More memories of the Central Estate

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THIS letter follows on from my last story of shops and their keepers on Central Estate.

Leaving Bill Collitt’s bike shop in Arch Street, and across the road to a small shop on the corner of Bell Street that sold pet food and gardening products.

I used to go there for seeds to plant in the garden.

Again opposite was the newsagent’s owned by Bob Moore, a man who always had a big new Vauxhall car.

A few times I went with him to the Mail office to collect a boot full of papers, the Northern Daily Mail as it was then, to be sold in his shop and Jack Cockburn’s shop on Cleveland Road.

The Mail at the time was 2 1/2d, old money – just over 1p today.

Next door to Bob Moore’s was a small dairy shop owned by a man called Bird.

This area in Arch Street was the heart of the estate.

After the dairy was the Co-op butcher’s shop. Rabbits, chickens, pigs’ heads, etc, all hanging in the front window.

Next door was the Co-op store.

My mam would send me here each week to collect eight one-pint milk tokens and maybe a bag of sugar, which was weighed and put into a blue paper bag.

Also flour, which was weighed and put into cloth bags.

I’ll never ever forget her Co-op dividend number, 25710.

That number is imprinted on my brain.

Along to the end of Arch Street and Stephenson Street you would come to Thompson’s Red Stamp shop, similar to Green Shield Stamps.

Just across the road was Bertie Holden’s butcher shop.

Again my mam would send me here with a large bowl for fresh pease pudding and duck.

The pease pudding was still warm and runny, and was to die for.

Over the road you would find the local off licence run by Mr and Mrs Todd.

The shop was locally called Toddy’s. In my eyes they were old people.

Mrs Todd did the serving while Mr Todd just seemed to sit in the corner all of the time the shop was open.

On a Sunday evening I would be sent to Toddy’s for a bottle of Cameron’s lemonade and a quarter of toffees.

This was mine and my two sisters’ treat for the week.

I took the previous week’s bottle back for the deposit.

Turning back along Watson Street was another general dealers called Allan’s, and next door was the fish shop.

Fish and chips were a real treat for mam and dad at two shillings for fish and chips twice (10p today).

My parents would get the fish and my sisters and I the chips.

Over from the chippy was a TV repair shop, proprietors unknown.

Not a lot of people had a TV at the time.

Opposite the TV shop was another general dealer, I think owned by George Buttery.

He also ran what was called a ‘penny a ride’ at the time.

He had a horse with a cart which had seats for children.

He did good business taking children around Central Estate.

Last but not least on Cleveland Road was the local pub called The Central, better known as the Klondike.

Opening the door on this place, I did not dare to venture in.

It was a wall of smoke and people talking loudly.

Opposite the pub was Jack Cockburn’s newsagent and library.

I delivered papers for him. Morning papers, night Mails, Football Mails, Sunday papers, magazines, etc.

All for the princely sum of 17 shillings per week (85p today).

The last shop on Cleveland Road was the Post Office, formerly Sid Newbury’s barber shop.

The Post Office was run by an old man called Bill Slade.

Victor Meldrew had nothing on this man.

I would go to the Post Office occasionally to get a sixpenny Savings Stamp with Princess Anne’s head on.

Stick it in a savings book then go in the next week and cash it in again.

Happy days!

Philip Black,

John Howe Gardens,

Hartlepool.