My grandfather worked in Station Street for most of his working life. According to the 1911 census, the Parkin family were occupying numbers 70, 72, 74 and 76 Station Street. When his diary starts, in 1914, he was working in his father’s shoe workshop there. Later, he became the owner of the shoe business and ran it until he retired in the late 1950s. The Parkin family lived there from when my mum was born in 1934 until 1951 and mum and dad also lived there briefly after they were married in 1956. Both mum’s and grandad’s diaries talk about people and places in Station Street and I have been gradually building up a picture of what it was like “then” and what it is like “now”.
Initially an Imaginary Walk
I did this initially by taking an imaginary walk up and down Station Street both “then” (around the second world war) and “now” (around 2021). However, in August 2023, I visited Kirkby and walked up Station Street in real life. The modern photos on this page are from that trip. I have therefore dropped the “imaginary” from the title although the walk “then” remains imagined. I have also retained the original page as it has to date been the most visited page on this site.
Sources of Information
I approached the initial imaginary walks armed with a 1939 map, a list of shops on Station Street in 1942, a number of historical photos of Station Street from the Kirkby Living Memory Facebook Group and elsewhere and the wonders of Google, which has pictures available from October 2008 to April 2023. The 1942 list of shops was probably compiled from Kelly’s Directory. I have compiled similar lists for 1928 and 1941 from that source. The 1941 and 1942 lists are almost identical. Although I have an 1899 Kelly’s Directory, I was not able to compile a list like this for that year as it lacks street names for businesses.
When I visited Kirkby in August 2023, I obtained another list of shops in Station Street from the Heritage Centre. This list is said to cover the period circa 1920 to 1940 and was compiled by F Jacques. Here I refer to this as Jacques’ List.
Historical Photographs of Station Street
The Kirkby Living Memory Facebook Group has a number of posts containing photos of Station Street. There are also photos of Station Street in the books by Frank Ashley, Sylvia Sinfield and Gerald Lee namely “Kirkby & District from Old Photographs” (p64, p68, p71 and p104) and “Kirkby & District: A Second Selection” (p 4). Also, there are more photos in the book “Kirkby-in-Ashfield: Yesterday Remembered” (p18) by Gerald Lee. There are photographs of some postcards of Station Street in the book “Kirkby-in-Ashfield and Annesley on Old Picture Postcards” by David Ottewell (#s 14, 15 and 32).
The book, produced by Kirkby Heritage Centre, entitled “Kirkby-in-Ashfield, Annesley and Kirkby Woodhouse Then and Now Vol 2” compares historic and modern (2017) photos of a number of places including several on Station Street (p14-p19). There are also some photographs of Station Street in the book “Kirkby: A People’s History” (p17, p19, p22, p55 and p68) published by Kirkby Volunteer Centre. The Kirkby and District Conservation Society booklet “A Brief History of Kirkby-in-Ashfield and Portland Park” contains some photos of Four Lane Ends (p14 and p15) and the Midland Station (p43) at respective ends of Station Street.
Mark Ashfield described a similar walk in his 1989 book “Christmas Pigs and a Summer Donkey” in a chapter entitled “A Street for all Seasons” (from p17). However, he started at the Nag’s Head so walked in an opposite direction to how it is described here.
Recently, I came across Edith Searson’s second book(let) entitled “I Also Remember“. Chapter two of that book(let) (p13-p33) described a Whistle Stop Tour of East Kirkby from around 1917 onwards. It started at Coxmoor Lodge, where the Searsons lived, but included the entirety of Station Street walking the same direction as Mark Ashfield.
Even more recently, I came across the My Trail website which features a trail along Station Street. This appears to be a collaboration between Digital Producer and Historian David Amos and seems to be a work in progress. The Station Street trail is introduced with a historic map overlaid with modern landmarks. It moves between six numbered points from the Nag’s Head (#1) to the Regent Cinema (#2) through Station Street Shops (#3) to the Festival Hall on Hodgkinson Road (#4) to the Spring Factory (#5) and then to the Midland Station (#6). Currently, there is content for numbers 1, 2, 4 and 5.
I also have an official guide to Kirkby from 1950, which was kindly given to me by Helen Jay, a programme for the 1953 Kirkby carnival, a 1969 Kirkby directory and a list of shops which took part in a window spotting competition which I think is from the eighties. All these were useful as they contained adverts for many firms, some of which were located in Station Street. Now, I have access to other maps, from 1914 and around 1900. I also referred to the 1939 Register as this contains information about people living in Station Street at that time.
Grandad always referred to Station Street. Anyone I have asked about it has responded that it was always called that. However, on a map I have, from around 1900, it is labelled Station Road. In addition, Station Road extended across Four Lane Ends onto what is now Diamond Avenue.
Origin of the Name
Regardless of whether it started off as Station Road, Station Street was named after East Kirkby Railway Station which was also known as the Midland and LMS Station. Indeed, while that station was open, the demarcation between Urban Road and Station Street was the level crossing close to the station.
Station Street Level Crossing.
There are photographs of the Station Street level crossing in the book “Kirkby-in-Ashfield: An Interesting Township” by Bill Clay-Dove (p39) and in the Kirkby and District Conservation Society booklet “A Brief History of Kirkby-in-Ashfield and Portland Park” (p43). There are contrasting photos of what the transition from Urban Road to Station Street was like when the level crossing was in place and now in the Kirkby Heritage Centre book “Kirkby-in-Ashfield, Annesley and Kirkby Woodhouse Then and Now Volume 2“. The level crossing is identified as a favourite place for trainspotters in Jonathan Evans’ book “The Mystery of Ernie Taylor’s Abdomen” (p79).
Starting the Walk
I start at the corner of Station Street and what is “now” Portland Street but, according to maps I have from circa 1900, 1914, 1939 and 1969, was “then” called Factory Road.
East Kirkby Railway Station
Looking up Portland Street/Factory Road “then”, East Kirkby station would have been to the left but this “now” appears to be residential accommodation.
Three Railway Stations
“Then”, Kirkby in Ashfield had three railway stations – Kirkby Bentinck, Kirkby in Ashfield Central and Kirkby in Ashfield East. They all closed in the 1960s, Kirkby in Ashfield Central in 1962, Kirkby Bentinck in 1963 and Kirkby in Ashfield East in 1964. A new station, at a different location opened in the 1990s and is the current station.
William Walker Hosiery Factory
Turning and walking along Station Street, “then” there would have been a hosiery factory, William Walker and Sons. Walkers were listed as hosiery manufacturers in the list of shops in Station Street that I have from 1942. It was then taken over by Kirkby Seating Company who specialised in making sprung upholstered car seats and this explains why locally it was known as the “spring factory“.
There are photographs of this factory in “Kirkby & District from Old Photographs” by Frank Ashley, Sylvia Sinfield and Gerald Lee (p104) and in their other book “Kirkby & District: A Second Selection” (p97). There is a photograph of the factory, and a description of working there, in the Kirkby Volunteer Centre book “Kirkby A People’s History“. The factory is also described by Mark Ashfield in “Christmas Pigs and a Summer Donkey” (p23). They were also listed in the 1928 and 1941 Kelly’s Directories trading as “Reklaw”. The factory is listed as Walkers Factory Stockings on Jacques’ List of Station Street retailers circa 1920-1940.
Recollecting William Walker and His Factory
Edith Searson, in her book(let) “I Also Remember” recalled both the factory and the owner. Of the factory, she said “it was a dark red-brick building and looked somewhat awesome; it had a large chimney, and on the building the words ‘William Walker and Sons Ltd., Hosiers‘ were painted. She recalled that William Walker lived in Nottingham and he came each day by train arriving at 9.05am. During World War 1, William Walker received an exemption from military service from Kirkby Tribunal.
Kirkby Motor Services
“Now” this is where Kirkby Motor Services offers MOTs, services, tyres and repairs. It has been there since at least 2008. I am not exactly sure if this refers to the same place but, in the 1969 directory, there was an advert for Kirkby Car Sales on Station Street. If it were not here, I am not sure where else on Station Street it might have been. Similarly, in the 1980s, there was a car sales room named Chris Spencer at Station garage and I wonder if that was here. Edith Searson wrote her book(let) “I Also Remember” in the 1980s and that refers to a car sales business being located here at that time.
After the garage, “now”, the first shop is Swit Swoo fashion boutique but this appears to be in a fairly modern building, perhaps confirmed by this being numbered as 1B Station Street. It opened in 2019. Prior to that Kirkby Car Spares and Accessories were based here.
A Run of Terraced Houses
There follows a run of terraced houses with shop fronts that go from number 1 to number 19.
Thomas Booth, Auctioneer and Valuer
The first shop “then” would have been Thomas H Booth, auctioneer and valuer at 1 Station Street. According to the 1939 Register, he and his wife Constance lived there. In addition to his work as an auctioneer, he was also a special constable.
In 1928, the solicitors Rorke and Jackson were here although, by 1941, they had moved to number 21. In the 1980s, the solicitors J-J Spencer, Haigh and Sweet were there.
PAWS Charity Shop
It is “now” PAWS Charity Support Shop that seems to support a number of animal related-charities. They appear to have occupied the property since May 2016. Prior to that, in both June 2015 and April 2011, it appears that the property was empty. Before that, in October 2008 and August 2009, the property was occupied by The Derbyshire and Broadbents.
Thomas Hargeaves, Boot Repairer
Next, at number 3 was Thomas Redvers Hargreaves a boot repairer. He also appears on Jacques’ List of Station Street retailers circa 1920-1940. I am particularly interested in him given that my grandfather also sold and repaired boots just along the street from here. In her book(let) “I Also Remember“, Edith Searson referred to it as a saddlers and leather shop. She noted that a house stood back from the shop and that this house was occupied by Ben Miller. He worked at Walker’s factory. He and his wife had seven children and, as they left school, they too worked at the factory.
I checked into this a little and it seems that this house was in fact 1 Station Street. Benjamin Miller was recorded as living there in the 1901, 1911 and 1921 censuses along with his wife, Lily Ado(i)sha, and children, Clarice (b1900/1), Alice (b1901/2), Alfred (b1903/4), Florence Nel(l)y (b1905), Lily (b1906/7), Benjamin (b1908/9) and Charles Ernest (b1911). Sure enough, according to the 1921 census, the five older children were all working at Walker’s factory.
In 1939, Thomas Hargreaves was living at number 3 with his wife Charlotte and their son John who was an apprentice boot repairer. In 1928, this had been a fruiterer by the name of William Chappell.
Imageworks Hair and Beauty were at number 3 from when it was established in 2003 until at least March 2022. However, in April 2023, the shop looked empty with a banner for AAE (All Aspects Electrical) over the name board.
Maltby and Griffiths
Next-door to this “then” was Fred Maltby a photographer. In 1939, Fred Maltby was living there, with his wife Dorothy, and it appears that he was also an air raid warden. At some point, this business became Maltby and Griffiths. This may have been in 1948 as their advert in the 1969 directory refers to them being 21 at that time. As a local firm of photographers, they were well-known in the area with many people commenting that they took their wedding photographs. They appear to have operated at least into the 1980s as they appear on the notice for the window spotting competition from that era. At some point, it appears that Fred Maltby stepped down from the business and it was run by Harold Griffiths and Len Scothern. They are noted as the firm’s Directors in the advert for 1953.
