to sell batteries and accumulators for radios in Donald Baker’s shed down the valley. Donald left and John Sawyer bought the shop.
I went to work for Bob Wills who had a shop at the top of Marle Hill. It was a greengrocers and paraffin, methylated spirits. We called it Chalford Hill shop. Mr. & Mrs. Browning worked for him as well. Mr. Browning years ago had done the papers. I used to go to work at 7 and do the papers all around France Lynch and Bournes Green, then go back and work in the shop, then when it was haymaking and harvest, I had to go and work in the fields at 6 when I left the shop.
We had a milk round all round Chalford Hill and down to the top of Dark Lane and back up. We had a horse called Diner.
Mrs. Young and her daughter, Mrs. Skinner, ran the Post Office in France Lynch.
(In Bisley) The George was where the shop is now – they sold the George and made it into a shop.
I used to go up the post office and get the shopping for Mum. A Mr. Court used to run that shop at Chalford Hill and we used to have shopping delivered. I used to take Mum’s shopping list up there and they used to send them, then we paid for it the next week.
Duttons the butchers used to be Pieces and they used to have the store room round the back which they made into a flat later. Duttons has just closed. People get all things together at the supermarket now. In the forties and fifties, I used to push both my children up from Water Lane with the labrador once or twice a week to the Co-op up here (Bisley) and a little shop on the corner. We had 2 ration books at the Co-op and two at the corner shop. Co-op used to deliver too. Then they shut and then a little van used to come round with all the groceries.
We used to go down to Blizzards to get the herbs. Hazel Mills had to learn the piano (with Mrs. Blizzard) and I used to have to go with her. My mother believed in herbs.
Jenny David (born 1933) and Vesta Rock (born 1934)
Derby’s was a shop. Clothes to a degree. Mr. Derby used to go out with a case, and sell at people’s houses. He was a great big bloke. It would only have been a room and so he dominated it. He definitely had the house converted to a shop.
The sons – the Duttons – they were both butchers before they went to fish and chips. Paul Dutton was the father, and they lived in the house at the side, now it’s a flat. Then you came on down the road and you had a slaughterhouse, which was Mr. Peter’s, and he was a butcher. But Dutton – Grampy Dutton- also had a butcher shop where they are now. Where the fish and chip is. Old Mr. Duttton had a butcher shop there. But Mr. Dutton owned the cottages behind the fish and chip shop didn’t he? And they’re still in the family. June Davis lives in one.
But there was another shop in the village; Mills. Dougie Mills. Everyone went to Mr Miller(Mills?) That was the big one. But he sold that. He sold that to a butcher. It became a butcher’s shop. But he sold everything, shoes, clothes. I used to send my family along ‘they all need shoes, can you..?’ It was more like a draper’s shop.
There was a post office too. And in France Lynch. There was another one in Chalford Hill too. We had three post offices. It was on the main drag, it used to be opposite The Fleece. By Pudney Pie. You can’t miss it. Circular windows. Further along was a sweet shop. There was Court’s at the top of Marle Hill, Flight’s Lane. There were two shops at the top of Marle Hill. There was Denzel Stairs. He sold sweets. Oil. Because the children used to send him out the back and then steal the sweets. The shop was quite dirty. Wasn’t he a bookmaker, didn’t he take bets? Oh yes, but just locally. And then on Flight’s Lane, the Flights lived along here and Mrs. Flight had a sweet shop. And that was the tiniest little thing, she had to climb about six steps to get in. Bu she was very strict. She wouldn’t allow you to have too many. Boiled sweets, toffees, there wasn’t a lot of choice. Not like today. Big jars all across the back. There was room for her to walk along – just – and then there was the counter. But she didn’t do ice cream or anything like that.
