Your Feet First
In August 2023, number 68 appeared to be empty and that seems to have been the case since at least March 2022 although, at that time, one sign for Your Feet First was still there. They had been based there from March 2019 until August 2021 at least. Prior to that, the business was just called Feet First. They had been there since at least April 2011. However, in October 2008 and August 2009, the building looked empty. Your Feet First are now housed at Ashfield Therapy Centre at 49-51 Station Street.
The Rabbit Hole Tattoo Studio
In a comment on Kirkby-in-Ashfield People Facebook Group, Teresa Heeson kindly informed me that The Rabbit Hole Tattoo Studio is now at 68 Station Street. It is run by her daughter Shayna Marriott and opened in April 2023. I am grateful to Teresa and Shayna for sharing these pictures of the business.
In a Facebook comment, Frankie Micjelle Husband described Shayna as “so nice” and the shop as a “brilliant addition” to Kirkby.
A Corset Maker and Draper
In 1941 and 1942, number 68 was occupied by Mrs Collingwood, a draper. From the 1941 Kelly’s Directory, it is clear that she also had a corset making business at 36 Clumber Street.
Mr and Mrs Collingwood are listed among those who sent flowers at the time of Beryl Green’s funeral.
In 1928, number 68 was occupied by Miss Olive Mellar, a confectioner.
In the 1980s. it seems that number 68 was occupied by Good Earth, a natural wholefoods shop.
Memories of Number 68
In her book(let) “I Also Remember“, Edith Searson notes a small confectionery business owned by a Miss Mellor. Although the spelling and order of shops differs slightly, I suspect she is referring to this shop.
Memories of Good Earth
In a Facebook comment, Linda Booth noted that she remembered the Good Earth health shop next to Madam May. In a comment below, Alwyn Bowskill notes that “it was run by a tall dark haired man, a picture of him was taken by one of the pro photographers around that time I can remember it being in one of the free papers at the time, chad or free press I think.” I wonder if that is Neil Lancashire’s photo above.
A range of comments were received when the photo was posted on Facebook. Based on those, it seems the couple who ran the shop were called Roger and Joyce Kirk.
Several contributors remembered going to the shop. A number recalled the shop’s distinctive herbal smell. Clare Howlett noted loving that smell. However, Christine Evans used to go into the shop and never like the smell. She still doesn’t like the smell in Holland and Barretts which she sees as similar to but larger than Good Earth. Hayley Bradshaw-Coleman also recalled that there was a big step to get into the shop.
Michelle Parker and Sharon Crawley recalled buying milk-free products there before they were available in the shop. Rachel and David Simpson recalled that their mother used to get her Barleycup there. Diane Lorraine Joynes recalled that he sold great stocks of coltsfoot rock. Lynn Pustelnik recalled buying henna there. Rachel Playford recalled getting helpful remedies for morning sickness from him. She also recalled him selling the best free-range eggs. Rachel Sharp recalled that in the late 90s “you could go in there and get a mint humbug the size of your hand for 4p“. Rachel McCarron noted buying “the chewing liquorice wood stuff” on the way to school. Danny Vurton also recalled “chewing wood“. Rob Rawson recalled them selling nettles, mullein, liquorice, dandelions etc. He described these as “all the body needs“. Tracy Rose recalled buying Christmas cake ingredients there.
There were many positive recollections of Roger Kirk. Contributors recalled him as knowledgeable, interesting, friendly, helpful, kind, fabulous, brilliant and a great conversationalist. Many contributors referred to him and his family as “lovely“. Barry Stinson called him a “legend“. Samantha Youd recalled being in his daughter’s class at school. Betty Phillips recalled that she had worked with Joyce in Hucknall. Liz Tate noted that the Kirks were “ahead of their time with the shop“.
Bet-Bet Phillips recalled that Joyce’s father was one of the firemen that was killed in Manchester during the second world war. She also noted that her uncle, Gerald Best, was one of the firemen who had survived the incident.
While Bet-Bet Phillips did not recall which fireman it was, I tracked down that Roger Kirk married Joyce Burrows in 1955. One of the firemen killed was Ralph Burrows.
Working at Good Earth
Some contributors recalled family members working at Good Earth. For example, Julie Oldfield’s grandmother, Cynthia, used to help out there.
Samantha Ferguson told a story concerning Good Earth and the window-spotting competition, “I used to love it when I was little, looking for the odd thing out hidden in the displays. Mum took me my sister one evening after tea to have a look and complete our entry form for the post office. Looked in the window of the health shop, Good Earth and spotted a mouse running around! I wanted to write it on the form, but mum found the real ‘discrepancy’ so we wrote that instead. Never won, but loved that competition.”
Gary Moakes recalled once buying some herbal cigarettes there. He notes, “didn’t taste of much but smelled like a bonfire…Anyway took them to work when back in the 80s smoking on the shop floor was permitted at Monarch Textiles….. But was soon called into the office to explain the strange smell as they though I was smoking some kind of jazz fags“.
Residents of 68 Station Street
No-one was listed as living at number 68 in 1939.
In 1921, Olive Mellar was living at 68 Station Street. Her occupation was given as confectioner. She was also there in 1911 although her surname has been transcribed as Mellor. Her occupation was listed as sweets and confectionery dealer. She had a boarder, Kate Buxford, who was a cookery instructress. Christopher Tuxford (b1897) was also listed as a visitor.
In 1901, William and Maria Smedley were living at 68 Station Street. His occupation was given as water inspector.