An Illustrated History of Old Sutton in St. Helens, Lancashire

Part 23 (of 92 parts) - Sutton Shops & Businesses

An Illustrated History of Old Sutton in St.Helens
Part 23 (of 92 parts) - Sutton Shops
An Illustrated History of
Old Sutton in St.Helens
Sutton Shops
Researched and Written by Stephen Wainwright ©MMXVII

Sutton Shops Notes and Photographs

During the 1920s there were four barbers' shops within Sutton. John 'Jack' Heyes had a barber's at 91 Junction Lane and there were two in Peckers Hill Road. Peter Evans had premises where the Lloyds TSB Bank is presently located and another barber's was at the junction of Peckers Hill Road and Powell Street. Lawrence Fowles also had a shop in Waterdale Crescent. The barbers' cut hair for between six pence to a shilling and shaved men’s beards for twopence. There was also one at 5 Clock Face Road according to a 1914 advert. After the war William Squires had a barber's shop in Ellamsbridge Road until a demolition notice was served on him in 1962 and he relocated to Burtonwood.

Clogger John Heyes of Oxley Street, Sutton, St.Helens
Clogger John Heyes of Oxley Street
Contributed by Brenda MacDonald
There were quite a number of clog makers and repairers within the Sutton district. In Charles Forman's book ‘Industrial Town - Self Portrait of St Helens in the 1920s’, a cobbler born in 1910 was quoted during the 1970s as saying:
 There were a lot of cobblers’ shops – you couldn’t walk many streets without coming across one. And there were backyard repairers – doing a bit in a back shed somewhere. From Sutton Manor to Sutton, there’s only one cobbler now and he’s doing very little – he’s 65. In that same area, there used to be ten or eleven. A little place like Peasley Cross, which was never thickly populated, had two or three. 
The cobbler remembered most by Suttoners was Clogger Whalley's, whose shop was on the corner of Robins Lane and Crouch Street by the Post Office. Originally opened in 1860, his son Ernest Whalley inherited the clog maker's in 1898 and it was passed onto his own son, also called Ernest in 1960. The latter concentrated more on repairing shoes but was still known as Clogger Whalley. In an edition of Whalley's World in the St.Helens Star, Teresa Platt recalled Clogger Whalley's in its heyday:
 It was a dusty place with a strong smell of leather, wafting towards you as you opened the door. Looking over the counter was like gazing at an iron scrap-yard. There was everything there, from nails and hammers, gripping tools and two wheels - one for grinding, the other for polishing. 
There were quite a few other 'Clogger Whalleys' in Sutton. Henry Whalley had a clogmaker's at 25 Worsley Brow and his son William Whalley was also recorded as a 'clogger' in the 1911 census at 59 Junction Lane. Plus in Peasley Cross Road, Jem Whalley had his clog shop. Jem was succeeded by his son Sidney and then granddaughter Lily and her husband Peter Colquitt. Also in Junction Lane at no. 29, clogmaker Thomas Mills resided. He may have worked at Joseph Brownbill's shoe shop two doors down the road. There was also boot and clog maker John Frederick Heyes who made clogs to order for the miners in his backyard at 11 Oxley Street and Peter Spakausk (known as 'Pe Spak') who had sheds at the top of Pendlebury Street in Sutton Manor. In the 1881 census, Nathaniel Harwood and sons James, Ralph and Robert were all listed as cloggers at 27 Peasley Cross Lane, next door to the Alma Vaults. It also listed Thomas Dutton, a clogger at the 'Back of 17' Watery Lane.

At the rear of the Coppersmiths Pub at 296 Watery Lane there used to be a wooden shed that sold sweets and other items. Glover’s Hut was said to be a haven for card players lit by paraffin lamps and in the back room was a place for pop drinkers who also played cards.

Headed notepaper of painter and decorator James Prescott of Robins Lane, Sutton from around 1911

Headed notepaper of painter and decorator James Prescott around 1911

Painter James Prescott invoice c.1911

There were two main photographers in Sutton during the 20th century. W. & E. Wright Bros. had premises at 100 New Street from at least 1911. By 1945 William and Eddie were based at 142 Robins Lane and they took many Suttoner's wedding and school pictures. Commercial photographer Arthur Normington had premises at 53 Waterdale Crescent from about 1950 to 1970 after relocating from 6 St.Nicholas Grove, specialising in family portraits, weddings and studio work.