There was Moseley’s, an ice-cream factory. That was where Mill’s shop is – they were opposite (in the fifties, this is). He’d go around in his van and I would be fascinated because he always stopped outside our house, rang the bell – just ding ding – I loved watching it. I didn’t want the cornets, I wanted a wafer. Wafer with a thick layer of ice-cream and a wafer on top. But he stopped coming – I can’t think when, after the war…
(Vera) Later, when I was married, we owned 2 shops, in Painswick (greengrocer’s shop plus a bit of a village store) and in Stroud. The shop in France Lynch became vacant so we thought, we’ll go there. We sold the Painswick shop and then moved to France Lynch to open the shop there. Then in 1965 I divorced my husband but I also then bought – we were actually renting the shop and land – an acre of land that had buildings – old bakery buildings. It was a triangle of land and our house was on the corner. In 1966 I bought the whole lot. So that’s why they’ve not got houses on both roads, which was a good selling point because the builder didn’t have to build a road. We were basically living opposite the Pleasure Ground. I eventually closed the shop. It was OK when the children were young but it wasn’t a shop that was going to make any money.
Shirley Bushell (born 1943)
(On the main road) the house with the very big window was Mr. Porter the butcher, then it became Mr. Blanche. Then as you went along the main road, opposite the Silk Mill and Belvedere there were shops there. A sweet shop run by Mr. Gubbins. He sold one or two other things as well but mainly sweets and tobacco. I can remember looking in this window, when we had sixpence to spend, all the different chocolate bars in all flavours. All Cadbury’s chocolate bars. You used to spend hours deciding which to buy.
Then quite a few houses and along a bit further, there was a big house called Vale House with a big shop front on to the road and that was a newsagent. It is amazing how many shops there were around. We had Holme Stores where Noahs Ark that used to be was. That was grocery. Then Mr. & Mrs. Sollars came there. Then of course the Co-op which was quite big, where Lavender is. You had dividends. I remember going up to the Co-op with my mum to do her shopping and she used to chat to people from France Lynch who had come down to do their shopping and they had to carry it all up, back up the hill. You never went up to Chalford Hill to be honest.
Then you had the post office along the High Street and opposite there another grocery shop and hardware where the Drovers live. That was Carpenters who ran that in my time. Then as you went further along, where Trout Hall is now, that was another grocery shop one end and a wool shop the other end. I remember going up there to buy wool for knitted jumpers or cardigans. A Miss Gardener and other people had it at different times. In those days if you couldn’t afford to buy all the wool in one go she would put it away for you and you’d go and buy a couple of ounces a week or whatever you could afford.
Victoria Studios was an upholstery place. Because my brother actually bought that as Chalford Chairs in about mid sixties. He sold it to someone from South Wales but they couldn’t seem to make it go so it went into liquidation.
Opposite Chalford Chairs where those houses are where you go down, was Lionel Padin’s garage. There was a brother and sister, they never married. They did quite a lot for the churches.
I remember the donkeys a bit – I think they were just about coming to the end of time delivering the bread. I can remember the Co-op delivery man with a van. The Co-op used to deliver coal too I think. Coal merchants, Smarts, were just across in the yard.
Gerald Gardiner (born 1933)
I had a Sunday morning paper round from the newsagent at the bottom of the hill. Most of it was walking. I used to walk right along that Cirencester road to deliver one paper and right round the back of the aerodrome. I did leave say 9.0 and get back about 12.30. I think I got about three shillings and sixpence. I kept it, I think. I was at the Marling then so probably over 11 years old. You had a big bag. The papers were big enough in them days.
There was a butcher’s shop at the top of that hill in the valley opposite the Sunday school and we mostly had rabbits.
Margaret Mills (born 1934)
There was the post office which has gone now. One in Chalford Hill but one in Chalford Valley too, just above the bus stop. There was the grocer shop opposite that, then a bit on there was a little shop in the High Street past Tankard Spring, by where we lived, and as you came round up Coppice Hill, there was a shop where you could buy clothes and a bakers.
Up on the hill there were a lot of shops. You could literally buy anything in the village. There was a Co-op where Lavender Bakehouse now is. That was a big shop. Opposite the bridge where you go to the industrial estate, there was a shop. On the main road on the way to St. Mary’s there was a butcher’and also a grocer’s shop by the church, opposite the bridge where you go down to the industrial estate. When we first got married we lived in Bliss Mill Cottages so that was our little village shop.
People used to deliver bread and milk and there was Smart’s coal merchant opposite Bliss Mill Cottages and they would deliver coal. I can remember donkeys on the canal and I think, when I was young, coming up Rack Hill.
