Sweet shop memories of Lily and Phil

IN a recent Memory Lane article the writer asked if anyone knew anything about the old sweet shop by the ABC Cinema.

There were two. One next to the cinema with a black door frame and another, next door, painted yellow.

Around 1955 the yellow one was owned by friends of my parents, an elderly couple called Phil and Lily.

My father was working in the mine at Blackhall at the time and I remember my mother used to take my older sister and me to visit Lily regularly.

Phil, had other work so I didn’t see much of him.

The counter was built around the shop both sides and across the back, with a flap at the back to get through.

Behind was a living room with a coal fire.

I used to hide under the right side of the counter and eat handfuls of the unsalted peanuts from the open round wooden tubs.

The nuts were sold loose and I don’t suppose Lily ever counted them to account for the ‘shrinkage’.

One day we were in the back room and I was playing on the floor in front of the fire.

The hot poker fell out of fire and landed on my bare leg leaving me with a long, thin blister which took a long time to heal and disappear.

I don’t remember a lot of fuss about it though. In those days I was always getting cuts and bruises.

When Phil and Lily retired my mother took over the shop (which will have been my father’s idea).

She didn’t have it for long though. Maybe she just looked after it until a new owner could be found.

All I remember is that I wasn’t allowed to plunder the peanuts any more!

Cook’s barber’s shop is still at the corner and my father always went there to get his haircut and often used to take me.

I remember Mr Cook’s son starting to work there. He had short, black curly hair and looked very much like his father who had short, grey curly hair.

On the other side of the ABC, across Museum Road, Bob Ireland and his son ran the Town Hall garage.

I took my girlfriend to see the last film that was ever shown at that cinema about 1970.

It was An Officer and a Gentleman, with Richard Gere.

John Meggison,

Barley Close,