Below is a list of former shops of Glemsford, with photographs and details supplied where possible. Scroll through or click on a quick link below for a specific shop.
This is a well-known bakery until the late 70s/early 80s and one of three in the village I recall. Mr Bird’s bread was very popular. Many people called him the Midnight Baker owing to his bread always being ready early in the morning. The bakery was run as a delivery business rather than a shop but he did make the most delicious cream horns with confectioners’ cream sitting on a bed of bright red ‘jam’! Also his bread was like none other – quite doughy with a well-baked crusty top - as it was cooked in a faggot oven, a rarity even then.
Mr. Cutting, and in later years his three sons, ran a number of shops in this part of the village. Cuttings were wholesalers and here ( the present day terraced housing) stood a large warehouse which stored an enormous collection of hardware goods – spades, forks, buckets bins, pots, cutlery, crockery plus smaller items needed for gardens and home maintenance. According to the older photograph I think that the hardware shop (and possibly groceries as well) was formally housed in what is now the Chinese takeaway; however I can only remember the takeaway as primarily a grocery shop – see photo dated c. 1938– where in the fifties we would go to buy all food essentials. They had a bacon slicing machine and wire cutters for cheese; they used sugar paper cones to put most dried goods in e.g. sugar, sultanas, currants etc. and they were expert at making the cones really quickly! Also I can remember the large tins of biscuits, some of them labelled ‘Broken’ which were very popular as they were much cheaper and quite exciting as you were never sure what the mix would be. Should you also need any hardware items you were able to go towards the right of the shop where a part of the counter could be raised allowing customers to go behind, turn right and walk down a little slope into an extra part where a host of hardware was available. By the late sixties/early seventies this shop dealt purely with hardware as the groceries were moved to the shop opposite the Angel.
Reggie Underwood’s Butchers
Right next door to Cutting’s and near the narrow iron grille/gate through which the rubbish blew, was the butcher’s shop, small and compact but sufficient. I understand that the iron grille was the entrance through which the cattle were driven before reaching the abattoir situated behind the shop! I remember regular visits to the shop with my mother; of course in those days people were fairly canny shoppers and were quick to complain if they were sold poor quality meat. I remember taking my baby son in his Silver Cross pram down there once or twice a week in the early seventies and just parking at the side of the road having no fear of cars; somewhat different with traffic today! I can also recall beef mince at a very reasonable price and making the most delicious cottage pies, very succulent and crispy simply because the meat was loaded with fat! I have never emulated them since, needless to say.
Art Chinnery’s Shoe shop and Shoe repairers
In the fifties this was a much visited shop as money was tight and shoes had to be repaired regularly. Mr.Chinnery was a talented cobbler and always came up with a mending solution. Rumour in my family was that whilst he was a life-long bachelor he had been known to have had some kind of relationship with my spinster aunt, Bessie, my dad’s oldest, and in my eyes, sternly terrifying sister! Later I would visit Art to have broken sandal straps repaired and shoes re-soled. Although he sold shoes they were very utilitarian, work boots etc. (certainly NOT high fashion), however he could be relied upon to provide children’s plimsolls for school. In later years he also ran a business of repairing and renovating second hand bicycles and many were the bargains found there.
I think at one time this may have been Prentice’s Butchers shop but not sure. I can remember this shop as being owned and ran by Mrs. Bowers. I think she sold a variety of fancy goods ranging from children’s clothes, wool and threads to the odd crafty and general household items. Her husband ran an electrical business, thus it was also possible to obtain here electrical bits and pieces
Lee’s Haberdashery and later Cutting’s Grocery shop
In the fifties this was a haberdashery store which my mother would visit quite regularly to buy wool, thread, underwear, stockings and the like. I recall the older Mrs. Cutting serving behind the counter and when you entered a bell above the door rang where upon she would appear from the outer regions because she and Mr. W.J. Cutting owned and lived in the large house. By the seventies the shop had been completely converted into a new self-service grocery store and here again, as I only lived just up Hunts Hill, I would bring the pram and later pushchair, safely leaving the sleeping baby outside, to do the shopping. It was much easier and quicker than trips to the supermarkets today when you think about it. On the retirement of the Cutting family the grocery business was sold and the shop ran by a number of other people until it closed.