The Red Rose bicycle and electrical shop at 72 Peckershill Road, Sutton - contributed by Tom Williams

Red Rose bicycle and electrical shop at 72 Peckershill Road, Sutton

Red Rose bicycle and electrical shop

The Red Rose bicycle and electrical shop on Peckershill Road was located at the opposite end of Junction Lane. It was owned by Tom Williams who also owned a garage off Fisher Street, where lead acid accumulators were charged. These were required to power wireless sets if you didn't have electricity in your home.
On the Sutton Beauty & Heritage Facebook page Catherine Shepherd has written about Red Rose:
 I used to get the bags for my Mum’s Hoover Constellation from there during the late 60's. They had a fire place to the right of the shop and always had a fire during the winter. There was a big mirror hanging over the top of it, so that Tom could see who was coming into the shop. I think his daughter was running it then. 
Neil Fisher adds that: “They sorted my Ferguson record player out and the shop had a phone box outside, with phone directories inside. Never stolen.” If you have any memories of Red Rose, please do get in touch.

The owner of Red Rose Tom Williams holds a lead acid accumulator - contributed by nephew Tom Williams

The owner of Red Rose Tom Williams holds a lead acid accumulator

The owner of Red Rose Tom Williams holds a lead acid accumulator

Mrs. Wells sweet shop
The photograph on the right (above for mobile users) is taken from the rear of Mill Lane looking across Sutton Brook towards Leach Lane and beyond with the Poison Gas Works and its towering chimney. The white cottage on the left was Mrs. Wells' sweet shop which had a white-washed porch with wooden seats either side. Children used to call in to buy sweets and pop when going to play by at the Wash, the area around the waterfall at Sutton Mill Dam. Barely distinguished are wagons on the St.Helens to Widnes railway line. The large detached house on the right is no. 185 Leach Lane which the Tetlow family lived in during the 1940s / 50s.

The six rows of terraced houses within Edgeworth Street of the 1920s and '30s contained eight shops. Four of them were just converted front rooms, without any alterations to the original house windows. They were mainly small grocery and sweet shops that also took orders for bread and were run by Agnes Jones at no. 58, Marion McVittie at 74 and Mary Beesley at 88. The exception was Millie (Mildred) Price at no. 51, who had a small pork butcher's that sold cow heels, trotters and savoury duck. Fred (later son Harold) Hill's grocers at 31 Edgeworth Street also offered toffees, such as Kali Suckers, Atty's Mint Balls and lucky bags.
This photograph from 1931 shows Rigby’s chip shop on the corner of Ellamsbridge Road and Edgeworth Street. Note the poster for the Scala cinema in St.Helens.

The Sherdley News Booze (formerly Alldays) convenience store at 278 Mill Lane, opposite the roundabout, was previously owned by Ken Rice and known as Kenpri. Being located next to Marshalls Cross Infants School might have boosted the sweets trade, but Ken received much opposition from the school when he applied for an off licence. It was previously owned by a Mrs. Lamb, a blind deaf lady who ran the shop with her sister Evelyn. Opposite was Lucy Bath's shop, unique in that it was a general store, post office, chandlers and off-licence. The beer pumps were in the cellar and customers would bring a jug for Lucy to go below and fill.

The derelict Lucy Bath's post office and general store photographed by Jim Lamb on March 31st 1970

The derelict Lucy Bath's post office and general store photographed in 1970

The derelict Lucy Bath's in 1970

Lucy Emma Bath was born in 1900, never married and lived with her brother James until her death in 1966. At the time of Lucy's birth, her father William kept the shop at 337 Mill Lane. Upon his death the shop’s off-licence was transferred to his widow Emma on March 7th 1916.