Recollecting Maltby and Griffiths
Edith Searson in her book(let) “I Also Remember” notes that there was Maltby and Griffiths photographers here in a small shop in comparison to the large shop housing Mrs Fox’s millinery business next door. However, I think she may be referring to number 9 as described below. She also mentions that Maltby and Griffiths not only took photographs but they also sold cameras and “other articles to help amateur photographers“. She notes that the business was started by Ken Maltby but I wonder if she meant Fred. I did wonder if Ken Maltby might have been Fred’s father but, from the 1911 census, it seems that his father was John and he was a railway stoker.
Maltby – A Common Kirkby Name
Maltby appears to have been a fairly common Kirkby name and one that appeared fairly frequently in grandad’s diary. According to the 1939 Register, John William and Fanny Maltby lived in Welbeck Street next-door but two to what is now 98 Welbeck Street, a house that was built for my grandmother’s parents by Albert Newcombe in the 1930s. The Maltbys’ son Walter was born in 1898, making him less than a year younger than my grandfather and he is mentioned often in grandad’s diary. For example, grandad noted in 1956 when Walter bought a car, a three-year old Morris Minor, and they also did odd jobs together. Walter worked as a colliery wage clerk. While Walter did have a younger brother called Frederick, this does not appear to be the same Fred Maltby as the photographer.
5 Station Street Now
Since 2008, number 5 has had a range of occupants. From 2008-2011, it housed recruitment firm Regional Driving Services. Their name was still displayed in 2015 but the windows were boarded up. In April 2017, the property was for sale and, in September 2017, it was scheduled for auction. In July 2018, a mobile phone repair company called Ifix4you had their name there although the property looked empty and there was a “To Let” sign in the window. Their name was still there in August 2018 and the “To Let” sign had gone.
In March 2019, their name had gone and there appears to have been an unnamed convenience store there. In September 2020, the World Food Store was there. They appeared to offer a range of international foods including from South Africa. Above the shop window were18 flags almost as in a pub quiz round. By August 2021, the flags had gone and the shutter was down. From March 2022, Zee Cosmetics and Fabrics Ltd have been there.
Next, there are three hairdressers/salons, the first, at number 7 is the hairdressers/salons, Millionwaves and this is followed by Kirkby Ashfield Nails and Beauty at number 9 and Andrew’s barber shop at number 11. Those businesses have been there together since 2017. Millionwaves appeared sometime between 2011 and 2015. Before that, the property was occupied by another hair stylist, Chris’s/Christopher Waynes. From 2011-2015, number 9 was occupied by P & K Pet Supplies and before that it was the estate agent Location. Andrew’s barber shop has been at number 11 since 1996.
“Then”, number 7 was said to be the premises for tobacconist Harry Dyson Fox and next to him at number 9 was a ladies’ outfitters run by Mrs M H Fox. Initially, I wondered if one married couple were running two businesses. In 1939, Harry and Maud Fox were living at number 7 so this is possible. Interestingly, they are both described as hairdressers and there is a Fox G/L (gents and ladies?) Hairdressing on Jacques’ List of Station Street retailers circa 1920-1940. In 1928, both the tobacconist and ladies outfitters businesses were in existence but Harry Dyson Fox also had a confectioners at number 5 where Fred Maltby, the photographer, was later based. Mrs M H Fox is listed as a ladies wear retailer on Jacques’ List of Station Street retailers circa 1920-1940.
On Jacques’ List of Station Street retailers circa 1920-1940, between Fox G/L Hairdressing and Fox M H Ladies Wear, there is Dale Cafe. I have not come across mention of this although Gertrude Dale ran a confectioner’s at 15 Station Street.
Recollecting Mrs Fox the Milliner
In her book(let) “I Also Remember“, Edith Searson noted that Mrs Fox’s Millinery business was in quite a large shop. This was because she sold things other than millinery and fancy drapery. Upstairs, Marie and May made hats. Edith Searson notes that Matthew Henry Fox and his brother kept bees and so sold honey. But, she did not name the brother, did not mention Harry Dyson Fox nor the relationship between Matthew Henry and Mrs Fox. However, the fact that she was referred to as Mrs M H Fox could imply she and Matthew Henry were married.
On balance, I don’t think that the milliner Mrs Fox was Harry Dyson Fox’s wife. His wife was Maud Mary Fox and she was variously described as a hairdresser or an assistant in a tobacconist business. They lived at 7 Station Street from at least 1911 to 1939. Matthew Henry Fox was a hosiery worker. His wife, Lucy Ann, was described as a fancy draper and milliner. No-one lived at 9 Station Street. Matthew Henry and Lucy Ann lived at various addresses in Kirkby including Diamond Avenue and Byron Street.
Were Harry Dyson Fox and Matthew Henry Fox Brothers?
Although the couples shared a surname, I have not been able to find a relationship between them. I am fairly confident that Harry Dyson and Matthew Henry were not brothers. Harry Dyson was born on 2 April 1884 in Ackworth in Yorkshire. In 1901, he was working as a hairdresser’s assistant to William George Ward in Spalding. Harry Dyson’s father, William H Fox, was a school teacher who, in 1891, was working in Pontefract. In 1911, he was retired and living with Harry and Maud in Station Street. During the first world war, Harry Dyson, as a Christadelphian, was the only conscientious objector that received an exemption from Kirkby Tribunal. Matthew Henry was 14 years older having been born in Kirkby in 1872. His father was John Fox, also a hosiery worker.
7-11 Station Street in the 1970s
In the photo from the early 1970s, it seems that number 7 was already a hairdressers called John Hair Fashions and number 9 was Thomas Welch and Sons. This firm continued to trade into the 1980s at least as they were included on the window spotting notice from that era. I couldn’t quite make out what was at number 11 but there seems to be a red barber’s pole outside. I am grateful to Lesley Bignell on the Kirkby Living Memory Facebook Group for confirming that this shop was the gents’ hairdressers, G W Whetton. She noted that the photo must have been taken after 1970 as previously his shop had been on Lowmoor Road.
In 1942, number 11 was the shop of a draper Arthur Smith. He also appears on Jacques’ List of Station Street retailers circa 1920-1940. Ethel Searson, in her book(let) “I Also Remember” recalls him although she appears to have misremembered the order of shops. She remembers his kindness to her during the first world war by supplying boxes of food to send to her brother who was serving in the trenches, see Chapter 9. He himself applied to Kirkby Tribunal for an exemption from military service during the war.
“Now”, leaving behind the hairdressers/salons, there are two takeaways, first number 13 is the Sunrise Pizza and Kebab House and after that number 15 houses New Diamond Kebabs. Sunrise has been there since at least 2008. New Diamond Kebabs has been there from at least 2015. From 2009 to 2011, number 15 housed a Chinese takeaway Home Chef and before that, in 2008, Laundry Station.
Butchers at 13 Station Street
“Then”, number 13 was John Kelsey’s, a butchers and, in 1928, it had been John William Gill, a pork butcher. He appears on Jacques’ List of Station Street retailers circa 1920-1940. Later, it seems this was occupied by another butcher Jack Walton and this is confirmed by the 1969 Kirkby Directory as their advert there gives their address as 13 Station Street.
In her book(let), “I Also Remember“, Edith Searson recalls that the family butcher’s was run by Gervase Gill. Based on the 1921 census, Gervase was John William’s father. Both were butchers. Edith Searson also notes that Jack Walton was the last butcher there and he died suddenly. After being empty for a long time, it reopened as a fish and chip shop.
“Then” number 15 was Mrs Gertrude Dale, a confectioners. In 1928, it was also a confectioners but by the name of Jackson Brothers. In the 1980s, it seems that Curtains and Covers were at number 15 although the number is not very clear on the notice for the window spotting competition.
Living at 13 and 15 Station Street
In 1939, Alfred Kelsey and his wife Phoebe were living at number 13 along with Archibald Ponting and David Pullin, who both worked for the Gas Department. Next door lived Reuben E Dale, a civil servant at the Ministry of Labour and his wife, Mary M Gertrude Dale who is recorded as a confectioner. Staying with them was Hilda J Moore, a temporary typist at the Ministry of Labour.
13 and 15 Station Street in the Seventies
In a comment on the photo from the early 1970s, someone has said “not a takeaway in sight” but number 13 appears to be Andy’s Fish and Chips. Presumably, this is the fish and chip shop referred to by Edith Searson. Also, wouldn’t fish and chips be, perhaps, the original kind of takeaway? I can’t make out what was at number 15 in that photo.
Grandad Briefly Owned (or Rented) 15 Station Street
According to grandad’s diary for 1945, he paid a deposit on 15 Station Street but soon after sold it to his brother-in-law Ray Cirket.
Number 17 “now” is Independent Mortgage Advice. They appear to have been there since at least April 2021 although, in September 2020, the property looked empty. From 2008 to 2019, number 17 housed Woolcott Opticians.
“Then” it housed Dorothy Littlewood, an Ophthalmic Optician. Littlewood Opticians appears on Jacques’ List of Station Street retailers circa 1920-1940. There also seems to have been an ophthalmic optician there in the sixties. In the eighties, there was an optician there called Adams.
Earlier than this, in the 1920s, there was a watchmaker based there, William Henry Simmons. He may have also been based at other premises on Station Street at different times, at number 19 in 1911 and number 80 in 1901.
Recollections of a Jewellers
Edith Searson, in her book(let) “I Also Remember” recalls Simmonds Jewellers. I wonder if this is the same William Henry Simmons listed as a watchmaker in the 1928 Kelly’s Directory. She notes that she did not recall much about the business except that they auctioned their stock when they closed at the end of the 1920s. She recalled that it was near to the time of her wedding and someone bought her a cake dish which she still owned in the 1980s.
No-one was registered living there in 1939. However, in 1941, according to a newspaper article I have, Harold, Edith, Cliff and Beryl Green were living here.
Standard Gramophone Company
The final shop in this run of terraced shops, number 19, was “then” the Standard Gramophone Company who were said to be “wireless” dealers. Mark Ashfield describes this shop in “Christmas Pigs and a Summer Donkey” (p20). He noted that it sold things other than gramophones and that he bought his first bike there. However, he describes it as on the corner of Ellis Street and notes that it later moved further along Station Street. Jacques’ List of Station Street retailers circa 1920-1940 is of interest in this regard in that it clearly shows Standard Gramophone Company in both locations.
In 1928, William Booth Harris-Barke, a furniture dealer, was based there. He also appears on Jacques’ List of Station Street retailers circa 1920-1940. Edith Searson recalls him in her book(let) “I Also Remember“. However, she notes that he ran a music shop with musical instruments, copies of music and records. She described him as the organist at the Baptist Church and that he collapsed and died while playing the organ at a service.
