Memory Lane

The mobile shops and tradesmen

The loss of our mobile library service got me thinking about some of the mobile shops Mickleton had, back in the 1950’s.

I can recall the sight (and sound!) of Wards Hardware lorry slowly making its way through the village. Fortunately, no Health and Safety restraints in those days because at the rear of the lorry there were barrels of paraffin! Every space was crammed with full size tin baths, half size too, for laundry or Friday night’s bath for kids. Brooms, mops, buckets, pegs, bluebags, blocks of scrubbing soap for general cleaning or Monday’s washday, Aladdin paraffin heaters, etc. The vehicle had aluminium side shutters which would be pulled down, to continue the journey. I believe the man came from Winchcombe. Wards saved many a journey into Stratford to Laceys or Timothy Whites.

Then we had Trevor the Breadman, delivering fresh baked bread in his familiar snub nosed van. I can remember him coming to our house on dark winter evenings, with a large wicker basket full of the flat top loaves, each encased in tissue paper (that didn’t stop me breaking off some crust).

Dan the Barber did a roaring trade! He towed a small caravan, fitted out with a Barber’s chair and bench seats, where the men sat awaiting their short back and sides, Brylcream extra, but the squib of men’s cologne was complimentary. Dan parked every Friday at the Kings Arms where the thatched hut is now. All the boys jostled to be first off the school bus, which stopped opposite, to avoid being last in the queue for a haircut.

Older residents will remember Harvey Pearman. His large van had deep shelves displaying fresh fruit, veg, potatoes, eggs, etc. A narrow “aisle” in the middle was just about wide enough for a customer to select their produce, while Harvey stayed near the rear doors, where the balance scales were (nothing electronic then). One old market gardener would often say “I’ve got plenty a cabbages but the missus still ‘as to buy one of ‘is furrin caulis every wick” (furrin = foreign = Cornish!!) This mobile greengrocery round kept Mr Pearman from Honeybourne busy for many years.

We always looked forward to the arrival of Turners brown fish and chip van. The mouth-watering aroma was detected first, then we’d hear the hand bell being rung though the open hatch. I’d say “Mum, can I ask for some scratching this week please?” The response was usually “No, you can have sixpennorth of chips, you’ve already had your tea”. Scratchings were the crispy bits of batter scooped out if anyone asked (which everyone did!)

There was also dear Hannah Bayliss who lived in the large farmhouse next to the butchers, with her sisters. She had a 3-wheel bicycle with a receptacle somehow fixed to the front, full of creamy milk from their own herd. An enamel jug would be dipped in and then the milk transferred to the customer’s earthenware bowl. As a young girl, not very old, I would study her cold, purple legs. She was tiny, but tough, never wore stockings and had bumper pumps for footwear (type of sturdy plimsoll) What a woman – mobile milk lady with her own mode of transport which portrayed a true environmentalist before we had even heard of the word. She is remembered with great affection by all who knew her.

Comments about this page

  • Lovely to read about old Mickleton

    By A S Smith (22/07/2014)

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