Confectioner's shop on the corner of Robins Lane & Marshalls Cross Road c.1910 - the building still exists, built in 1906

Confectioner's on the corner of Robins Lane & Marshalls Cross Road c.1910

Confectioner's shop at the bottom of Robins Lane in about 1910

The photograph above and (close up version below) of Mellor’s shop at 170 Robins Lane have been contributed by Dave Jones. The premises were situated within a block of shops and homes - long since demolished - that lay between the Robins Lane Post Office and New Street. Dave writes:
 I remember when Sutton was thriving with a shop on every corner. The ones I remember as a child are Mrs Kenny and her fruit & veg shop, Thompson's papershop, Mrs Morris's shop on the corner of Garnet Street, the off-licence in Harrison Street, Mr Normington's photo shop (had many of my pictures developed there), Mrs Bates' sweet shop in Oxley Street, the chippy in Waterdale Crescent, the butchers, the barbers in Waterdale Place, and of course Mrs Mellors Shop. 
Recollections of Mellor’s shop have been provided by Carol Ferguson: “I remember going in there with only pennies for chocolate caramel sticks”; John Barton - “Yes I remember that shop, it was in the same row as Clogger Whalley’s shop and Ike Davis’s bike shop”; Susan Reynolds - “I lived just off Robins Lane, used to go there a lot for sweets” and Andrew Daniels - “I used to go in Mellor’s a lot shopping for my Mum and buying sweets. Nice people and always a lovely food smell in there.

Joseph Moran's wife, Sarah, was a dressmaker at no. 7 Junction Lane with Marsh's greengrocer next door

Joseph Moran's wife was a dressmaker at 7 Junction Lane, Sutton

Junction Lane shops in Sutton c.1910

Around the time the above photograph was taken, Junction Lane had twenty shops. The most popular were confectioners and butchers of which there were three of each. Of the former, there was Edith Dixon at no. 12, Esther Battersby at 13 and William Appleton with premises at no. 95. Of the butchers there was Abel Pennington at no. 3, Anne Davies at no. 4 and Albert Heys with a shop at no. 11, who also described himself as a tripe vendor. There were also a couple of dressmakers and drapers. Of trades that barely exist today, there were two clogmakers, a coal dealer and a blacksmith. The latter was Henry Greenall who had premises at 113 Junction Lane. Amelia Johnson at no. 89 had the relatively new trade of newsagent, as an increasingly literate population were purchasing newspapers such as the Daily Mail, which was first published in 1896 and quite popular with women. On the right of the above photo appears to be horse dung, which would have been a common sight in Junction Lane with traders making deliveries having horse-driven transport.
Standing outside their tobacconist’s shop at 8 Junction Lane in 1928 (above) is probably Lilian and Jane Douglas. Note the Scala and Sutton 'Bug' posters on the extreme left and right of the photo. The premises later became a fish and chip shop.
The above photographs contributed by Ann Pigott show 20 Peckershill Road when it was a hairdresser’s. The first picture was taken in 1972 when the shop was called Anne. It then changed its name to Wave Length and closed in 1986.
The above photo was taken about 1960 and features shops within a row of terraced houses at 391 to 401 Sutton Road. These no longer exist but were situated just after the police station facing Lancots Lane. Over the years there have been a variety of shops in exactly the same position as those shown because of their wider frontage. For example In 1901 Alice Winstanley had a grocer’s shop at no. 393, which in 1939 was run by Mary Rigby as a fish and chip shop.

After the war William Rigby kept a butcher’s shop at the bottom end of Junction Lane facing the Junction Inn, and was given the nickname of ‘Billy Beef’.
The above photo taken in 1959 shows the terraced row at the bottom of Peasley Cross Lane just before the railway bridge and facing the long established Red Oxide Works. The newsagents was owned by William ‘Billy’ Cooper, who in spite of only having one arm was a cheerful personality during the 1950s. The row was built during the mid-1800s and the shops would have existed since then selling similar products to those in the photo.

On July 21st 1945 this advert appeared in the Liverpool Echo: ‘WTD. to Buy Country Business (any kind) or Cottage with ground, or would exchange for a good Fish & Chip Business, near St. Helens; genuine offer; child’s health sole reason. – 39 Peckershill Rd., Sutton, St. Helens.’