Baxter and Platts
By 1969, the shop was home to the stationers, Baxter and Platts.
A Teacher Lived There in 1939
In 1939, Kate Sharman, a teacher, was living there.
Kirkby Food and Wine
“Now”, number 19 is a convenience store Kirkby Food and Wine. It has been there since at least August 2018. Prior to that, it was labelled Food and Wine in September 2017 and Best Food and Wine from June 2015 to April 2017. In April 2011, it appears to have been an unlabelled convenience store. From 2008-2009, it was called Lifestyle Express.
Next, is a detached building that “now” holds Domino’s pizza and is said to be 21 and 21A Station Street.
National Westminster Bank
21 Station Street has been Dominos since at least September 2020. However, in March 2019, the property looked empty and, in April 2018, it appears to have been recently sold. Prior to that, it was home to the National Westminster Bank. It seems to have housed the NatWest for a long period as one of the photos from the 1970s seems to show the bank in that location.
A Modern Building?
The building looks fairly modern but this may just be because it differs from the terraced row on both sides of it. The 1939 map is marked Bk which might indicate that there was a bank there at that time.
Boot and Shoe Dealers and Solicitors
However, in 1942, 21 Station Street housed H P Tyler Ltd, a boot and shoe dealers and Rorke and Jackson, a firm of solicitors who were based at 1 Station Street in 1928. Tylers Shoes appears on Jacques’ List of Station Street retailers circa 1920-1940. No-one was registered as living at number 21 in 1939.
Recollections of 21 Station Street
In her book(let), “I Also Remember“, Edith Searson refers to this building as the Westminster Bank. It was known by this name from 1923 to 1969. The 1941 Kelly’s Directory lists the Westminster Bank as being in Station Street but a list of shops from 1942 gives their address as 10-12 Station Street. Westminster Bank appears at this location on Jacques’ List of Station Street retailers circa 1920-1940.
Edith Searson describes the premises as “a lovely stone building with offices in the upstairs premises“.
Edith Searson also notes that a dental mechanic, Mr White, had his repairs room there “up the stairs and looking out onto the street”. She noted that he had been kept busy a number of years.
I have come across the Whites elsewhere on Station Street. In 1939, William White was a living at 14 Station Street. He was described as a dentist although, in the 1921 census, he was listed as an unregistered dental practitioner. His son, Kenneth, also lived there and he was described as a dental mechanic. Edith Searson may be referring to either William or Kenneth White. Perhaps William is more likely as her reference to Mr White, might imply that he was older than her.
Another Shorter Terrace
Following this, there is another shorter terrace from number 23 to number 31. “Now”, this houses the King Clouds Vape Shop, Triple 7 Bar and Kitchen, Challans Hardware and the bookmaker William Hill, which occupies 29-31 Station Street.
King Clouds Vape Shop
King Clouds Vape Shop has been at 23 Station Street since at least July 2018. Before that, from at least June 2015, it was Harvish Convenience Store and, in September 2017, the property was available to let. In April 2011, it was G I Jane’s and, in August 2009, it looks as if it was empty. In October 2008, it was Kirkby Carpets.
Hutchinson and Sons
“Then”, number 23 was occupied by Hutchinson and Sons, stone and marble masons. They appear on Jacques’ List of Station Street retailers circa 1920-1940. There are photographs of this shop in David Ottewell’s book “Kirkby-in-Ashfield and Annesley on Old Picture Postcards” (#15) and in “Kirkby & District from Old Photographs” by Frank Ashley, Sylvia Sinfield and Gerald Lee (p104). Also, in Mark Ashfield’s book “Christmas Pigs and a Summer Donkey” (pp18-19), he describes how he was scared to go past this shop in the dark as a ten-year-old child.
Recollections of Hutchinson’s
In her book(let) “I Also Remember“, Edith Searson describes thedifferent emotions that Hutchinson’s evoked for her, “it is a lovely thought, even today, 68 years later. to think of the Stonemason’s premises, Hutchinson’s, as I remember it. It was like an oasis in the desert, on a hot or tiring day. Everything looked cool there were plants growing among the pieces of stone, and it always looked as if rain had just fallen on it, freshening all the plants up. I remember seeing ferns and shamrock, but I can’t remember specifically the other plants , but it all looked so natural.”
She noted that Mr Hutchinson’s two sons helped him in the business but that it changed to E M (East Midlands) Gas Showroom “at least 20 years ago“, that is in the 1960s.
Edward Hutchinson was the Mr Hutchinson in question. The two sons were Albert E and Thomas H Hutchinson. Both applied to Kirkby Tribunal for an exemption to military service during the first world war. They had two sisters, Alice and Annie, who were both teachers. In 1939, Albert, Thomas and Annie were living at 23 Station Street.
Triple 7 Bar and Kitchen
The Triple 7 Bar and Kitchen, an Eastern European Restaurant, has been at 25 Station Street since at least March 2019. Before that, from October 2008 to July 2018, it was Georgie Porgie’s tea and coffee shop.
25 Station Street “Then“
“Then“, at number 25 was Mrs Elizabeth Geeson, a ladies’ hairdresser while, in 1928, this had been the base for milliners (Misses) K & F Briggs. Briggs Millinery appears on Jacques’ List of Station Street retailers circa 1920-1940. In 1939, George and Mary Lowe were at number 25. He was a colliery hewer. In 1921, Benjamin Wilfred Rowe lived at number 25 and he was described as a clothier. He applied to Kirkby Tribunal for an exemption from military service during the first world war.
Challans Hardware is an interesting shop in that it is the only one that was there “then” which is still there “now“. “Then” John T Challans was described as an ironmonger.
A Treasure Trove
Mark Ashfield describes this shop as a treasure trove in “Christmas Pigs and a Summer Donkey” (p19).
Memories of Challans
In her book(let) “I Also Remember“, Edith Searson seems to imply that there were two shops with the Challans name. She noted that there was a Challans gift shop which had previously been a wallpaper and paint business. She noted that Gillian Lowe owned the business. “Nearby” was a busy ironmongery and hardware store which she noted was founded by a Mr Henfrey before being taken on by Mr and Mrs Challans. Later, she said Arthur and Barbara Machin became the owners.
Charles Reynard, in a comment on Kirkby Living Memory Facebook Group, recalled an incident at Challans, “I had a rather roguish school pal a year older than me and l tagged along with him when he went into Challans hardware shop. He needed a smallish piece of wire netting for a rabbit hutch. The lady in the shop carefully cut a short section from a large roll and announced that it was going to cost him eleven and a half old pennies. My pal then replied he had no money, could she put it aside and he’d call back later? He never did return and that piece of wire netting is probably still gathering dust in the shop! I didn’t dare go in the shop again for years.“
John T Challans
According to the 1928 Kelly’s Directory, John T Challans was an ironmonger at 27 Station Street. This ties in with the 1969 advert which stated that they had been in business for over 40 years. He does not appear in the1898 Kelly’s Directory. Unsurprisingly, Challans Ironmonger appears on Jacques’ List of Station Street retailers circa 1920-1940. In the 1939 Register, John Challans was living at 27 Station Street with his wife Margaret and their son John D who was a tool draughtsman on aircraft. He was also working as an auxiliary fireman.
I have not managed to find any details of Gillian Lowe or Challans Gift Shop. I wonder if it might have been located at 25 Station Street, next door to Challans. The only possible clue is that George and Mary Lowe were living there in 1939. However, they had no children at that point and I can’t find any Gillian connected to them.
Nelson Orson Henfrey was a painter and decorator. In 1901 and 1911, he was living at 25 Station Street but, by 1921, he had moved to 27 Station Street. His wife was called Elizabeth and they had four sons, Harry, Arthur, Claude and Percy. Arthur had a son in 1909 and he named him Nelson Orson.
Arthur and Barbara Machin
I have not found many details of them except that an Arthur Machin married Barbara Walker in Basford in 1944.
In August 2023, there was a sold sign on this property and this is also visible on Google dated April 2023. It is not clear if this applies to the whole building or just the upstairs flat. William Hill have been located there since at least 2008.
Globe Tea Company
“Then“, at number 29, was Globe Tea Co (Jas Duckworth) who, unsurprisingly, were tea suppliers. Mark Ashfield mentions them in his book “Christmas Pigs and a Summer Donkey” (p22). They appear on Jacques’ List of Station Street retailers circa 1920-1940.
In 1928, Wallace’s Ltd, a grocers, was at number 29 with Arthur Titterton as manager. He applied to Kirkby Tribunal for an exemption to military service during the first world war.
Banks & Sons
There does not seem to be an entry for number 31, so perhaps the tea company occupied both 29 and 31 as William Hill do currently. But, in 1928, there was a clothiers Banks & Sons there. Thomas Banks is mentioned by Mark Ashfield in his book “Christmas Pigs and a Summer Donkey” (pp20-21). Banks’ Gents Outfitters appears on Jacques’ List of Station Street retailers circa 1920-1940.
Memories of Thomas Banks
Like Mark Ashfield, Edith Searson describes Thomas Banks in some detail although she notes his shop further along Station Street, next-door to Newcombes. Apparently, he was known as Tommy and was a councillor and a Justice of the Peace. She described him as a Methodist “lay” preacher. This is odd as my mother drilled it into me that while the Anglicans had lay preachers, the Methodists had local preachers, see Chapter 82. Edith Searson also noted that Tommy Banks’ assistant was Edgar Coates, who went on to run businesses in his own right. She also noted a little later that Tommy Banks lived at “The Gables” on Forest Hill/Victoria Road. This house is significant in that it is close to where family members lived and gave me an indication that the numbering in that part of Diamond Avenue changed at some point, see Chapter 24.
29-31 Station Street in the 1939 Register
No-one was registered as living at number 29 but Thomas, Lily and Ronald Stokes were living at number 31. Thomas was noted to be a colliery hewer (incapacitated).
Beyond number 31, there is an alleyway followed by a terrace running along Ellis Street. The property on the corner appears to be numbers 33 and 35. “Then”, these housed Jas Kirby, a fruiterer. The business is listed as a greengrocer on Jacques’ List of Station Street retailers circa 1920-1940. In 1939, James, Maria and Herbert Kirby were living here. James was described as a florist and fruiterer and Herbert was described as an assistant in a fruiterer’s shop. I think Mark Ashfield describes this family in “Christmas Pigs and a Summer Donkey” (pages 21-22) but he spells the surname Kirkby and says both father and son were called Herbert.
Memories of James (Jimmy) Kirby
Edith Searson recalls him in her book(let) “I Also Remember“. She described him as one of the best-known shopkeepers in the town, next door to the doctor. She recalls that, on Friday afternoons, he had direct deliveries of baskets of strawberries, “a lorry load of 2lb ‘chips’, direct from the fields, would arrive and be sold direct to the public from the lorry. Nothing like this had happened before, what I remember, strawberries were weighed out, loose, from a container, as many as the customer required, and could possibly be a bit mushy; who remembers as I do the thrill of the arrival of the lorry, people like me waiting in anticipation. People came from all directions for their basket of strawberries. I suppose it started a new are! (age? era?). She concluded that the strawberry trade would never be the same again.