(After the war) rationing carried on and you had your ration book – a quarter of a pound of sweets a week. It was considered normal and if we went into Stroud and mother saw people queuing, she would put us in the queue and go and see what they were queuing for. Whatever it was, we had to have some of it, even if it was pegs and bread – it was all queued for.
John Hemmings (born 1934
There was Cook had the Post Office and at the age of 15 I did a paper round for him at 6.0 o’clock in the morning. You started in the Post Office and went up to Springfield House and all the way up Marle Hill and up to Poole’s Ground and to the school and Rack Hill, then went home for breakfast, then to school. It did me no harm. You got value for what you were doing. I had a pushbike and in the evening I’d go to the Post Office and asked if there were any telegrams. Cook was a right old Jew. If there was a wedding at Frampton Mansell, you may get 6 or 8 telegrams and say if you got 10p for taking one, it was the same 10p for all them. But he got paid for each of them. He should have never have given me a telegram to take to a mother at the top of Dark Lane to say her son was missing in the war. He should never have given a child a telegram like that.
Graham Hobbs (born 1953)
When my parents bought the house in Eastcombe in 1969, there were two shops – now only one. In Brownshill there was a shop at the end of Jubilee Cottages. That closed at the end of the 1980s. In Chalford there were about six shops and now only the electrician’s left. There’s the community shop in Chalford Bottom and Tescos in Bussage.
Beryl Freebury (born 1941)
I remember mum worked at a post office. There was only one shop where it is now. That’s where we did most of our shopping but the man came round with lemonade, and there was a milkman, coalman and along towards Bussage was the Co-op. You had a book and a number and went to the Co-op and left our book and picked it up the next week. We didn’t have a butcher’s shop but we just caught rabbits.
We used to have to go up to Mr. Gaston’s house opposite Bracelands. He had a shed and you used to have to take your accumulators and he would refill (recharge) them so you could use your wireless. You would have one there and one at home – so you could exchange them.
There was in those days (1960s) in Frampton Mansell, a sort of shop run by Mrs. Stayte. There was a little shop in Oakridge which became a bigger shop and is now a very good shop.
Bob Messenger (born 1950)
There used to be Mary Taysom’s along by the Methodist Church, two (shops) down the village, one at the top of Marle Hill and one just up the road, and one down here, down the bottom of the garden. All grocery shops. We had about four or five shops up here. Yes, used to have one down in the valley, High Street. I think there’s still one down there. Used to be a post office in the village.
Used to have the Chalford Donkey to bring groceries up from bottom from the Post Office. He had panniers on the side. That’s what the narrow paths made for.
Audrey Bishop (born 1932)
The baker was just up the road, round the corner. And I mean just down the road, and round the lane there was a sweetshop, which I did enjoy! On the way to school we’d have three quarters of a pound of sweets to last us the month.
The butcher’s was still there then, Duttons. I don’t remember there being a butcher anywhere else. There was one in Chalford Hill, but that was different.
There were little shops doing all sorts of things. I wouldn’t say a grocery shop as such. There was one along further in the village, not that far away, not in France Lynch as such. Sort of Chalford Hill.
We had three post offices. One in Lynch Road, one in Chalford and one in the valley.
Nancy Gardiner (born 1924)
Margaret, Stan’s sister, married Les Derby who had run Redman’s menswear shop in Stroud, and Margaret had worked in the ladies’ outfitters opposite in Stroud; so together they started a milliner’s shop just below the school in Chalford Hill, backing on to the Limes. It was called Derby’s. He used to go out in the van. People paid weekly.
May Smith (born 1924)
There was a shop just across the road, Mr. Courts, a grocer’s shop. Mr. Stairs’ sweet shop was up the hill, at the back of the Duke of York. Mr. Cook used to keep the barber shop, just along the road from the grocer shop. I remember my dad and brother went along to have their hair cut and I used to watch him and he used to come through a window from his part of the house into the shop! It was so funny! When we moved to the Wheatsheaf (about 1934?) there was a post office there and Miss Holmes and her brother’s grocer’s shop.