Sutton Shops and Businesses Adverts

These have been mainly sourced from St.Helens Town Guides

Left: St.Helens Newspaper Advert 18th July 1865; Right: St.Helens Lantern 1889 - Walsh was also an East Sutton councillor

St.Helens Newspaper advert from 1865 & St.Helens Lantern from 1889

Left: St.Helens Newspaper from 1865; Right: St.Helens Lantern from 1889

Advertisement for salesman for Royle's pawnbrokers in the Liverpool Mercury of March 9th 1897

Advertisement for Royle's pawnbrokers in the Liverpool Mercury in 1897

Advert in the Liverpool Mercury in 1897

Left: From St.Theresa's 1931 foundation stone laying brochure; Right: Clock Face Colliery Recreation Club 1950 Sports programme

From St.Theresa's 1931 brochure and 1950 Clock Face Sports programme

From 1931 and 1950 brochures

1939 advertisements for Len Davies’s cycle shop and garden contractors W. Byron & Sons of Bold

1939 adverts for Len Davies cycle shop and garden contractors Byron’s

1939 adverts for Len Davies and Byrons

Adverts in the 1949 St.Nicholas centenary church magazine - contributed by James Prescott

Advertisements in the 1949 St.Nicholas centenary church magazine

From 1949 St.Nicholas church magazine

Adverts in the Clock Face Colliery Recreation Club's Athletic Sports programme for 1950

Adverts in the Clock Face Colliery Recreation Club's Sports programme 1950

Adverts in a 1950 sports programme

Sutton shop adverts in the St.Helens Official Guide and Industrial Handbook 1973

Sutton shop adverts in the St.Helens Official Guide & Industrial Handbook 1973

Adverts in the St.Helens Guide of 1973

Advert for Clock Face Crisps (date unknown) and an L. Roberts ad which was in a St.Helens street map c.1950

Crisps advert (date unknown) and L. Roberts from St.Helens street map c.1950

Crisps advert date unknown and L. Roberts ad c.1950

Richard Davies and Delahunt adverts which were in the St.Helens Official Guide c.1951

Richard Davies and Delahunt adverts from St.Helens Official Guide c.1951

From St.Helens Official Guide c.1951

Brickworks adverts from the 1946 Official St.Helens Guide (apart from Roughdales which is from the 1973 version)

Adverts from 1946 St.Helens Guide (except Roughdales from 1973 version)

1946 brickworks adverts - apart from Roughdales ad from 1973

These advertisements were also published in the County Borough of St.Helens Official Guide from 1946

These advertisements were also published in the St.Helens Guide of 1946

From St.Helens Official Guide 1946

Left: 1973 Official St.Helens Guide; Middle: St.Helens Reporter December 1939; Right: St.Helens Guide 1946

Left: 1973 St.Helens Guide; Middle: St.Helens Reporter; Right: 1946 Guide

Left: 1973; Middle: 1939; Right: 1946

The above adverts are from the St.Helens Official Guide and Industrial Handbook published in 1973

Adverts from the St.Helens Official Guide & Industrial Handbook from 1973

From St.Helens Official Guide 1973

Left: St.Helens Official Guide and Industrial Handbook 1973; Right: Guide published in 1946

Left: St.Helens Official Guide & Industrial Handbook 1973; Right: 1946 Guide

From St.Helens Guides 1973 & 1946

Above: Crone & Taylor adverts from the Official St.Helens Town Guide 1946 with promotional adverts below

Above: Crone & Taylor advertisements from St.Helens Town Guide published in 1946 with some promotional adverts from the firm below

Crone & Taylor ads from Town Guide 1946 with promotional adverts below

Sutton Shopkeepers and the Effect of Strikes
Strikes were a regular part of industrial life in Sutton as workers organised against harsh conditions and low pay. Although the great hardship endured by striking families is well documented, an often overlooked side-effect of strikes was their impact on shop-keepers. In the days when small shops were the hubs of local communities and with goods often bought on the 'slate' or 'tick' until pay day, it was natural for provisions dealers to allow families whose bread-winner was on strike to have goods on credit. Repayment was promised when back in work and like wars, most strikes began with an expectation of being short-lived. However many became lengthy and a sizeable debt to shop-keepers could easily accrue. What to do about it was a difficult call for the dealer who often knew the families quite well. The longer the strike lasted and the debts accumulated, the chances of full repayment when back in work receded. With low pay it could take years to clear the arrears and if the shopkeeper stopped their credit, they were probably writing off the debt.