Memories of Herbert Kirby
Charles Reynard, a contributor on Kirkby Living Memory Facebook Group, was born in 1952. He commented, “I recall Herbert Kirby’s greengrocers. To say it was basic would be an understatement. Herbert always wore a dingy brown coat, everything left the shop in a brown paper bag and in deepest winter it was warmer out in the street than in the shop. He had a lovely lady, Mrs Burton, working alongside him at some point.”
In 1939, another family were living at number 33, the Hutchinsons, including Charles, Miriam, Sydney and Bernard. Charles was a builder’s labourer and he was also an air raid warden.
The Posh Meze Grill and Bar
The building now houses The Posh Meze Grill and Bar. It has been there since at least August 2021. However, in September 2020, the building looked empty. However, in March 2019, there was a sign up saying that the Posh Bar and Grill was “coming soon” but presumably it was delayed by COVID. In July 2018, there was a sign saying Wilbourn’s but I think this may have been an old sign showing through.
Ashfield Dry Cleaners
Wilbourn’s Garden Centre
From at least October 2008 to April 2011, Wilbourn’s Garden Centre was there. It must have been there for some time. Edith Searson, writing in the 1980s, referred to a garden centre there. She said, “the shop [Kirby’s] stood where the garden centre’s plants and shrubs have, until last year, been exhibited. I have been told, and I think it could be true, that this piece of land is eventually, and before too long, going to be the road leading to the new market, now in the process of being built. Anyway, we shall see in due course“.
Crossing Ellis Street, we come to 37 Station Street which is “now” vacant. There is a “To Let” sign on the upper floor. In the lower window, there is a sign announcing that Hungrilla Gourmet Grill is “coming soon“. From March 2022 to April 2023, the building looked empty and the “To Let” sign was in place. From June 2015 to June 2021, it housed Lloyds Bank and before that it was Lloyds TSB.
37 Station Street “Then“
“Then”, Leonard Morris was at 37 Station Street, a picture frame maker although the current building has a modern look to it. In 1928, W H Wightman had a jewellers here. Wightman Jewellers are listed on Jacques’ List of Station Street retailers circa 1920-1940. That list gives these premises as the location of Standard Gramophone Company before they moved further along Station Street. In 1939, Arthur and Muriel Salmon were registered as living there. He was a furniture dealer and was also part of the Nottingham Police Force War Reserve.
Edith Searson, in her book(let) “I Also Remember“, remembered Wightman’s on the corner of Ellis Street. She noted that it later became the Trustee Bank, presumably prior to becoming Lloyds TSB and then Lloyds. In the 1899 Kelly’s Directory, William Wightman is listed as a watchmaker and running the Post Office. W H Wightman was a jeweller who applied to Kirkby Tribunal for an exemption to military service. When he was asked if his work was of national importance, he replied that people needed to be able to tell the time!
Photographs of Wightman’s
I have come across two William Henry Wightmans. William Henry Wightman (senior) was born in 1857. I assume he is the one referred to in the 1899 Kelly’s Director. One of his sons (b1880) was also William Henry. I assume he was the one who applied to Kirkby Tribunal for an exemption to military service in the first world war. The senior William Henry’s other children included Annie (b1882), Kate (b1884), Alma (b1896) and Emma (b1889). I think he married twice. These children were with his first wife, Emma Wharmsby, who he married in 1877. She appears to have died in 1891. He remarried, to Elizabeth Bailey, in 1893. He appears to have died in 1915.
On both their walks, Mark Ashfield and Edith Searson take detours up Ellis Street to Dr Waller’s surgery. This surgery is listed on Jacques’ List of Station Street retailers circa 1920-1940. Mark Ashfield noted that Dr Waller’s surgery was on the corner of Ellis Street opposite the TSB. However, he imagines that he saw him out and about walking as, apparently, this was not an uncommon sight. He would go to the Summit end of Kirkby and way down Lindley’s Lane on the same morning. He was a heavy smoker and was known for drinking multiple cups of tea when making his house calls. Mark Ashfield summarised that “the three ‘T’s of tobacco, tannin and trudging formed an integral part of his daily round“.
There is a photograph in “Kirkby & District from Old Photographs” by Frank Ashley, Sylvia Sinfield and Gerald Lee (p68) which shows where Dr Waller used to live on Station Street. There is a similar photo in “A Carnival Crown and a Roasted Ox” by Mark Ashfield (p26). According to Mark Ashfield’s book “Christmas Pigs and a Summer Donkey” (p20), Dr Waller’s house was on the corner of Ellis Street.
Memories of Dr Waller
Edith Searson also recalled seeing him walking places. She noted that what she particularly remembered “was he invariably walked in the road, to be precise, in the gutter. I suppose the reason for this would be, he could get along quicker, than keep passing people on the pavement.” She noted that the Wallers had two children Joan and Peter. Joan later married Dr Durance who became Dr Waller’s partner.
Based on the 1921 census, the Wallers lived at Ellenslea on Ellis Street. His name was Arthur Beaumont Waller and his wife’s name was Annie Milner. They had married in Islington in 1906 and her maiden name was Carr. They had two children Frances Joan (b1909) and Robert Bevan (b1912). I don’t see a son called Peter but perhaps Robert Bevan went by that name. I did find details of a Marjorie M Waller but she was born and died the same year, 1915. In 1939, the Wallers address was given as 1 Ellis Street.
39-41 Station Street
I can’t see 39 or 41 and it may be that these were absorbed into 37 when and if a new building was constructed. But, no shops are listed for 39 or 41 in 1942 either and no-one was recorded as living there in 1939. In 1928, W H Wightman was listed as a motorcycle agent at number 41.
Of interest, Jacques’ List of Station Street retailers circa 1920-1940 lists Musson Fish and Chips and Morris Fretwork as located between Wightman’s Jewellers and Smith’s Tobacconists. I have not come across either of these businesses before.
Musson Fish and Chips
I have struggled to find any details of this business. I did find entries for a Frederick Musson, described as a fried fish dealer in both Marlborough Road and Hodgkinson Road in the 1941 Kelly’s Directory but nothing related to Station Street.
Similarly, I have struggled to find any details of this business. However, according to the 1941 Kelly’s Directory, Leonard Morris was a picture frame maker at 37 Station Street. Could that conceivably have been described as fretwork? If so, it should really have been in the same slot as Wightman Jewellers. But, it is possible.
Another Terrace and a Modern Building
There follows another terrace which appears to consist of three older shops and after that a more modern building.
“Now”, the first building appears to be vacant. There is a “To Let” sign up. It may have been empty in April 2023 although there is a list of airports in the window, perhaps implying that the premises were, at some point, a taxi company. Indeed, a number of different taxi companies have been based there. These included A2B Cars from August 2009 to August 2018, Arrow Cars in March 2019, Oasis 750 Taxis in August 2021 and DG Taxis in March 2022. In both September 2020 and October 2008, the premises looked empty.
“Then”, number 43 was occupied by Thomas Smith, a tobacconist. He was also there in 1928. Smiths tobac/sweets appears on Jacques’ List of Station Street retailers circa 1920-1940. In 1939, John and Kathleen Smith were living at number 43. He was described as a colliery electrician and she was described as a tobacconist and confectioner.
In her book(let) “I Also Remember“, Edith Searson refers to this shop as Jolly’s Tobacconist. She notes that it was a well-established business that was later taken on by Tom Smith, assisted by his wife. Their son Jack and his wife Kay kept it on until they retired. I assume that Jack and Kay were the John and Kathleen living at number 43 in 1939, It then became a jewellery business under the Smiths of Sutton. At the time she was writing, the premises were occupied by Mr Morris as a pet shop.
William Frederick Jolly
William Frederick Jolly was a tobacconist between at least 1891 and 1921. He lived in Mansfield. He was born in 1862 and he died on 2 March 1924. I am not entirely sure when he had his business in Station Street. But, based on electoral registers, it may have been around 1923. However, that register does not record the house number but the entry appears to relate to 45 Station Street. Prior to this, he appears to have had a number of businesses in Mansfield.
John Hodgkinson Wilson
It appears that John Hodgkinson Wilson had the tobacconist at 43 Station Street before William Jolly. He was listed in the 1898 Kelly’s Directory. He appears in the censuses from 1891 to 1911 in Station Street. The 1891 census lists him as a tobacconist. But, the census in 1901 lists him as a colliery banksman and, in 1911, as a colliery bank contractor above ground with his wife Betsy H listed as the tobacconist. He does not appear to have been at 43 Station Street in 1921 or afterwards. He was born in 1860 and died in 1938.
Now, at number 45 is Gentz Cut, another barbers. It has been Gentz Cut since at least April 2017. However, from June 2015 to May 2016, the property appears to have been empty and there was a “Shop To Let” sign on it.
Ian Osborne’s Newsagents
From October 2008 to April 2011, it was a newsagent called Ian Osborne. Apparently, Ian Osborne ran the shop for 30 years until his sudden death in 2014.
45 Station Street “Then“
“Then” number 45 was occupied by Mrs Edith Smith, a newsagent. According to the 1939 Register, John C, Edith and John G Smith were living at number 45. John C was described as a civil servant in the Ministry of Labour and Edith was described as a stationer and newsagent. Living with them was Joseph Godfrey who was described as an incapacitated coal miner.
In 1928, the newsagent at number 45 was Fred Wood. Wood Newsagent also appears on Jacques’ List of Station Street retailers circa 1920-1940. In her book(let) “I Also Remember“, Edith Searson refers to this as Mr Wood’s Newsagents shop. She noted that it was busy and that his daughter helped him in the shop when required. She noted that it was then taken over by Albert and Esther Bradley.
By 1969, Purdy’s were selling greeting cards at number 45. Edith Searson refers to them as Roy and Maureen Purdy. When they retired, the business was taken on by Ian and Jean Osborne who are referred to above.
Now, at 47 Station Street is another charity shop, for Headway who are working to improve life after brain injury. They have been there since at least August 2009. However, in October 2008, Buywise were there but the building was said to be “under offer“.
Edgar Coates and Miss C E B Lane
“Then” Edgar Coates, an outfitters, was located at number 47. As mentioned above, he had been assistant to Tommy Banks previously. In 1928, Miss C E B Lane was a milliner at number 47. In both 1953 and 1969, Edgar Coates had a shop at number 47 and a showroom over the road at number 64. Both Lane Millinery and Coates Gents Outfitters appear on Jacques’ List of Station Street retailers circa 1920-1940.
Memories of 47 Station Street
In her book(let) “I Also Remember“, Edith Searson implies that this shop was next door to Newcombes and, for some time, Tommy Banks operated from here. Although, in 1928, he had a shop at 31 Station Street, he could well have operated from here at some point, perhaps with his assistant, Edgar Coates, later taking the business on.
A Modern Building
“Now”, there follows what looks like a modern building housing three shops.