I left school and went to hairdressing from 14. (When we moved to Eastcombe and my children went to school) I continued doing the hairdressing at home. Then a friend said would you like to open a shop. Alan was building a bungalow by the church at Eastcombe where the hairdressing shop is now. That’s what my husband built for myself and my partner. She didn’t want to do it after 12 months so I bought it off of her and ran the business for quite some time. Then I said I didn’t want to work anymore. I was going up and down, up and down, leaving the poor patients under the driers, while I come down home putting the tea on for the family, rushing back, combing their hair out, coming back down home and getting their tea! That was my day, Tuesday till Saturday. I started taking apprentices. The second one I had was Anne Shaylor, Keith and Beline Shaylor’s daughter. I said to her one day I didn’t really want to do it anymore. So she rented it off me and then she decided not to carry on so I rented it to some other hairdresser for about two or three years, then another took it over. Then the lady that’s there now, Penny, she bought it off me, ten to twelve years ago.
There were several shops on the hill. France Lynch Post Office, run and owned (first recollection) by Mrs. Young, helped by her daughter Mrs. Skinner. Besides the Post Office, household goods were sold, including paraffin, pickling spices and various other useful household items. Sweets too were sold and, when available, fruit such as oranges and bananas – both strictly rationed to give each household a chance to savour these things. When Mrs. Young passed away, Mrs. Skinner took over, to be followed by her daughter Pam Turner. When Pam retired, local resident Mr. Derek Mathews bought the shop to try to keep it going for the benefit of the Community. On his retirement, it was sold and is now a private residence.
At the France Lynch bus stop crossroads, Mr. and Mrs. Workman baked and sold bread. Batch loaves, cottage loaves, tin loaves to name a few.
On Chalford Hill there was a Fish and Chip Shop and, in a courtyard just by, was a shop run by Mr. Don Baker, where villagers took their radio accumulators to be recharged and buy other things like torch batteries. Below this was Mr. Stares shop. He sold sweets and household amenities.
At the top of Marle Hill, run by Mr. Mills (he married teacher Miss Mallet) was another general store. Newspapers were also sold.
Chalford Hill had its own post office which also doubled as a general store. Then towards Dark Lane there was a shop which sold things like baskets, buckets, clothes lines – hardware I suppose. On the road along from the Post Office, Mr. Mosely had his ice cream parlour, where he made the ice-cream, sold it and also had an ice-cream van which he would drive round weekends and, at the end of the season, much to children’s delight, he would give a double amount for the price of a single cornet or tub. There was another General Store, run by Miss Taysum (adjacent to the Methodist Church, Chalford Hill).
Judith Newman (born 1943)
There must have been rationing but I don’t remember being specially affected by this; we used to go along to do the shopping if it was school holidays, and Tuesday afternoons I went down to the Co-op, which is now Lavender Bakehouse, and I must have seen ration books being used, but I wasn’t particularly aware of it. And we just used to love going into the Co-op because it smelt delightful, cheese and bacon and biscuits. Every now and then, we were put near the floor by the big oak mahogany counter with a brass rail, and big oak chairs we would sit on, and we’d eat biscuits; they weren’t in packets, I don’t know how they were stored. And of course they would serve dry goods, you know, from tubs, in flour bags or sugar bags; slice the bacon in the bacon slicer; there was no fridge so the bacon tended to be very, very salty, and cheese was highly spiced. It was a great adventure going to the Co-op but my mother, because my sister was only a toddler when we moved, used to have to walk her down there to do the shopping and toil all the way back up again. My sister would always talk about ‘going Co-ops’.
There were other shops: there were so many in the wider village but the ones we used were the ones near the school; ‘Stairs’, I said to my sister yesterday ‘was it more than sweets?’ – but we only ever went there for sweets; that was the one, and a tiny path that went up the back, then the Duke of York and a little shop on the side; and there was one just in front of the Duke of York, which was Mills’ Shop, and that was a big general grocers, you could buy anything, but my mum used to go there for cakes and bread sometimes, and the bread was made by what is now my brother-in-law – his father was the baker at Thrupp Bakery. We used to buy bread at the Co-op and it was delicious bread.