Strikes forced some store-keepers out of business and there were one or two suicides in Sutton. A grocer called Bell was said to have hung himself through the financial consequences of the 1926 lock out and strike. Some chose the legal option and sued their customers in St.Helens County Court and the judges committed a number of debtors to prison. This didn't improve matters as they had no income while locked up. Some people didn't want to pay and strikes were a good excuse for them. Non-payment to shopkeepers was known in Sutton as ‘sloping’. There was even said to have been some houses in one street nicknamed ‘Sloper’s Row’, as the residents were renowned for not paying their debts. In Charles Forman's book 'Industrial Town', the daughter of a Robins Lane shopkeeper said: "Sloping is the word we had for people who had stuff on credit and wouldn’t pay...there'd be a lot of sloping when the colliers were out on strike."

A distinction can be drawn between non-payment by strikers and by those who’d returned to work. On 28th September 1882 the wife of a Sutton miner appeared in St.Helens County Court as a result of the family running up a £27 debt with a provision dealer. That’s more than £1300 in today’s money. The appropriately named
Judge Collier commented on how hard it was for shopkeepers who supported miners’ families during strikes but who were afterwards denied payment. Drinking in the local ale-house could serve as the trigger for a writ. Those who undertook tough jobs like mining would understandably feel the need to quench their thirst after work, but it could be quite infuriating for shopkeepers who saw men who owed them money supping away.

Violent collier at St.Helens
The Manchester Courier September 25th 1893
A curious incident occurred in Sutton on September 22nd 1893 during a long miners’ strike which embodies many of the above points. It involved a collier called William Jackson who smashed eleven panes of glass after being refused bread. He’d entered Elizabeth Leigh’s grocer’s shop at 14 Worsley Brow and demanded a free loaf from 26-years-old assistant George Reid. After his rude request was rejected, Jackson declared that he was going to help himself to a loaf.

The shop had been run by James Leigh, a leading light in the Sutton Methodist church, until his death at a young age in 1891. His widow Elizabeth then took over the shop, assisted by her younger brother George. She told the miner that if he’d asked more politely, she would have given him something to eat. At this point 50-years-old Henry Whalley entered the shop and told Jackson that he should be ashamed of himself. Henry was a clogmaker with a shop opposite the grocer’s at 25 Worsley Brow. He said he knew that Jackson had been drinking all week but was now demanding free bread.

Jackson argued with Whalley as he crossed the road to his clogging shop but then went away. However he returned at 1:30pm carrying a large stone on his shoulder that was said to weigh 57lb. The miner, who originated from Barnsley, hurled the stone through the clogmaker’s window and then threw a second. George Reid witnessed the vandalism from his own shop and immediately ran across the road. He seized and held Jackson while clogger Whalley fetched
PC Henry Fillingham, who took the miner into custody. Next day in St.Helens Police Court, William Jackson was sent to jail for two months for his violent act. However he’d caused £4 worth of damage to Whalley’s shop, which was a lot of money in those days. As most businesses were then uninsured, the clogger probably wished that George Reid had just given the miner the bread. It wasn't easy being a shopkeeper in old Sutton!
Sutton's Post Offices & Postal Service
Although letters have been delivered in Sutton for hundreds of years, the first ‘government’ post office in St.Helens was only opened in 1852. Until then Prescot was the local post town with Richard Greenhalgh's wine and spirit merchants in Market Street dealing with the St.Helens post as a sideline. The introduction of the Penny Post in 1840 revolutionised the sending of letters and led to the system of pre-paid post, pillar and letter boxes and the main and sub-post office network that we know today.

Sutton’s first postman under the new system was
William Woodstock who was appointed in 1852. In fact he was the first in St.Helens and initially had to deliver 6,000 letters per month by himself on foot. He had a huge patch that included Billinge, Eccleston, Windle and Haydock. Presumably he was allowed to use the train, as mail carriers were not permitted to use bicycles until 1880. Soon additional postmen were needed and by the time of Woodstock’s retirement in January 1891, St.Helens employed 18 letter carriers who delivered over 400,000 letters and parcels per month. During his 38 years of walking the streets of St.Helens, William Woodstock never had a day’s sickness. Although he retired through rheumatism, probably caused by delivering the mail in all weathers.

