Shopping part 2

Apart from the little grocery shops along Ormskirk Road we were also very well served with mobile traders.

There were a couple of butchers who came along in their vans and the householders could go out an buy fresh meat out of the back of the van. I remember the Darbyshires had a butchers van and I think there was another – Hutchins, was it? Somebody might leave a comment and remind me!

There was also at least one van that came round with fruit and vegetables.

I seem to remember a vehicle of some sort which sold hardware. I hope I am jogging memories and that someone will comment with more details.

I guess I could include the ice cream vans as deliveries! On weekends in summer the Fairhurst’s ice cream van used to stop near our house. This was a motor van, the ice cream was delicious and the thing I best remember was the raspberry vinegar that was squirted over the top of your ice cream cornet.

Tom Watson, quite a character, used to come around in his round shaped van pulled along by a patient little horse. Children got a small cornet for 2d, and the adults would have a wafer. I remember an incident once when Tom had pulled up near Watkinson’s shop and went in for some cigs, leaving the horse and cart unattended. My brother told the horse to “Gee up” and to our surprise, she did! Off she went towards Skem. Tom came out and had to run to catch up. I can’t tell you what he was yelling…but he was not at all pleased.

Ice cream vans – such a luxury and a treat when you consider that we rarely ate anything that was not home made. People of the 21st century could hardly envision a world where there was no cafes, restaurants or take away outlets.

So I guess this is why all the people of Tawd Bridge and Grimshaw Lane thought it was wonderful to have a fish and chip shop! I think it must have been in about 1956 when P Kenyon’s little grocery shop was converted into a chippy. It was run by May, who I think was P’s daughter. Fish and chips were what was on the menu, maybe with peas, but certainly not all the chicken, burgers or curries that you get in a chippy these days. But the fish and chips were so good! No convenient plastic bags of frozen chips! All the potatoes were peeled in the back of the shop, then out would come a bucket of freshly peeled potatoes and May would pass them, one at a time, through a simple machine that cut them into chips. Of course it meant that this fast food was not as fast as we might expect today. But people were prepared to stand and wait, knowing that these perfectly prepared hand made chips and freshly battered fish were going to be so good! In fact I used to really enjoy waiting for my chips. It was fascinating to watch May do the cooking and to just stand and listen to the conversation of the other customers.

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About Edith C

Born in Tawd Bridge, attended Digmoor school and chapel. Migrated to Australia in 1958, but have been back to Upholland for visits on several occasions since. Was a teacher, now retired. I would like to keep in touch with the people of Tawd Bridge, Upholland and Skelmersdale, I still have a fond and deep connection with the home of my childhood.

8 thoughts on “Shopping part 2

  1. Yes Edith you are probably correct in saying May started the chip shop within the grocers shop about 1956.They dont make fish & chips like that now .(The shop is still there )In later years I seem to remember Loise Kenyon having the shop, Wilma & brother ? helped out . I think Wilma and her husband took it over.
    Do you remember when the older men used to all sit on the bench nearly opposite the shop ?
    I recall the coop opening , it seemed quite modern as to the other little shops . I think Mr Jackson was the manager.His wife taught piano /violin at their home in Sandy Lane Skem.I never became the accomplished pianist my parents hoped for !

  2. I recall most of the shops and traders mentioned but I think the butcher`s name was Huxley rather than Hutchins.
    The “parafin man”, as we called him, sold hardware and came round in a converted single decker bus or maybe a big van although I seem to recall windows and a side entrance door. On the front it said “Here he comes” and “There he goes” on the back. Tom Watson would visit us at Digmoor (Spencers Lane/Daniels Lane) once in a Preston Guild and Fairhurst`s ice cream wasn`t exactly regular. I believe he came from Rainford and seemed to go Wigan way for his main trade. On beautiful warm days we rarely saw him but on cold rainy days he would appear. Presumably on the bad days he still had some stock left so we got a visit.
    I also remember the old Co-op. Quite a narrow building with steps up to the door. Inside was the front sales area with a scrubbed wooden floor and the counter to the left, usually with a large block of butter on the far end.Then beyond that were a few more steps to another area but whether that was the office I really can`t say. The big attraction of the Co-op for many locals was the “Divi”. A good way of saving a little extra for Christmas.
    Our shop was Dick Roughley`s, next to the Bowling Green Hotel, where you could buy almost anything required on a daily basis from parafin to pies or sweets to spuds and the like.
    After Cath Moss stopped bringing the milk Joe Walker took over and in addition to milk he also sold an orange and a lemon drink in little bottles like milk with foil tops and bits of orange or lemon floating around. I guess they were similar to the 1/3rd of a pint bottles of milk we got at school.
    Around the mid 50s the Corona Pop wagon would come round with pop of every flavour we could imagine and then some but the one I think most kids favoured was Tango. Not the fizzy stuff of today but a real orange taste – or is that just the rose coloured glasses again.

  3. I remember working on the bridges on the Tanhouse ring road about 68/69 and getting Huxley’s pie’s from a shop across the road form the Upholland Labour Club

  4. Huxleys butchers shop was in orrell its now the coop.
    I remember claytons butchers van travelling round digmoor (daniels lane)
    The parafin man was Jack Cunliffe is son came round with him they lived in garswood.
    The man with fruit and veg van I remember was Hardman think he lived in Upholland moor

  5. Elsie W.

    The fruit and veg vans that I recall coming down Grimshaw lane
    were run by Jack Henaughan from Chequer Lane and by Jack Gregson
    who lived on Ormskirk Road. I have thoroughly enjoyed reading your blog and it has certainly revived lots of childhood memories.

  6. Hi,
    I’m wondering if someone could help me. I’m looking for a Christopher Armstrong. I believe he used to live on Ormskirk Road, Skelmersdale. A few doors away from the chip shop.( What I fondly remember as Wilma’s chip shop). He would have lived in that house late 70′s maybe even before then, until early 1980. He would be late 50′s maybe early 60′s now. He liked taxidermy…which may jog someone’s memory! Any help would really be appreciated. Thank you

  7. I remember tom watson and his horse drawn ice cream cart as a kid my mum and dad had a small holding which backed onto were tom watson lived those stone cottages near the what was known as baxters shop opposite the labour club Was compulsory taken off us and had to move further up ormskirk rd and nothing was done on the land still there so did not have to move good memories

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