Barbara’s Memories of Wallsend

Hill’s the hardware shop was an Aladdin’s cave. It had a downstairs and an upstairs, just full of everything you would need to keep a house going.

Editor’s note: Barbara was born in 1933 and took part in the Hand in Hand Reminiscence project in 2008.  

Although I was born in Peterborough I’ve lived in Wallsend for a long time now and I especially remember the old shops on the High Street.  Hill’s the hardware shop was an Aladdin’s cave.  It had a downstairs and an upstairs, just full of everything you would need to keep a house going.  Outside there was always a display of buckets, brooms, etc.  Downstairs was for everyday type things, but upstairs was for better stuff and you didn’t go up there very often.

There were a great many really nice shops on the High Street.  Cornelius was a very posh shoe shop and then there was Benefit and Fairbairns, which were also shoe shops.  L&M Todd was a beautiful hat shop, then there was Book’s for ladies clothes and the Fifty Shilling Tailors for gentlemen.

I used to buy my net curtains at Bon Marche’s.  It had a really good curtain department, as well as other departments.  Children’s wear and ladies’ wear were on the first floor and there was a lovely sweeping staircase up to the first floor.  They also had a baker’s and confectionery shop, where you could buy beautiful cakes.  At Christmas they would open up a showroom especially as a toy fair.  You had to get into it from a doorway on either Laburnum Avenue or Park Road, I can’t remember which.

If you've enjoyed this memory and would like to share a story of your own why not go to our Contact Page to find out more.