Sutton Oak Post Office franks on a stamp and postcard - the office seems to have also sorted mail from other towns

Sutton Oak Post Office franks on a postage stamp and a postcard

Sutton Oak franks on stamp & postcard

Sutton had three post offices. Peasley Cross was the main receiving office for the district with Marshalls Cross and Sutton Oak as sub-offices. These also served as telegraph offices. Slater’s directory of St.Helens for 1895 states that the postmaster at Peasley Cross was J. Sheffield, the sub-postmaster at Marshalls Cross was Robert Ralsall and at Sutton Oak it was Philip Gibbs. By this time there were four daily deliveries of post, including an evening service.

Like today postmen sometimes got in trouble for not always delivering their letters or stealing their contents. On August 9th 1871, 30-years-old letter carrier
Thomas Critchley, who was also a watchmaker, was charged at the Liverpool Assizes with stealing. He carried letters between Sutton and St. Helens and after some had gone astray, two test letters were given to Critchley to deliver. They contained marked postage stamps and a quarter rupee silver coin. Critchley exchanged the stamps at the Sutton Post Office and kept the coin for himself. He was sent to prison for five years.

On April 17th 1891, postman
Edward Pollard was charged with stealing a letter containing a 20 shillings postal order. These were relatively new, having only been introduced ten years earlier. Patrick Neary, a farm labourer at Bold, said that he'd obtained the order at Peasley Cross post office for £1 and enclosed it in a letter to a relative in Ireland. Pollard was the postman for the Sutton Oak district and part of his duties was to collect letters posted at Peasley Cross. Joseph Littler gave evidence that Edward Pollard had given him the postal order in payment for a debt. Sensibly Neary had made a note of the number of the order before posting it.

On June 21st 1943 two Mill Lane postmen were sent to prison for pilfering from the post. 48-year-old
James Sixsmith was alleged to be the mastermind of a plot to steal postal orders and other items of value, including ration books. He got his friend 49-year-old Thomas Yates, a machine operator also of Mill Lane, to cash and forge postal orders, mainly stolen from football pools. Postman Harry Shaw (48) of 195 Mill Lane, who had lost an eye in the first world war, became involved by stealing food parcels. Sixsmith was sent to prison for 12 months, Yates for 9 months and Shaw was given 3 months.
Memories of Sutton Shops
Memories by Football Referee Jim Finney (1924 - 2008):
Jim Finney referee
Jim Finney (1924 - 2008)
I was born in 1924, at number 15 Sutton Road and later moved across the road to live at number 14. I remember the names of almost all the families who lived in that area of Sutton Road, up to the time of the war. On the right hand side of the street, starting at the corner, was the Co-Op shop, then a small house next to this was Annie Gee’s General Shop where you could purchase everything from a gas mantle to a gallon of paraffin.

Next came Websters Toffee Shop and then on from number 10 to 30 the families were Scotts, Lathams, then came our house, Granny Whitfield, Mrs Webster (otherwise known as Annie McCann), Birchalls Milk Shop. After the entry came Crosby's (he had a pawn shop in town), McGuiness, Ned Williams, Bulloughs and lastly, Roberts next to St Joseph's Church. On the left hand side from the Griffin was Tickles Flour Mill, Mrs Henderson, Tickles Coffee Shop (ground in the window), Birchalls/Pinders, my grandfather's house, Wiltshires, Brothertons, Connaughtons, Browns/Bevans, Rimmers and one other I can't remember then the Council's Refuse Yard where they kept the horses.

Just further on, on the corner of Appleton Street was Paddy O'Brien's Paper shop. Every New Years Eve, after the locals had been to church, they would congregate around the lamp standard with the priest and the vicar and hold another service. The grandson of Ben Tickle, was Joe Tickle who I believe became a councillor in St Helens and also played rugby for St Helens (Union) although, as a boy, he was born with a club foot, had irons up his leg and I used to push him to school in a pushchair. He moved the business from Sutton Road to Green Lane off MarshaIls Cross Road and died a few years ago in the Lake District where he had retired.
Shop Memories by Frank Bamber (1910 - 1999):
Frank Bamber
Frank Bamber (1910-1999)
The Edgeworth Street of today differs from the street that I knew as a lad. The street then, as I knew it, contained six rows of terraced houses, in which were eight shops, one chapel and one public house. First of all, the shops. Four of these were more or less front rooms of the houses converted into small shops, without any alterations to the front windows. They still retained the original house windows. They were mainly small grocery and sweet shops and also took orders for bread. There was one exception to this. It was the shop run by a Miss Price, who opened a small pork butcher’s shop and sold cowheels, trotters and savoury duck. The people running the other small businesses were Mrs. Beasley at No.88, Mrs. McVitie at No.74, Miss Jones at No.58 and Miss Millie Price at No.51.