This was a very thriving garage dealing with Austin and then British Leyland until Mr. Lee retired. Part of the garage premises became a video shop, probably in the late eighties/early nineties, and did good business at that time I imagine.
Joe Hurndall’s Men’s Barber shop
I knew Joe Hurndall well as his elder brother was married to another one of my dad’s innumerable sisters! His shop was a small wooden hut as I recall with a bench, a barber’s chair and a couple of shelves containing relevant items for sale including the inevitable condoms secreted at the back; these were a source of much speculation. I did not really visit Joe’s hut until I took my son down to have his hair cut in the seventies, it then being the fashion for little boys to have quite long hair and fringes. In later years I have received from Paul a certain amount of abuse re. his boyhood hair cut which he likens to a pudding basin! What was I thinking about etc?? On reflection the answer is that Joe was an expert in short back and sides and we young mums were trying to avoid that! I was told also that one customer requested an Elvis Presley hair- cut only to find he had been given a short back and sides! Upon complaining he was told that Elvis himself would have received exactly the same!
Jim Moss’ Sweetshop
In the late fifties this was a real heavenly emporium for children. Mr. Moss sold really cheap black jacks, chews (very fruity), everlasting strips and best of all, broken Smiths crisps, really fatty but delicious, for just a halfpenny a pack. In addition to this you collected Green Shield Stamps so that you could send away for a free, red, plastic record rack for all your Ricky Nelson, Buddy Holly, Elvis and Cliff 45s! (At least that’s what I did!) I was told that the young lads would visit the shop, request something for Jim to get out back then, in his absence, promptly pinch anything going!
British Legion Hut + Doctor’s Surgery
Not a shop but worth a mention. I was aware of the black wooden British Legion Hut being a kind of social club/drinking establishment for years but have no memory of events there other than occasional visits on days when it doubled as the doctor’s surgery. You had to go up some steps to enter the building. Inside there was a waiting room and when the doctor called you into his surgery you had to go through two doors thus to ensure privacy from those still waiting. The hut was demolished c. 1970. The present day Social Club was opened in 1968 I think and it was built on the site of a large orchard.
Bullingham and Maxim’s Butcher’s shop
(right side of Hunts Hill partly on site of the Social Club): I remember this shop really well as I lived opposite and it was well used by my family. Ollie Bullingham was the father of Doris who died only recently, and Will Maxim lived in the house which is now The Briars Residential Home. There was a large metal gate which was kept shut when the shop was closed and behind it roamed an ugly looking bull terrier reminiscent of Bill Sykes’ Bullseye, and always ready to bark at passers -by in an evil kind of way.
Mrs. Maxim’s shop
(left hand side of The Briars): This was a sweet/cake shop long before I was born and as the picture shows sold lots of things. Mrs. Maxim was the mother of Will Maxin, the butcher. My mother told me that the very first time she had ice-cream it was from this shop – in those days ice-cream was a kind of custard confectionary.
28 Hunts Hill
I lived here from c.1953 and later from 1968. Obviously Not a shop, but as the picture shows there was a small matting factory here at one time run by my great-uncle, Bert Smith.
Grocer’s shop top Hunts Hill
Now a hairdressers, this was formerly a Grocers and Drapers but not in my time. I can only remember it as a general stores run by Mr and Mrs Mead. It was well used and stocked fresh and tinned food, vegetables, fruit plus some other non-food items. When the Meads retired c.1980 it continued in this capacity for a number of years before becoming a hairdressers and estate agents – now back to hairdressing!
(right side now Hunts Hill Stores): In the fifties Mr. Long ran a garage for repairs and a coach company. It later became Pearson’s Trucks. These were big and noisy particularly when you heard them leaving very early in the morning. Often they carried perishable goods and when parked overnight the drone of their refrigerator units was not recommended for a good night’s sleep! In the mid- eighties, the garage was set on fire. At about 3am we saw a car containing a barking dog and a man running to get into it. Not many minutes later the garage was ablaze and virtually destroyed.
Mealham’s Fish shop
Variously described as selling in addition to fresh and fried fish, poultry and rabbit skins, I have no memory of this although I do remember a Mrs.Mealham living there.