These were the two shops we used, and the Co-op. And then there was the Post Office at the bottom of the High Street, opposite that Carpenters which is shown in books. On the way back from school, pop in there and get an ice cream and walk back up the hill with a lolly, you know, stick the stick in the wall after we’d finished. We were very, very disciplined not to throw wrappers on the floor, never would throw wrappers on the floor. Bu Carpenters opposite, which used to have all these slogans written all over it, not in my day but in photographs I’ve seen, you would go in there as a last resort because if you went in there, you waited and you waited and they were just having a chat, gossip, gossip, gossip, you didn’t get served so we just didn’t go in there.
Further along the High Street I think there had been a little grocers or green grocers once, I just seem to vaguely remember it, and there used to be a Lloyds Bank. I think there’s still a building, a red brick building, I don’t know, with some sort of semi-circular end with a window, I can’t quite remember; and there was a shop further along called Mr. King’s shop, which was just before you go along and then up round and up the hill. I used to go there down this little path which we used to call the short cut, on a hot afternoon to get ice lollies. He would make ice lollies himself so one end was all water and the other end was all flavour. They were a penny, I think. And I walked down there on my own to get a lolly, coming up the hill on a hot afternoon with 2 ice lollies, I found myself coming up with two sticks! There were two other Post Ofices, in Chalford and France Lynch, but we didn’t use them.
The other place we used to go and buy things was Moseleys’ Ice Creams, which was next to the telephone kiosk on Chalford Hill. We’d go up there, kneel down on the floor and put our heads through a window and ring a bell and they were delicious ice creams. And sometimes the ice cream van would come round, whether it was theirs or somebody else’s I don’t know.
There was a grocers in Commercial Road, called Gardiners, and another on the main road, next to the church and school, which we didn’t use. There was an outfitters in Silver Street, and Miss Taysum’s next to the Wesleyan Chapel.
Any other deliveries around? Oh yes, there was another shop, Baughan’s, where you put in an order, the butchers along a St. Mary’s which was Blanches Butchers and still looks like a shop now, near Belvedere Mill. Some people had meat delivered by the butcher, bread delivered – I don’t know where that came from, the shop or what, I just remember the bread being delivered. The Post Office delivered. The groceries were delivered from the Co-op; I remember 2 big bags and also the heavy goods and the tins used to come up in a box. He delivered on Tuesdays, after we’d shopped. It was carried up in packs, I suppose, never saw donkeys – there’s a legend about donkeys but never in my time. There were horses and carts. There was also this baker here at the bottom of the hill, Charlie Wood, right on the corner. It was awful, this awful ramshackle building was his bakery and I knew people who had his bread but I wouldn’t eat it myself. Somewhat grey! On the right as you go round. Yes you go down and just before you go round and down, there used to be a really old ramshackle Cotswold stone building with a door that had fallen over somewhat, that was Charlie Wood’s Bakery. And he used to deliver on a Tuesday afternoon, he would come round to the School with his horse and cart and he’d sell us penny buns off the back of the cart. They were sort of bright yellow, which I suppose was powdered egg or something, very hard, with sugar on the top. We used to think they were great. We always had milk at school. Most things delivered, yes, but milk at school definitely, ice cold and tasted of cheese.
There was Taysum’s Blacksmiths past Christ Church, and what we called ‘the paper shop’; it was one of the bus stops, you asked for ‘the paper shop’; I never used to go in there. I don’t remember it ever as a paper shop, the name was just used for a stop.
Peter Clissold (born 1931)
My father worked up at the Bussage Co-op; he worked there as a grocer all his life – Windwhistle today. My father went there straight from school, worked there until he retired. He retired at 60, took early retirement – that was his career. He knew everyone, and he also knew their dividend numbers. He’d see someone coming down the road and he’d say ‘there’s 46819 just gone by’ … things like that! There used to be three other people working with him at the Co-op. I can’t remember the date it closed. They used to have customers come from even as far as Oakridge and Daneway, and all round that way, customers would come on their bikes and get their groceries for the week. It’s strange that, to come all that distance?
Rationing – it was quite difficult at times I’m sure. But back in those days nobody had anything. The Co-op didn’t even have a phone – you can’t imagine a Co-op without even a phone. So to order coal for somebody to be delivered from Stroud, he had to go down the road to Miss Wallace and ask if he could borrow the phone. Very basic, but everything worked.