Mr. John Davies had a large dairy at No.73. This house was the only detached house in the street. It had a fair amount of ground, enclosed by a surrounding wall. It also enclosed stables for four ponies and an enclosure for several milk floats, with the cleansing dairy to the rear of the house. Both Mr. Davies and his wife worked the milk rounds each day, and Mrs. Davies started her round at the front of our house. She summoned the customers by sharp blasts on her whistle and people would come out of their houses with jugs in their hands, and ask for a gill or a pint. Mrs. Davies would then take the lid off the large churn of milk and measure out, by means of a gill or pint scoop, which had a handle attached to it, bent over at the top to rest on the lip of the churn. On receiving the milk, customers would pay there `and then, and Mrs. Davies would give them change, if necessary, out of a leather bag which she had slung at her waist and leather straps over her shoulder. As far as I can remember, the price of milk was 2½ pennies for a pint and one penny and a farthing for a gill of milk. Their son, named Dick, who was a year older than me would go, after coming out of school, to collect the milk from several farms in Bold. I often went with him.

Passing Millie Price's pork shop at No.51, you came, at the end of the row, to Fred Hill's grocery shop. It was the kind of shop in which you could buy anything in the food line and it also had a fine assortment of toffees, or sweets as they are called these days. Fred Hill took good care we youngsters were kept well supplied. There were Kayli Suckers, Atties Mint Balls, sold at twelve a penny, liquorice sticks and lucky bags at one penny, each containing charms etc. I suppose during Fred Hill’s life behind the counter, followed by his son Harold, thousands of Friday night’s pennies were handed over the counter. A penny was a luxury to hundreds of us kids. The shop at No.31 Edgeworth Street has now been pulled down.

When the winter nights closed in on us, several of us youngsters would gather at the front of Hill’s shop window. One of us would be chosen to start off the game of guessing. Our noses would be pressed up to the window, examining every article which was on show. The one chosen to start off the game would give the first and last letters of something that was in the window, e.g. the letters K and I, which would be Kayli. The one who guessed it would be ready to call out the name Kayli and run across the road, touch the opposite side of the street and back again to the shop window. The winner of the two runners had the next chance to call out the first and last letter of the article he chose.
Memories from the Daughter of a Robins Lane Corner Shop Owner, born c.1895:
We lived in Robins Lane and had a grocery shop. We had an outdoor licence and sold beer at 4d a quart. Children used to come for a penny gill on Sundays and we gave them sweets. Walker's beer, we sold. Inside we sold nearly everything but provisions. Only on Mondays it was quiet; on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays we sold fish. We sold cigarettes, at 2½d a packet (cinderellas, they were called) and tobacco at 3d an ounce. We sold writing paper at a halfpenny a sheet, penny bottles of turpentine, headache powders, pills, and settles powders at 2½d per packet. All the shelves used to be packed with dry stuff like sage and thyme.

My mother got up at five o'clock in the morning and bought all her wholesale stuff at St John's market in Liverpool. The horses brought the stuff back here – there were a big horse and a little pony. The horse brought the boxes of oranges, and the pony brought the cabbages and that sort of thing. We bought the fish from Mars – they had a wholesale market at the back of the Savoy. It was a big sale and started at seven o'clock. When it was Ash Wednesday and Good Friday, we were very busy – we used to say they were our harvest – we'd come back with nothing left in the cart. We used to sell a few rabbits too, what they called frozen rabbits – they were cheaper. We hung the rabbits on rods and thawed them either side of the stove. This stove was old fashioned with a hole at the top, and you used to put a fire underneath. I used to skin the rabbits, hundreds of them. We used to get 2d each for the rabbit skins, and that was our profit. I took them in the cart on Thursdays to the rag-and-bone place that they turned into the Co-op.