The first shop in the modern building is Kim Nails and their address is 49 Station Street. They have been there since at least September 2017. However, in April 2017, the sign read Bellton’s Bakery & Sandwich Bar. The shutters were down and there was a “To Let” sign on the property. They had been in operation since at least October 2008.
“Then”, Mary J Newcombe had a drapers shop from 49-51 Station Street and they were the last odd numbers recorded. Newcombes Drapers, Clothiers and Carpets appears on Jacques’ List of Station Street retailers circa 1920-1940. In 1939, the Newcombes living at number 49 were Elizabeth, Evelyn and Lilian. Elizabeth was described as having her own private means and Evelyn was described as a hairdresser. Living with them was George Wharmby, described as an old age pensioner. The Newcombes were a well-known Kirkby family with many people remembering fondly their shop on Station Street. There is a photograph of Station Street showing Newcombe’s in 1916 in “Kirkby & District from Old Photographs” by Frank Ashley, Sylvia Sinfield and Gerald Lee (p68). The shop is described in some detail by Mark Ashfield in “Christmas Pigs and a Summer Donkey” (p19).
Memories of Newcombes
Edith Searson, in her book(let), “I Also Remember“, also described Newcombes in some detail. She recalled it as a big shop with words painted on the brickwork on the upper part of the building. The shop was known as Newcombe’s General Drapery owned by Philip Newcombe. She noted that there were different things in different windows – boots and shoes, household drapery, women’s wear and men’s wear. She noted that Mr Newcombe’s son, also called Philip, took over the business later. One specific memory was “in later years, when bobbed hair came in vogue, a room upstairs was fitted up for the different branches of hairdressing. I remember going for a trim on several occasions. a member of the family, Evelyn Newcombe, had this hairdressing business, which developed and grew as time went on.“
As early as 1901, Philip Newcombe, a draper, was living at 49 Station Street with his first wife Martha and their sons, George Ernest, Albert, Philip Henry, Frank and William Arthur. However, Martha died in 1902 and Philip married Elizabeth Wharmby in 1903. Evelyn and Lilian were her daughters and George Wharmby was her younger brother.
William Arthur Newcombe
William Arthur Newcombe served as a Bombardier in the Royal Field Artillery during World War I, see Chapter 9. He was killed on 9 October 1916 and his name is remembered in the war memorial that was originally in Bourne Methodist Church and is now displayed at Trinity Methodist Church.
Len Teece’s name is also on that memorial. He was a friend of grandad’s and in his diary entry for 8 September 1915, grandad noted that Len was missing. Len had lived in Milton Street with his parents, Philip and Annie, and two brothers, James William and Frank. He enlisted with the sixth battalion Lincolnshire Regiment. He died at Gallipoli on 9 August 1915 aged 19 (see Chapter 9). As well as being remembered in Kirkby, he is commemorated on the Helles Memorial in Turkey along with 20,770 other names.
The Newcombes in Grandad’s Diaries
Grandad mentioned the Newcombes frequently in his diary right from when the diaries started in 1914.
Albert was a bricklayer/builder and, in April 1932, grandma’s father, Charles Cirket, gave him the contract to build the houses which are now 96 and 98 Welbeck Street. Work started on these on 30 May 1932. Albert did other work for grandad including, in February 1940, fixing a fireplace.
Frank Newcombe was a joiner and, in 1933, he put up a flight of stairs in grandad’s shop, at a cost of £2 12 6 (see Chapter 13).
Grandad noted when Phil Newcombe died in 1939 and he noted in October 1962 that grandma and her friend, Florrie Booth, went to the funeral of Mary (Mrs Phil) Newcombe at Trinity Methodist Church.
Now, next door to Kim Nails is a card and gift shop called Best Wishes. Their address appears to be 51B Station Street. They have been there since at least April 2011. However, before that, from October 2008 to July 2009, there was a similar looking shop called Occasions.
Motorist Discount Centre and Motoring World
Based on a list of shops participating in a Window Spotting competition, in the 1980s, it appears that Motoring World occupied 49-51 Station Street. However, in a comment on Kirkby Living Memory Facebook Group, Dean Nixon pointed out that Motorist Discount Centre were there until 1985. I confirmed this from the 1982 telephone directory. I then found an advert for Motoring World at 49-51 Station Street in the Recorder Free Press in December 1986. So, it seems that Motoring World occupied the premises after Motorist Discount Centre.
Ashfield Therapy Centre and Body Grooves School of Dancing
Next to Best Wishes is the Ashfield Therapy Centre whose address is said to be 49-51 Station Street. This is the base for foot health clinic Your Feet First. Next door, or possibly upstairs is Body Grooves School of Dancing whose address is said to be 55 Station Street.
Ashfield Therapy Centre has been there from at least March 2022 but the Your Feet First sign only appeared late from April 2023. From September 2020 to August 2021, the property was empty. In September 2020, there was a “To Let” sign but, by August 2021, this had gone. From at least October 2008 to March 2019, the frozen food specialists Farmfoods were based here but they are now based on Lowmoor Road.
The sign for Body Grooves School of Dancing has been there since at least August 2009. Prior to that, in October 2008, there was no sign on that door.
Lighthouse Estate Agents and Lettings
At the end of the building is a low building that “now” houses Lighthouse Estate Agents and Lettings. Oddly, their address is given as 55 Station Street while the Nag’s Head which follows is number 53. They have been there since at least April 2017. Before that, in May 2016, the building was empty but it looked as if it had been recently refurbished. Prior to this, it appears to have been a toilet block.
We have reached the Nag’s Head which features both “now” and “then”. The Nag’s Head appears on Jacques’ List of Station Street retailers circa 1920-1940.
In 1942, the landlord was Jacob Hibbert and he was also there in 1939. Earlier, in 1928, the landlord had been Alfred Smith. In 1939, Jacob Hibbert lived there with his wife Minnie and their son Frank. Frank’s occupation was recorded as painter. Also living with them was Frederick Blackburn, a barman.
Memories of the Nag’s Head
Interestingly, Edith Searson, in her book(let) “I Also Remember” does not mention the Nag’s Head at all. At one level, this is odd as her walk takes her from Lowmoor Road into Station Street which involves going right past the Nag’s Head. However, at another level, it is perhaps not surprising as she was doing it from memory and, as a staunch Methodist, she would be unlikely to have memories of a pub. Also, I suspect she might have been somewhat disapproving of pubs, as my grandparents were. But, that did not stop my grandad from referring to the Nag’s Head as a well-known geographical landmark.
Mark Ashfield, in his book “Christmas Pigs and a Summer Donkey“, starts his walk in the same place as Edith Searson. But, he refers to the Nag’s Head specifically. Not that he is interested in the pub itself. Rather, he recalls itinerant traders who operated from a pitch outside the Nag’s Head. He remembered one, in particular, who was selling a particular elixir with tales of the “direst peril” if you did not take it.
Perhaps one of the most distinctive features of this area now is the three-sided clock outside the pub.
In terms of our “then” and “now”, the clock appears “now” but not “then”. Grandad noted in his diary that the clock was first unveiled in April 1960. According to him, the Nag’s Head gave the piece of land, Kirkby Urban and District Council supplied the plinth and Kirkby in Ashfield Chamber of Trade bought the clock (see Chapter 86). Although the clock is there “now”, it was absent from 2013 to 2018. It was replaced following a petition from the heritage centre having been cleaned, painted and given a new movement.
Four Lane Ends
We are at Four Lane Ends which grandad referred to as Four Roads End, for example, when an accident occurred there in 1952 and when traffic lights were installed there in 1959. I have come across one other use of the similar term, four-road ends in an article about the end of the first world war. However, the term Four Lane Ends seems more common although, as far as I can see, grandad never used this term in his diaries.
Referring to Four Lane Ends
“Then”, this was where Station Street joined Diamond Avenue with Lowmoor Road to the left and Kingsway to the right. In his book “Christmas Pigs and a Summer Donkey” (p26), Mark Ashfield calls it “four-lane ends“. In her book(let) “I Also Remember“, Edith Searson does not use the term but refers to going “round the Bank corner” to get from Station Street into Kingsway.
Photographs of Four Lane Ends
A Brief History of Kirkby-in-Ashfield and Portland Park
There are two photographs of Four Lane Ends in “A Brief History of Kirkby-in-Ashfield and Portland Park” (pages 14-15) published by Kirkby and District Conservation Society.
Kirkby-in-Ashfield: Yesterday Remembered
In his book “Kirkby-in-Ashfield: Yesterday Remembered”, Gerald Lee includes a photograph of The Four Lane Ends (p17) which is looking down Low Moor Road from Kingsway with the Nag’s Head on the left. The photograph above that on p17 is also in the same area, looking down Low Moor Road with the Regent cinema in the distance. That photograph must be after 1959 as it shows the traffic lights in place.
Kirkby & District in Old Photographs
In their book “Kirkby & District in Old Photographs”, Frank Ashley, Sylvia Sinfield and Gerald Lee have one photograph (p72) of Low Moor Road looking towards the Four Lane Ends and another (p90) which centres on the Nag’s Head and which they date as 1928 and which also appears in Bill Clay-Dove’s book “Kirkby-in-Ashfield: An Interesting Township” (p42).
Kirkby & District: A Second Selection
In their other book “Kirkby & District: A Second Selection”, Frank Ashley, Sylvia Sinfield and Gerald Lee have a photograph of the Four Lane Ends (p102) from the 1940s. This features the Regent cinema to the left and is looking down Kingsway. They note that this photograph precedes the installation of traffic lights at the junction. It is the same photo as the one I have from an official guide from 1950.
Kirkby Street Names
Some of these details and other peculiarities of Kirkby street names are covered here.
Lowmoor or Low Moor Road
I have seen this road written as both Lowmoor and Low Moor Road. Both seem to be used interchangeably although one word seems more common now. On the 1939 and 1969 maps I have, it is recorded as Low Moor Road. Also, on Google, the part of the road which still exists, north of Sherwood Street is written as two words. I thought initially that Low Moor Road might have been the original form and it has become one word with usage. However, there are early examples of it being spelled as one word. In general, I have used one word except where specifically quoting places that use two words.
A Much-Changed Area
This area of Kirkby is perhaps one of those that has changed the most between “then” and “now”. The bottom end of Lowmoor Road has been pedestrianised and the streets that were to the north west of this – Byron Street, Prospect Street, Unity Street – were lost when the precinct, which presumably gave us Precinct Road, was built sometime prior to 1969, before it itself was demolished in 2011.
Mourning the Changes
In her book(let) “I Also Remember“, Edith Searson comments, “Now we come to a sad ending. Not only are we at the crossroads [Four Lane Ends] and the end of the shops on Low Moor Road, but sad to say, all the shops from Pond Street, the first being Briggs and Hagues, right along to Bown’s have all gone, demolished after being empty and deserted for several years, and now there is a store, which when finished, will fill the space made by the demolition of the fourteen shops and several houses. It was sad to see such a big change, and to lose the old familiar places but we accept it ‘in the name of progress’“.
Born in a Car Park?