I took part in a little milk round, used to come up this drive here on a pony and trap and it was an interesting time then You know the road that goes along to the cross roads towards Chalford, you go down that steep bit don’t you, well the pony fell down there, going down on an icy morning, got down on his knees and the milk churn tipped over and instead of having a brown pony we had a white one with the milk! The trouble was with a pony is that if he gets down and he loses his confidence, unless you can get it up within a short time, it’s no good, it’s finished. We had to try and get this pony up onto his feet and go back and get some more milk and go round again! The milk round was for Webster’s at Manor Farm, they delivered milk all round here in competition with Bill Pincott at the Ram. They sort of vied for trade a bit.
Hayden Hunt (born 1941)
Later on when I was just about leaving school, when they stopped doing the milk from the farm (Hillside Farm), Norman Crew over at the next – Pontins Farm, took over the milk round and I used to help him out, delivering the milk. I used to help Norman on a Saturday, definitely on a Saturday in the summer as well, we used to go to do the milk round and then we’d go up to the top field, where Chalford would play cricket. It was a cart (for the milk) you know, a float thing, or a pick-up sort of thing. I got paid for it, it wasn’t a great deal of money but it was just, you know, I enjoyed doing it…
Mr. Barnfield worked at the garage by the Co-op, he lived at Cowcombe Hill; used to oil the wheels (of my pram) for me if they squeaked. He’d say ‘hang on a minute’ – people were very kind.
We went to the Co-op for a lot of things and they had shoes there and small items of clothing – the bit nearest the canal was where my shoes came from.
An old man used to live next to the Mission, who sharpened saws and I used to bring Gramps there. Nothing was delivered you see, but we did burn wood. We did have coal, it came up in a lorry as far as the field gate and Gramp had a sheet of corrugated iron with holes at each corner of the narrow end, with a wire on, and load it on to that and drag it back to the cottage. Occasionally they did get the lorry along the path but they’d swear because it was difficult to turn the lorry round.
George Rowles (born 1928)
Shops in Brownshill; There was one pub, one church and one shop – well there was two shops years ago, but one was at the top of Blackness, I’m trying to think of the woman that run it, but I couldn’t, but there was a shop on the top of Blackness; you know, a wooden shop; and that closed. It was just like a little shed almost.
And Mr. Marshall kept the shop here; I remember Mr. Marshall in the shop there, everyone used to know Mr. Marshall (one of them used to keep pigeons and they didn’t fly, he had them as exhibition pigeons and they all had beautiful plumage, you know, and he used to exhibit them all over the country you see). It was general sort of groceries. Then he died and his son (Terry?) bought it from London and he didn’t make a very good job of it, so it closed down then…., ‘cos things got modern and then you can’t compete with supermarkets.
Keith Weaver (born 1932)
A man used to push a handcart up the hill selling fish – he had it in small wooden boxes. Another man walked up Coppice Hill with a large wooden basket on his shoulder, full of cream cakes. The milkman came.
On the way to Sapperton there was a little shop owned by Mrs. Staithe so we always went in to buy sweets.
I remember walking home from school on slaughter days. I remember walking past the slaughter house and seeing dead animals hung up. One man would be washing the floor and another would be on the other side of the road singeing the hairs off the pig. It was just above the car park. It’s still there (no longer a butcher).
As boys we liked to get a large loaf of bread, straight from the bakehouse. We would get a batch cake from Workmans in France Lynch, or a small tin bread loaf from Gardiners in Chalford Hill. My friend and I occasionally asked Mr. Wood at the bottom of Coppice Hill to bake us a cabbage loaf. Thinking back, I remember two sweet shops closing at the start of the war, never to open again. Mrs. Flight had one, in Haywards Lane, opposite the British Legion hut. As you went in, the bell on the back of the door used to ring and she would come up the steps from her house. Mrs. Chivers had her sweet shop in her house at the bottom of the lane going up to Belle Vue Terrace.