We had a good round with our two carts in those days. You went to people, not them coming to you. Even Charlie King, who just sold bananas, did a round – he was known as the Banana King. My brothers stayed half days from school working for my mother. When they left school they wanted to go out to work, and they were all taken on at Bold Colliery. Their wages were more than my mother's. We had to sell both horses when the lads started working – there was no one to do the rounds. They kept leaving school – there was only two years between each one of them and they'd soon all left. I had three sisters and one of them did a round in the cart at Burtonwood. She got married from the shop – we all did.

Our business went flop because the Co-op opened on Robins Lane. They used to slope us and they'd take their money to the stores. They got three shillings back in the pound there. Sloping is the word we had for people who had stuff on credit and wouldn't pay. There was my mother getting up at all hours and getting nothing for it. Most people round us were colliers and railwaymen, and there'd be a lot of sloping when the colliers were out on strike.

My mother didn't pay me – we were lucky to get our keep in those days. But she always had us well dressed. When I married my husband she said: “You pay his board and I'll keep you for nothing”. If I wanted to go anywhere special I had to ask my father. My father was very strict. I wouldn't dare give him back again. If I had my life over again, I would have gone out to work, too, like my brothers did. I worked jolly hard and I got nothing for it. Most of the people didn't who worked for their own family.
From Charles Forman, Industrial Town - Self Portrait of St Helens in the 1920s
Other Relevant Pages and Articles on Sutton Shops:
The Flying Pharmacist of Junction Lane in Sutton Trivia & True Facts!; Red Tape in Old Sutton in Sutton Crime Part 2; Industry in Sutton;  Sutton Pubs; Arthur Normington? Who's He? by David Normington Gerrard in Memories of Sutton 1; The Best Ice Cream in Town! by Ivy Swift in Memories of Sutton 1; Traders' Holidays by George Houghton in Memories of Sutton 5; Sutton Memories – I Remember by David Normington Gerrard in Memories of Sutton 2; Polly Fenney of Chester Lane by Jim Lamb in Memories of Sutton 2; Mill Lane Memories by Brenda Macdonald & Joan Heyes in Memories of Sutton 4; Growing Up in Sutton Manor by Alan Pugh in Memories of Sutton 16; The Hancocks of Sutton Manor by David Hancock in Memories of Sutton 13; Uncle Peter of Graces Square by Stan and Bill Bate in Memories of Sutton 14; Memories of Davies’s Dairy by Brenda Macdonald in Memories of Sutton 19; Memories of Davies’s Dairy by Tom Williams in Memories of Sutton 19
Other Relevant Pages & Articles on Sutton Shops:
The Flying Pharmacist of Junction Lane in Sutton Trivia & True Facts!; Red Tape in Old Sutton in Sutton Crime Part 2; Industry in SuttonSutton Pubs; Memories of Sutton Articles: Arthur Normington? Who's He? by David Normington Gerrard; The Best Ice Cream in Town! by Ivy Swift; Traders' Holidays by George Houghton; Sutton Memories – I Remember by David Normington Gerrard; Polly Fenney of Chester Lane by Jim Lamb; Mill Lane Memories by Brenda Macdonald & Joan Heyes; Growing Up in Sutton Manor by Alan Pugh; The Hancocks of Sutton Manor by David Hancock; Uncle Peter of Graces Square by Stan & Bill Bate; Memories of Davies’s Dairy by Brenda Macdonald; Memories of Davies’s Dairy by Tom Williams
Stephen Wainwright
This website has been written and researched and many images photographed by myself, Stephen Wainwright, the Sutton Beauty & Heritage site owner. Individuals from all over the world have also kindly contributed their own photographs. If you wish to reuse any image, please contact me first as permission may be needed from the copyright owner. High resolution versions of many pictures can also be supplied at no charge. Please also contact me if you can provide any further information or photographs concerning Sutton, St.Helens. You might also consider contributing your recollections of Sutton for the series of Memories pages. Sutton Beauty & Heritage strives for factual accuracy at all times. Do also get in touch if you believe that there are any errors. I respond quickly to emails and if you haven't had a response within twelve hours, check your junk mail folder or resend your message. Thank you! SRW
This website is written and researched by Stephen R. Wainwright ©MMXVII  Contact Me
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