My father, Royle Drew, was born in Prospect Street and I have recollections of visiting Kirkby as a child, standing with him in a car park, and him telling me this was where he was born although I think I was old enough to understand that he had not been born in a car park!
Bourne Primitive Methodist Chapel
It was on the corner of Prospect Street and Lowmoor Road that Bourne Primitive Methodist Chapel stood, which my family attended until it closed in the early sixties following merger with what had been the Wesleyan chapel on Diamond Avenue to form what is now Trinity Methodist Church. Edith Searson also attended this chapel. The building was used as a factory by Meridian before being demolished. Bourne chapel was named after Hugh Bourne one of the founders of Primitive Methodism. For more details of the chapel, see Chapters 17, 31, 38, 54 and 69.
If we proceeded up Lowmoor Road, we would come to Kirkby Colliery, see Chapter 5, and the housing around it. My father grew up in one of those colliery rows, at 29 Alexandra Street. I recall visiting my grandmother there after we had moved away.
Kirkby Colliery was known locally as Summit because it was at the highest point on the railway between Pinxton and Mansfield. The colliery was sunk by the Butterley Company in 1888 to 1890 with a third shaft, to the Blackshale seam, being sunk in 1912. It was controversially closed in July 1968. At the time of closure, it employed 2,258 men.
Most Families Had Some Connections to Mining
Given the number of people employed in mining, most families had some connections to mining and mine was no exception.
Grandad’s brother-in-law, John Smith worked at Summit. According to the 1911 census, he was a below ground onsetter, that is he was responsible for the loading and unloading of cages. The role was not without dangers. On one occasion, he was crushed between tubs and on another, in July 1914, grandad noted that “John had a narrow escape from the chair killing him”.
My paternal grandfather, Charles Drew, also worked as a miner and I assume he worked at Summit because he lived in Alexandra Street. In the 1921 census, he was listed as a colliery hewer and, in 1939, he was listed as a colliery yard labourer which implies that, at least at that time, he worked above ground.
A Dangerous Occupation
I always had known that mining was a dangerous occupation but I guess my attention was taken by the long-term respiratory conditions suffered by many miners, including my grandfather, and the major disasters that occurred. For example, in June 1915, grandad recorded that the cages had got caught at neighbouring Bentinck colliery and ten miners had been killed.
What I had not realised was that accidents causing death happened fairly frequently in the mines aside from major incidents. For example, from 1924 to 1965, 66 miners died at Summit colliery alone. Mr Martin’s death is not recorded in this list as he died before the date of the first record on that website. However, I recently came across another list on Kirkby Living Memory Facebook Group which notes a further 47 deaths between 1895 and 1922. This list does include William James Martin, aged 36, who died on 20 November 1914 as a result of a roof fall and kidney disease.
In September 1951, grandad noted that he was called as a juror to an inquest for a young man, aged 19, who had been killed at Summit colliery. It appears that his name was Terence Ellis and he died when the roof fell in, see Chapter 59.
But, that’s not the way we’re going from Four Lane Ends. If we continued ahead, crossing what was Lowmoor Road, we would be in Diamond Avenue and we would quickly reach what is “now” Trinity Methodist Church, which is visible from Four Lane Ends.
A bit further along is where I was born, number 41 Diamond Avenue, opposite the turning to Crocus Street.
However, that is not where we are heading either. Rather, we are crossing Station Street to retrace our steps. Ahead of us “now” is The Regent, a Wetherspoon’s pub which “then” was the Regent cinema, see Chapter 21.
Cinema in Kirkby
Both mum and grandad went to the cinema a lot and these trips and the films they saw feature prominently in their diaries. The Regent opened as a cinema in October 1930 and, with the Star and Kings, see Chapter 4, brought the number of cinemas in Kirkby to three. The opening of the Regent coincided with the introduction of talking movies and grandad noted that the first film he saw (and heard!) at the Regent was “Gold Diggers of Broadway”.
Recollections of Movies in Kirkby
There are many accounts of seeing movies in Kirkby. Gerald Lee’s book “Kirkby-in-Ashfield: Yesterday Remembered” has a chapter (15) dedicated to “When the Pictures started Talking” from p70. In that, he says that “talkies” arrived in October 1930 with the opening of the Regent. However, according to grandad, he saw (and heard!) his first talkie a month earlier at the Star.
Edith Searson, in her book(let) “I Remember” (p62), noted that the Regent was built in 1932 (although other sources suggest 1930). She highlighted that they offered talking movies. In her second book(let) “I Also Remember (p11), she noted that, when her family moved to Kirkby in 1917, there were two Picture Houses or Picture Palaces. Although she did not go to the cinema often, she thought the pictures were “just marvellous“. She recalled the experience of going to the cinema, noting that there were two houses or sessions with the second a repeat of the first. There was an accompanying pianist. She also noted that both cinemas had “continuous performances“. Grandad noted that the Star introduced this first with Kings introducing this in 1915, see Chapter 4.
Mark Ashfield also has a chapter focused on the Regent entitled “When the Talkies Came to Town” in his book “Horses, Herbs and a Cockatoo” (from p13). This includes an advert for the cinema from the Free Press in 1938 on p13 and a photograph of the manager and staff on p16.
Before the Regent was built, the butcher James Wightman had his business on this corner. Edith Searson, in her booklet “I Also Remember, recalled that this business started in 1870. He was assisted by his son Thomas and his wife, Jane. Later, their son Thomas and his wife, Leah, took over the business. At the time Edith Searson was writing, in the 1980s, she noted that their two sons Tom and Paul continued the business. This presumably means that the business did not close when the Regent was built.
James Wightman is listed in the 1898 Kelly’s Directory. In both 1928 and 1941, Thomas Wightman is listed as a butcher in Kingsway. There is a 1904 photo of the butcher’s shop on the Our Nottinghamshire website. The name of the business there is M Wightman, which appears to refer to James’ widow, Mary.
Our return journey starts at the corner of Station Street and Kingsway. According to a post by Richard Evans on Kirkby Living Memory Facebook Group, Kingsway was named after a visit to Kirkby made by King Edward VII and, prior to that, had been called Cemetery Road. However, June Barbara Brown commented that, according to her mother-in-law, the visit by the King was planned but did not happen as he was unwell.
It does appear that a visit to the area by King Edward VII, originally scheduled for 1903, did have to be delayed because of poor health. However, it does not seem that the road was re-named as a result of that visit as the name Cemetery Road was in use until 1914. Based on an article in the Mansfield Reporter in December 1914, it seems that the road was re-named that year following the June visit of King George V, see Chapter 7. For more details, see here.
The building on the corner is 88-90 Station Street and “now” is the location of a convenience store Daily. It has been there since at least August 2021. From August 2018 to March 2019, the property looked as if it had been refurbished and it was available “To Let“. Up until at least April 2017, the property housed Barclays Bank.
When I first looked into this matter, I thought I found evidence on Google that that a company called Byard Enterprises had been based in the corner premises from 2016. However, when I look now, I can find no evidence of this. In addition, in 2016, Barclays still occupied the premises. Nevertheless, Byard Enterprises were once based at 88-90 Station Street although they have since been liquidated. Perhaps they were based in part of the premises while Barclays were still there and/or perhaps they occupied the premises in the period between when Barclays closed and when Daily opened.
Barclays Bank occupied 90 Station Street from at least 1928. They were also based there in both 1941 and 1942. Barclays appears on Jacques’ List of Station Street retailers circa 1920-1940.
There is an excellent photograph of a postcard of this in David Ottewell’s book “Kirkby-in-Ashfield and Annesley on Old Picture Postcards” (#14). Part of this same photo appears in “Kirkby A People’s History” by Kirkby Volunteer Centre. In the photo I have from the 1950 official guide, signs for Barclays Bank are visible on the corner property.
Memories of Barclays Bank
Barclays is also mentioned by Mark Ashfield in “Christmas Pigs and a Summer Donkey” (p26). Edith Searson, in her book(let) “I Also Remember“, does not specifically mention Barclays although she does mention “Bank corner” as she passes from Station Street into Kingsway.
Residents of Bank House
In 1939, the Booth family – Elizabeth, Samuel and Herbert were recorded as living at Bank House in Station Street. It appears as if Herbert and Elizabeth were a married couple and Samuel was their son. Samuel was a lorry driver for wholesale fruit and Herbert was a collier, a banksman. Herbert was also part of the Auxiliary Fire Service (AFS).
Beyond that, there is a long terraced row of shops that is continuous until reaching Morley Street.
The first property in this row “now” is the Dog House which describes itself as a pub and which occupies 84-86 Station Street. They have been based there since at least September 2017. In April 2017, the property looked empty but it also looked as if it was being prepared to open as the Dog House. From at least October 2008 to May 2016, a business called The Fruit Bowl was based there. Apparently, they sold flowers, plants and gifts.
Home and Colonial Stores
“Then”, number 86 hosted Home and Colonial Stores Ltd, a provision merchants. Home and Colonial grocer appears on Jacques’ List of Station Street retailers circa 1920-1940.
“Then”, number 84 was occupied by a general stores run by Frank Wakefield . In 1928, number 84 was occupied by a baker, John Robert Parker. He may have also sold cooked meats as Parker Baker Cooked Meats appears on Jacques’ List of Station Street retailers circa 1920-1940.
Memories of 84-86 Station Street
In her book(let) “I Also Remember“, Edith Searson does not give property numbers. So, sometimes it takes a bit of detective work to figure out which property she is referring to. In this case, she notes that George and Bertha Wilmot ran a bakery and confectionery business here for a number of years only retiring in the second world war. It then changed the nature of the business when George Stafford opened a greengrocers. In 1950, Edith Searson and her husband Ben took on this business although she very much mentions this in passing without any kind of song and dance. Later, it was taken on by Mr Makinson who traded as The Fruit Bowl.
George and Bertha Wilmot
In the 1921 census, George Arthur and Bertha Ellen Wilmot were living at 84 Station Street. His profession was given as baker and confectioner.
Henry and Maria Goadby
In the 1911 census, Henry and Maria Goadby were living at 84 Station Street. I recognised the name because he had a dispute with my great grandfather Henry Parkin which, in 1910, ended up in court, see Chapter 47. At the time of the dispute, Henry Goadby was renting a shop in Lowmoor Road from Henry Parkin.
“Now”, Your Move are at number 82. They have been there since at least April 2011. However, before then, from at least October 2008 to July 2009, the Halifax was there.
There was no listing for this property in 1942 but, in 1928, Herbert Thompson Smith was a haberdasher at number 82. Robinson-Smith appears as a haberdasher on Jacques’ List of Station Street retailers circa 1920-1940. I assume this is the same person and wonder if Thompson has been mis-transcribed as Robinson or vice versa. In the 1980s, the camping and leisure store, Leisurefield was at number 82.
Memories of 82 Station Street
In her book(let) “I Also Remember“, Edith Searson recalls H J Smith’s drapery and Gent’s Wear shop. I suspect this is referring to 82 Station Street despite the discrepancy in the middle initial. She notes that Mr Smith’s wife helped him in the business. She recalled that Mr Smith was a leading churchman and she thought he belonged to St Wilfrid’s church.