Rationing – didn’t affect me really as I was too young, but we knew about it of course. You couldn’t get sweets and bread was rationed into the 50s. I remember working in 1951 for Wallers and had to take my ration book up there.
We didn’t have things delivered by donkey. We had the Co-op delivering groceries, my Mum go down and order it, and some from Smart’s shop down by the old bus stop. They both delivered. We had bread from the Co-op and from Smith down by where the shop is now. My mother used to go every Friday to Stroud but she had a friend who had a shop there, who used to live in no.7 here but then moved into Stroud. She had a sweet and grocery shop; so Mum always went to see her on a Friday morning.
Ross Forsyth (born 1940)
Mrs. Young and Mrs. Skinner her daughter kept the France Lynch Post Office which sold everything. I remember going up there to buy those gas mantels – like honesty lantern shape made out of asbestos material. You slot them on and light the gas flame. I can remember going and fetching those. Mrs. Young owned it and her widowed daughter ran it. Widowed in WW1. Mrs. Young could have been 90 I suppose. They had this chair up against the counter and I can remember having to climb up on there to see what sweets I wanted. I can remember having pocket money when I was six or seven – about 2s. 6d. It mostly went on sweets.
Towards the end of the war when I was four or five, I can remember the sweets coming off the ration and the stampede! The sweetshop then was in Midway, kept by Miss Jason. Reasonable choice of sweets. There wasn’t the range of chocolate bar choices but there was traditional sweets like humbugs.
There was Stair’s just above the Duke of York – a general grocery, sweets, and it was kept by a family called Stairs. Denzel, the son, ran a little line in betting – he was the mobile booky! He had quite a lot of my father’s money! It was very illegal at the time. There was the Home Stores – hardware, wellingtons, raincoats. There was, just below the council school, down by the side, there was a little haberdashery there run by Derby. Laces, buttons, needles and thread. You’d go into Stroud once a week. You could get our meat, poultry, haircut, post office up here. There wasn’t a fishmonger. That was one of the things my grandfather did after WW1; he’d drive all the way to Bristol early in the morning to buy wet fish and sell it around the place. 1920s.
Monica Ridge (born 1943)
The only cobbler I can remember was up Coppice Hill.
Mr. Halliday, he used to come up the side of the house and up here and at the back door there’s a corridor and we’d have a bench with jugs on, big white jugs…….he used to deliver our milk to the back there.
On the corner, that used to be a petrol station; that belonged to Lional Padin, and Mr. Wright used to help him.
Shirley Bushell’s grandfather used to have a shop in Noah’s Ark – Sawyers, a grocer’s shop. We used to get our groceries from Sawyers. If you went along the road, there were railings, and there’s a house with a very big picture window, that was the butchers.
I recall Chalford Chairs because I used to go the other side of Lavender Bakehouse, there are a lot of steps that go up, so I used to go up there and collect my sawdust for the rabbits. It was Chalford Chairs in the 1950s, quite famous. And I used to know the people that worked there. I think it was owned by a Mr. King and I think Hemming took over, or was it the other way round?
Lavender Bakehouse used to be the Co-op, I remember that very clearly, there used to be a Co-op. And as you went into the left hand side it would be more like shoe polish and that kind of stuff, and shoe laces. And on the other side was a long, long counter and you can see now where it’s got little drawers, and things would have been. Those are the original ones. The Co-op used to have railings all the way down, and used to have lovely raspberries which I used to pinch! Then we had the Post Office which was the Community Shop. And when I had my ration book for sweets, I used to go there every Saturday and, I can’t remember when, I can see his face, and he used to say, if I could get one of my freckles off, I could have an extra sweet. It was very cruel but it didn’t come off!
Opposite there was a grocery shop called the Carpenter, and they used to live near Chestnut House, and then there’s another house by the river, they used to live in there. Then if you went along the valley there was another shop and I can’t remember the name of it now, and it used to have pots and pans and all sorts of things in there; there used to be a pair of shops – haberdashery/pots and pans right along the High Street. That’s Trout Hall now, I think. The people who live there now have lovely photographs of how the shops were then .And of course there were shops up here (Chalford Hill) as well but I didn’t know them as well, but there were a lot of shops.
