By Brian Stott (Regular Contributor)
Just before Christmas I wrote an article for The Skipton Press about The Bethlehem Crib Scene in Skipton during the 1960’s. This prompted lots of good responses to me about Skipton in the past, so I am going to look back over the years and try to provide people with some nostalgic pieces about Skipton in days gone by.
I was born in 1957 in Skipton and have continued to live here all of my life so I have a lot of memories to draw on.
My early life was in the Broughton Road area of town. It has been said that true “Broughton Roaders” live in the area past where the road passes under Carleton road just past the Railway Station.
So I am happy to say that I qualified as such in that I lived there on Marina Crescent as a child and attended Ings School. My Grandfather moved to 53 Broughton Road in 1935 when the house was built and my father was four then. He moved round the corner to Marina Crescent when he married and he lived there for the rest of his life I was lived there until I was 27 when I moved into the other end of Skipton. So my Qualifications are strong.
A Village Community
Broughton Road was, in the 1900s up to 1980 at least, what I would describe as a “village” community.
You could exist easily without going “Up Town” as we used to say if we were going into Skipton itself. When I was a boy we had a Post Office, a Newsagents, a Butchers, a Co-op grocers, several corner shops, a shoe shop/cobblers, a school, a church, a Sunday School, a bus garage, a petrol station and Ford Car sales, a textile mill, an off-licence, a market garden and even a Judo Club (no gyms then!), even the Ambulance Depot was in our “village”. Sadly most of these have now gone but I wonder how many people reading this can remember them and the names of the shops and the people who ran them.
I will talk more about some of the businesses I mentioned earlier in later weeks but will start off this time by talking about the shops that were on the main road at the end of Pendle Street.
I have found this very old photograph of the area (which predates me even!)
You can see in it a horse and cart and the mill chimney at Dewhurst’s Mill ( now apartments called Glista Mill opposite Morrisons) – Who remembers hearing the steam hooter 4 times a day signalling the start and end of work and the start and end of the workers dinner hour ( no one called it a lunch break ! too “Southern “ by far that ! )
If you drive down Broughton Road today you will be able to spot that the three homes just past Pendle Street have a distinctive ex-shop look about them. The other shop is Raj Indian takeaway.
Broughton Road Of Yesterday
In my childhood, all of these were still shops. As we look from the left of the photograph there was Mr and Mrs Briggs Newsagents (I used to get The Wizard Comic there every Saturday) so it seems it was always such a business. It has a good selection of sweets too.
The middle of the three was a shoe shop and cobblers but I can’t remember the name. The third shop in the row was the Co-op Grocers.
Now Tesco Morrison’s and the other supermarkets like to think that that they are innovative, well perhaps not. Every Friday my Mother used to write in her “order book” a list of groceries we needed for the week ahead, this could even include sacks of coal weighing a hundredweight (1 cwt in metric 50 kg) each, for the open fire.
We would then take this to this shop and often took my Grandmother’s order too. The man in the shop would add up the cost of everything and we would pay for it. The shop would keep the book get all the goods together and then a delivery van would bring the groceries on Saturday to our house at no extra charge. The coal came separately and was always an exciting experience for a little boy to see. So Tesco Direct etc is nothing new.
Not Too Unfamiliar
Also, Tesco thinks they have something new with Club Card and giving you vouchers based on what you spend. Nothing new here, the local Co-op, (each town seemed to have their own individual Co-op – ours was called The Keighley and Skipton District Co-operative Society I think) had this sewn up.
Each customer could join a scheme and be given a membership number, every time you visited the shop you gave your number and the shopman wrote down what you spent, he gave you a carbon copy slip of what he put in his book. Every six months the Co-op totted up what profit they had made and declared a dividend to all those who were members.
I believe this was something in the region of a shilling for every £1 spent. Twenty shillings in the pound so 5%. Far better than the amounts offered by Tesco today. You then had to go to the main Co-op offices in town to collect your “Divi” in cash. Tesco sends you vouchers to spend in their shop. Who remembers doing this? My Mum’s Divi number was 22159. I can still remember it being said each time we went to the shop. You could save up the money if you wanted to over several Divi periods and get a healthy sum.
So these new-fangled ideas aren’t so new after all!
The last shop in the picture was the Post Office. Now the Raj Takeaway. I used to go with my Mum and sister to collect our Family Allowance there. I didn’t understand it really at the time but my Mum had a book and it had lots of dated pages in it. She took this book in and the chap there (I can’t remember his name) or his wife gave my mum some money for free! These days it is paid by Bank Transfer! The Post Office sold stationery and greetings cards too.
So I hope you have enjoyed my nostalgic item and that if you are from the area you remember these things too. If you were brought up in another town I’m sure there were similar shops with you. If you are a lot younger than me you can see that we weren’t as far behind as you may think.