Mr and Mrs H T Smith
Mr and Mrs H T Smith sent flowers when my great grandmother, Sarah Parkin, died in 1930, see Chapter 15. They also gave my grandparents a tablecloth as a wedding present later that year, see Chapter 16. I suspect this refers to Herbert Thompson Smith and his wife.
Residents at 82 Station Street
In 1939, Arthur, Elizabeth and Ronald Green were living at number 82. Arthur was recorded as an invalid coal hewer and Ronald was a colliery clerk. In 1921, Herbert Thompson Smith and his wife, Martha A, were living at 82 Station Street.
Kirkby Sales and Exchange
Kirkby Sales and Exchange are at 80 Station Street “now“. Although their address is given as 80 Station Street, they appear to occupy what was 78 Station Street as well. They have been there since November 2015 at least. However, in June 2015, the property appears to have been vacant. From at least October 2008 to April 2011, the premises housed solicitors Fidler and Pepper.
Built in 1886?
Of interest perhaps, is that there seems to be an inscription of the date 1886 on the front wall of number 80. I presume this was the date this property was built.
There was no listing for this property in 1942 but, in 1928, James Tuttle was a greengrocer at number 80. Tuttles Greengrocer appears on Jacques’ List of Station Street retailers circa 1920-1940. According to the 1921 census, he was living there with his wife, Matilda, and their two children, Dorothy A and Milford James. He applied to Kirkby Tribunal for an exemption to military service during the first world war.
W Heath and Sons Tobacconist and Reg Edwards
In 1942, number 78 was occupied by Reginald (“Reg”) Edwards who provided a “Leisure Hour” Library. In 1928, the tobacconist W Heath & Sons had been based there.
Memories of 78 Station Street
In her book(let) “I Also Remember“, Edith Searson recalls a tobacconist’s which she referred to as the Heath family business. She noted that, at one time, the business was managed by the eldest son Reg. It is odd that this first name is the same as Reg Edwards but, given the different surnames, I don’t see how they could be connected.
According to the 1911 census, William Heath, a tobacconist, was living at 78 Station Street with his wife, Mabel. They had six children and the eldest of them was indeed called Reginald. His middle name was Robinson. The other children were Winifred, William Kendrick, Raymond Victor, Jessie and John Ralph. It certainly seems that Reginald Robinson Heath and Reginald Edwards were different people.
Reginald Edwards, as grandad’s neighbour, appears fairly frequently in grandad’s diary.
My initial impression was that he was some kind of hardware or do-it-yourself dealer as grandad got all kinds of building-type supplies from him including bricks, fluorescent lights, an electric motor, a lawn mower, paraffin stoves and an oil heater.
But, I wonder if he was more of a general dealer as grandad also got other things from him, including a baby’s crib, high chair and pushchair, a child’s scooter and a Hohner Melodica.
It does seem that Reg may have sold books as, in December 1960, grandma bought grandad the book “Lady Chatterley’s Lover” from him, see Chapter 86. I found it surprising that grandma bought this book given her staunch Methodist background but, according to his diary, grandad was interested in the book because of the court case there had been over whether it was fit for publication. This book caused quite a stir and a chapter (#5) of Jonathan Evans book “The Mystery of Ernie Taylor’s Abdomen” is devoted to it.
It appears that Reg and grandad were friends. Reg visited grandad at home and grandad visited Reg in hospital when he was unwell. Grandad noted making a garden seat for Reg in 1957. Reg provided the wood and grandad did the work. In 1958, grandad got a step ladder from Reg for a ladder that Cliff Green had made for grandad when he was still living at Station Street and, in 1958, Reg offered grandad a piano that presumably he no longer wanted.
Three years later, in 1961, Reg was interested in grandad’s slide projector so he came to see it and then came again a few months later with his son, Robin. In September 1963, Reg and Robin visited grandad as the ten-year old Robin had a new cine camera he wanted to show grandad. It seems that Reg may have acted for grandad, after the latter had moved to Norfolk, in relation to houses he owned and was renting out in Victoria Road.
22 Chestnut Avenue
In 1939, no-one was registered as living at 78 Station Street and it appears that Reginald Edwards and his wife Laura were living at 22 Chestnut Avenue. She was recorded as a library owner which might mean that she ran and owned the “Leisure Hour” Library. However, he was recorded as an assurance representative which is harder to explain! Reginald also appears to have been a Nottingham Territorial Army Rifleman.
My Grandad’s Shoe Shop
The buildings that follow were where my grandad’s shoe shop was.
Started by Henry Parkin
The business was started by my grandfather’s father, my great grandfather, Henry Parkin, sometime after he moved to Kirkby with his family in 1897, see Chapter 1. Henry Parkin was listed as a bootmaker in the 1898 Kelly’s Directory. According to a news article at the time of his death in 1957, see Chapter 65, Henry Parkin “moved to Kirkby in 1897 from Hucknall, and commenced a boot and shoe repairing business in a wooden hut at the junction of Portland Street and Low Moor Road. Subsequently, he moved to premises in Station Street, which still bear the Parkin name, and in addition to repairing, also established a boot and shoe retail business“.
Grandad Worked in His Father’s Business
From the time his diaries start, in 1914, when he was 16, grandad was working in his father’s business, see Chapter 2. Grandad worked mostly in the workshop and his brother, Cyril, worked mostly in the shop. They gradually took over the business from their father. The 1928 Kelly’s Directory lists the business as Parkin Brothers, bootmakers, located at 70-76 Station Street. In 1933, Cyril left the business, see Chapter 13. From then, grandad ran it on his own. According to the details from 1942, Charles G Parkin was a bootmaker and was occupying 72-76 Station Street. The same entry appears in the 1941 Kelly’s Directory. Parkin Shoes appears on Jacques’ List of Station Street retailers circa 1920-1940.
Photos of Grandad’s Shop
I do not have many photos of the front of grandad’s shop. The ones I do have seem to have been taken during a carnival around 1939 or when he paid Armstrongs £1 to deliver a piano through the first-floor window above the shop in 1937. There are also some photos of the back yard including of the aviary grandad built around 1939 and the hammock mum had up in the yard in around 1948.
Memories of Grandad’s Shop
In her book(let) “I Also Remember“, Edith Searson notes “as we leave these smaller shops, we are at the door of Henry Parkin’s Boot and Shoe shop. This is a family business, and includes a repairs service. After trading several years, this business was taken over by Fred and Sadie Flint. They too were in the business several years, and finally, Gordon and Gwen Sugg took over this Boot and Shoe business which is the oldest established business of it’s kind in the town. Gordon and Gwen are still busy.”
Selling the Business
In her diaries, mum noted that, in the early 1950s, she sometimes helped in grandad’s shop, see Chapter 55, as she had done since she was quite young. At this point, she was working for Kirkby Cooperative Manufacturing (KCM). In May 1955, she switched to part-time work at KCM, see Chapter 61, so that she could help more in the shop at a time when grandad was ill, see Chapter 65. In November 1955, she left KCM to work full-time at the shop. From this point on, grandad’s health meant that he struggled to return to work. Although mum and dad considered taking the shop on, they decided not to. In January 1958, grandad sold the business to Fred Flint, as noted by Edith Searson, and see Chapter 60.
In January 1959, about a year after Fred Flint bought the shop, grandad noted that there had been a fire at the premises and the fire brigade were called.
As noted by Edith Searson, Gordon Sugg took over the business from Fred Flint. Grandad noted that this was in 1963.
The Trials and Tribulations of A Small Retailer
Gordon Suggs wrote an autobiographical book(let) called “The Trials and Tribulations of a Small Retailer“. This describes his life and family in some detail. He also explains (p31) moving his shops from Kingsway to Station Street in 1963. Apparently, he did this because he was looking for larger premises and because rents were increasing on Kingsway. He needed to borrow some money to make the purchase. When his bank declined to lend him the money, he borrowed the money from Barclays and switched his account to them. He took over the Station Street business on 17 June 1963 and continued with the Kingsway business too for a further fifteen months before closing that. Over the coming years, he expanded his business considerably opening shops in both Sutton and Alfreton. He finally retired in 1989.
Memories of Gordon Sugg
In comments on Kirkby Living Memory Facebook Group, Richard Evans recalled buying his first pair of “grown up” blue suede shoes from Sugg’s in Kingsway. He recalled “Mr Suggs” as “a lovely man who never forgot a foot“. Melanie Millington recalled loving being a “Saturday girl” at Sugg’s in Station Street. She commented that she “used to look in the small department store opposite in my lunch hour. Also go to the library to do extra homework. Challans was very posh, bought presents for my mum there. Think it was a thriving shopping centre then.“
The Parkin Family and Living at the Shop in Station Street
Based on the 1901 census, grandad was living with his family at 20 Victoria Road, see Chapter 3.
However, by 1911, grandad was living with his parents and his three next-youngest siblings, Eva, Cyril and Len, at 70-76 Station Street. By 1911, grandad’s oldest sister, Olive, was married and living in Welbeck Street with her husband, John Smith, and son, Leonard. Grandad’s oldest brother James Henry was also married and living with his wife Annie and their two children, Gordon and Ethel, at 67 The Hill.
According to grandad’s diary, the family moved to 54 Welbeck Street in December 1915.
According to the 1921 census, see Chapter 24, Henry, Sarah and grandad were living at 54 Welbeck Street, as were grandad’s sister Eva and her husband Arthur Evans. John and Olive lived next door at 56 Welbeck Street. Len and his wife, Ethel, were at Alfred Street, Riddings and Cyril was listed as living at 3 Welbeck Street with his wife, Minnie, and their son, Basil. Based on the 1921 electoral register, Len was living with his wife, Ethel, at 64 Forest Street but I have not managed to locate him in the 1921 census.
In the 1921 census, grandad’s oldest brother, James Henry Parkin and his family were listed at 76 Station Street. So, at this point, he was the only family member living above the shop. However, two Salvation Army Officers, Catherine R Wright and Ada E Furr were listed as living at 72A Station Street.
According to grandad’s diary, in 1924, his brother Len moved to Ollerton.
In 1925, grandad moved himself. Based on electoral registers, he was living with his father and mother at 158 Diamond Avenue. His sister, Eva, and her husband Arthur Evans were next door at 160 with his other sister, Olive, and her husband John at 162, see Chapter 24.
Grandma and grandad married in 1930 and they lived on Diamond Avenue. However, in 1931, when grandma was unwell they moved in temporarily with grandma’s parents at 61 Milton Street. Similarly, in 1937, after grandma’s mother had died, they moved in temporarily with grandad’s father at 96 Welbeck Street. However, when he died, they moved to the shop in Station Street which is where mum remembered growing up.
In 1939, grandad (Charles Gordon Parkin) and grandma (Ethel May Cecilia Parkin) were registered as living at number 74. Mum (Sheila May Parkin) was there too although her record on the 1939 Register is closed.