Alan Mayo (born 1943)
Mum could always remember that just past where the shop is, there was a butcher and they used to use that arch by the Red Lion as an air raid shelter during the war. It wasn’t built as an air raid shelter. I can remember the shop but when it was a bakery, before it was a chapel, so we were lucky to always have fresh bread. It was run by Reg Smith who lived just up Rack Hill.
We had the Webb twins where the Daintons live. It was Fudges who had the shop and there was a haberdashers’ on one end where the pathway goes down, and this side was like a grocery shop. If you start at St. Mary’s – right on the bend there was a pub, along a little bit farther was the next pub, with Mavis Smith, then where the warehouses are there’s a little shop which was a barber’s shop, and on the opposite side of the road was a big grocery shop and other shops, and a row of cottages with a sweet shop on the end.
Bit further, just before the church and the printers, was Blanche’s butcher shop. On the other side of the road there was the blacksmiths with a social room above it, where I went to a wedding once, then there was a house where Dr. Crouch had his surgery and the police station too.
Terry’s wife’s Dad, Les Sollars, had a general grocery shop (was Noah’s Ark), wines and spirits and he had a petrol pump on the other side of the road where the bus stop is.
At the bus terminal there was Lionel Padin’s garage, Co-op, Chalford Chairs – two chaps who did lovely cabinet making. Lionel’s place was where everything happened. Bus drivers used to go over and have a chat and have a cup of tea. He was a character. I kept my car in one of Lionel’s lock ups. They were in his yard, in front of the big house. I think he had two or three lock ups there. Very convenient for me.
On the High Street the Post Office on the right then on the other side, grocer’s shop, Carpenters; quite a well known postcard of that with a man walking up the street, that was my Mum’s father; he was the signalman, Harry Grimet.
The house right on the bend with the steps (bottom of Coppice Hill) that used to be Smart’s Sweetshop and as you go on up round, that was a bakery, Charlie Wood the old baker used to be outside Chalford School selling little buns for a penny from his horse and cart.
Halliday’s Mill, at bottom of Cowcombe Hill. I can remember it as Arnold Designs and it was a carpentry shop many years ago, where Peter Van Der Waals worked. But the best people for carpentry were the two chaps above the Co-op. They did some lovely stuff. I used to go down to get sawdust for the rabbits. One was ( Skirby (?) from Brimscombe and Mr. Stephens from Bussage. I used to quite like woodwork and be intrigued watching what they were doing. That’s quite an old mill.
Roger Dainton (came to Chalford in 1970)
Trout Hall: This house had been called ‘Valley House’, which did seem pretentious, but it was partly because, when it was a shop, it was called ‘Valley Stores’. When Lynda and I moved here in 1988, we brought the name ‘Trout Hall’ with us and changed the name officially.
We think Trout Hall was built in 1785. Originally it was divided into two separate dwellings – the main house plus two rooms for servants to live in, which are now the bathroom on the middle floor, which is road level and still has a fireplace in it, and a bedroom above. There are two narrow internal doorways from those two rooms into the rest of the house, which were probably made in the nineteenth century.
It was still a shop when I came to Chalford in 1970 but it closed in 1971 or 1972. All I can remember is that they sold cornflakes and sugar! But in the past it had been a general store run by William Gardiner (there’s a lovely photo of him standing outside with his pots and pans which we think was taken in 1910) and also his daughter sold second hand clothes from what is now the bathroom/hallway. Above the east shop window, there’s a bit of metal stuck out of the wall, and that fed a gas light, which illuminated the window from the outside.
2 Anchor Terrace: I owned 2 Anchor Terrace from 1970 until 1988. It was the original ‘Trout Hall ‘– I named it. When I moved from London, I had lots of boxes, one of which had ‘Trout Hall Tinned Grapefruit’ in big letters on it. So as a joke, I cut it out and stuck it on the glass over the front door in 2 Anchor Terrace, and it caught on. The funniest thing is that when Stan Gardiner and Lionel Padin were doing one of their slide shows, they showed a photograph of a horse and a cart and said ‘Behind where this photograph is taken, this house has now become ‘Trout Hall’’ and everyone laughed. I never changed it officially, it is still 2 Anchor Terrace.