Celebrating life and times of Oliver’s corner shop family

HAT'S MY DAD: Exeter Street window of the shop with a young Ernest Baker Oliver in the 1920s
HAT'S MY DAD: Exeter Street window of the shop with a young Ernest Baker Oliver in the 1920s

My grandfather, Ernest De Burg Oliver ran a tobacconists and confectionary shop at 27, Scarborough Street, on the corner with Exeter Street, West Hartlepool at the time my father, Ernest Baker Oliver, was born in 1921.

The building is still there today.

The family lived at 15, Barnard Street at the time.

There seems to have been a lot of Olivers running small businesses in Hartlepool, West Hartlepool and Seaton Carew in the early 20th century.

My grandfather married Alice Hunter Fenwick and my father was the only child.

The family ran the Scarborough Street shop until 1938 and then sold up and moved down south and took on a shop in a newly built parade which they ran as a general grocers and off licence.

My father was called up in 1939 and joined the Army.

Later that year, my grandfather died after a short illness and my grandmother continued to run the shop while my father did his National service.

My father spent all his home leave back at the shop helping his mother run it.

In 1945 my father ended up in military hospital near London where he met my mother who was a nurse.

After the war ended my father went back to running the shop.

Over time it expanded and took over larger adjoining premises for the grocery side with the original shop becoming a dedicated specialist off licence.

There was a twice weekly delivery round as my father was a great traditionalist and believer in providing service to his customers.

In a sense it became a “mini supermarket” with self-service aisle and checkouts, a staffed deli section and freezer section (although at the time these terms were not used).

My parents ran the shop as a family business, myself and my sister helping out in school holidays and at weekends, particularly over Christmas when it was very busy.

My parents retired in 1986, selling the shop and retiring nearby.

The shop is still running as a general store and off licence.

My father celebrates his 92nd birthday on April 10.

Nicki Oliver

Border Collie Rescue

Market Place


North Yorkshire