According to the 1939 Register, Harold Green and his wife Edith, both hairdressers were living at 70-72 Station Street with their daughter Beryl and a domestic servant Elsie J Hall. They also had a son, Clifford (“Cliff”), but he was not registered as living with them in 1939.
Mum Recalled Playing with Beryl
Mum recalled playing with Beryl even though mum was ten years younger than her. There are photos of them playing together. In May 1938, grandad noted that Beryl had pushed him into a pond!
Beryl Died Aged 16
Beryl had Down syndrome and, in July 1941, she died aged just 16. Mum was sent to family friend’s Tom and Annie Holmes for a week and, during that time, Beryl was buried. Mum, who was seven at the time, was not involved in the funeral and it appears that no-one explained to her what had happened.
It must have seemed to her that one minute her friend was there and the next she was gone. She wrote on the back of one of the photographs, “Beryl lived next door to us at Station Street… She died but I have no idea when or how. It wasn’t talked about in those days”. Among her papers, there was a newspaper cutting about Beryl’s death. This shows that not only did grandma and grandad attend the funeral but so did other family members Eva, Arthur, Olive and Roy Evans and Olive, John, Len and Dolly Smith, see Chapter 29.
In August 2023, on a visit to Kirkby, I thought I would look to see if I could find Beryl’s grave in Kingsway New Cemetery as I was visiting other family graves there. I did manage to locate it although the writing is somewhat faded.
“Then“, at number 70, was a ladies’ hairdressers run by Mrs Edith Green. I also came across a hairdressers at number 70 called Madame May. Madame May a[[ears on Jacques’ List of Station Street retailers circa 1920-1940.
Initially, I thought they were different businesses but Edith Searson, in her book(let) “I Also Remember” noted that Mrs Green of Hucknall traded as ‘Madame May‘. She noted that it was one of many hairdressing salons that popped up in all towns with the change in hairdressing styles in the 1920s. She noted that it had grown and was still busy.
Other Memories of Madame May
Several members of Facebook Living Memory Facebook Group had personal recollections of Madame May’s. These included that having a perm took nearly all day. Perms tended to be reserved for special occasions, such as Christmas and summer with “sets” every week if money permitted. Home perms were also available. One member noted that “back then they [home perms] had metal curlers the perming solution stunk awful“.
Most memories of the salon were relatively fond, for example, “I used to go to Madam May’s in my teens. I had my first perm there. I can still feel those heavy electric things in my hair!” Another recalled the “hot permy smell. With lacquer and smelly setting lotion.” However, one member commented, “I remember going once there and she cut my hair different to what I had it. I was starting… school the September and I wouldn’t take my hood off I hated it“!
Laurine Stafford and Diane Waterhouse worked at Madame May’s. Laurine commented, “I worked at madam mays in the 70s on a Friday after school and all day Saturday, from 6 am to 7 pm , that’s when salons was open long hours, I remember the ladies bringing their sachets of Beer shampoo“. Diane noted, “I worked for Carol at Madame May’s when I left school, did my apprenticeship there. It was her grandma’s hairdressers before Phylis took over she was the Original Madame May“.
Create Your Day and Coffee N Cream
“Now”, the bridal shop, Create Your Day occupies 74-76 and the café Coffee N Cream occupies 70-72. Create Your Day appear to have been there since at least June 2015, although at the start, the sign had not gone up but there were wedding dresses in the window. Between October 2008 and April 2011 at least, the Booking Centre were there.
Similarly, Coffee N Cream have been there since June 2015 at least. However, the sign saying Coffee N Cream seems to have been missing since at least August 2021. Between October 2008 and April 2011 the salon Surreal were there. In the eighties, it appears that Simpsons Ladies and Children’s Fashions was here.
Your Feet First
Currently, number 68 appears 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.
A Corset Maker and A Confectioner
“Then”, number 68 was occupied by Mrs Collingwood, a corset maker and draper. In 1928, number 68 by Miss Olive Mellar, a confectioner. In the 1980s. it seems that number 68 was occupied by Good Earth, a natural wholefoods shop. No-one was listed as living at number 68 in 1939.
Mr and Mrs Collingwood are listed among those who sent flowers at the time of Beryl Green’s funeral.
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.
Tiga Hair Spa
Currently, number 66 houses another salon Tiga Hair Spa. They have been there since at least October 2008.
“Then” number 66 was occupied by William H Ceney and Portland Bakery. Ceney Baker appears on Jacques’ List of Station Street retailers circa 1920-1940 but this has it as next-door to Madame May. It also lists Waites greengrocers at the same premises, although in 1928, they were at 64 Station Street. Other businesses listed in this part of Station Street, by Jacques’ List of Station Street retailers circa 1920-1940, that I have not identified include Huskinson Pork Butcher and Quick Service Sweets.
In 1928, number 66 was occupied by Levi Smith, a pork butcher. In the 1980s. it seems that number 66 was occupied by The Orchard, a greengrocer and florist. No-one lived at 66 Station Street in 1939.
Memories of Number 66
Edith Searson, in her book(let) “I Also Remember” recalls Ceney’s cake and pastry shop although she recalls it on the other side of Miss Mellor’s confectionery business. She notes that the chocolate marshmallows, in particular, were “delicious and moreish“.
My Dentist and 6 Five 2s
Currently, My Dentist, occupies 62-64 Station Street, and the private hire taxi company, 6 Five 2s, is also at number 62. From the photograph, My Dentist appears to occupy the first-floor of number 62 with 6 Five 2s on the ground floor.
My Dentist have been there since at least November 2015. Prior to that, it was Station Street Dental Centre. 6 Five 2s have been there since at least March 2019. Before that, it was Kingsway Shoe Repairer. In the 1980s. it seems that number 62 was occupied by the estate agents, valuers and auctioneers, Booth and Coupe.
In the 1940s, there was no listing for number 64 but, in 1928, the greengrocer, Joseph Waite was here. Waites greengrocer appears on Jacques’ List of Station Street retailers circa 1920-1940 but next-door to Madame May. In 1942, George Unwin, a herbalist, was listed at number 62 and Edgar Coates, a confectioner at 62a. He also appears on Jacques’ List of Station Street retailers circa 1920-1940. In 1928, Edward Holland, an electrical engineer, was based at number 62a.
There are photographs of this shop that appears in a number of books including in “Kirkby & District from Old Photographs” by Frank Ashley, Sylvia Sinfield and Gerald Lee (p67) and “Kirkby A People’s History” by Kirkby Volunteer Centre (p19 and p68).
Memories of George Unwin
George Unwin is noted by Mark Ashfield in “Christmas Pigs and a Summer Donkey” (pp25-26). He recalls the various potions and powders for sale there. Perhaps most memorable for him were the herbal cigarettes which he smoked when “parental vigilance was relaxed“. Edith Searson, in her book(let) “I Also Remember“, recalls the shop and that he sold yeast. She thought he would do a good trade as many people baked their own bread in those days. She recalled that he used to deliver goods round the town on his bike.
Grandad Mentions G Unwin
Grandad briefly mentions a G Unwin in his diary, in April 1943. They made a garage door together. Grandad also mentioned George’s son, John when he crashed into a Butler’s bus on Victoria Road, in September 1951, when he was on a motorbike.
In March 1916, aged 22, George Unwin appeared before the Kirkby Tribunal asking for an exemption to military service based on conscientious objection. The application was denied.
Living at the Shop
In 1939, the Unwins, George, Eva and John, were living at number 62.
In 1942, Edgar Coates was listed as a confectioner at 62a Station Street. I assume that the Edgar Coates here was the same as the one who had the outfitters at number 47 and presumably these are the premises which later became his showroom at number 64.
Morley Street to Tennyson Street
We have now reached Morley Street and there is another continuous terrace of shops opposite the entrance to Ellis Street and where Lloyds Bank was until June 2021.
Leisure Time Slots and The Tanning Centre
“Now”, on the corner of Morley Street and Station Street, at number 60 Station Street is Leisure Time Slots. Upstairs and stretching across to number 58 is the Tanning Centre. They have both been there since at least October 2008 but, some time before August 2021, Leisure Time Slots changes its name from just Leisure Time.
“Then”, occupying numbers 58 and 60 was Edward Wilbourn Ltd, a grocers and they were still there in the 1980s. They had two entries in the notice for window spotting – one for wine and another for a garden centre catering for all garden and pet needs. Wilbourns Wines/Grocer appears on Jacques’ List of Station Street retailers circa 1920-1940.
Memories of Wilbourn’s
The shop was noted by Mark Ashfield in “Christmas Pigs and a Summer Donkey” (p25) as being for the discriminating palate. According to Mark Ashfield, Wilbourn’s ventured into horticulture at a later date and their base for this was what had been Dr Waller’s house. Indeed, the horticulture side of the business continued to operate until at least 2011.
In her booklet “I Also Remember“, Edith Searson describes Wilbourne’s as “the town’s leading grocery shop“. She explains that it was started by Edward Wilbourne in 1889. He was assisted by his daughter Carrie who married Ernest Walton. They continued to run the business. Edith Searson recalled that they were assisted by two young men Clarence Wharmby and Harold Redfin. Clarence used to staff the shop and Harold made deliveries. She recalls going to the shop with her mother during the war and sometimes being offered a tin of fruit from under the counter. In the eighties, at the time Edith Searson was writing, the business was managed by John Walton, Edward Wilbourn’s grandson.
Harold Redfin was my great uncle on my father’s side. He was the younger brother of my paternal grandmother, Alice, whose maiden name was Redfin (or Redfearn), see Chapter 58. He was born on 27 October 1903. In 1911, he was living with Alice and other family members at 16 Prospect Street. He married Florence Eames in 1927. They had two children, Derek H (b1932) and Hazel B (b1934). In 1939, Harold was living at 39 Byron Street with Florence and presumably their two children, although their records are closed. Earlier, according to the 1930 and 1931 electoral registers, he and Florence had lived at 43 Byron Street. In 1939, his work was described as a Lorry Driver – Warehouseman.
Harold Redfin in the 1921 Census
The 1921 census is particularly informative. Harold, who was now 17, was living with his father, John, who was described as a widower. Harold’s mother, Mary, had died in 1917. Harold’s two oldest siblings, John (b1896) and Annie Lydia (b1897) were not living there but other siblings were including Mary Elizabeth (b1901), Albert (b1906), Ivy Maud (or Maria) (b1909), May (b1912) and Doris (b1914). Also living with the family was James Hurst, John Redfin’s father-in-law. My grandmother, Alice, was also living there. At this point, she was married to her first husband, see Chapter 58, who here is identified as Charlie Randal. He was described as an Engine Fitter/Engine Labourer. Their first daughter, Eva May, my father’s sister, was living with them.
Confirmation That My Great Uncle Worked for Wilbourn’s
Harold’s father was working as a coal miner, getter and Harold’s brother, Albert, was working as a coal miner above ground. Harold himself was identified as a grocer’s assistant and salesman. His employer was definitively identified as E Wilbourn Grocer. His place of work was given as Station Street.
Harold’s Sudden Death
According to Edith Searson’s account, “one day, when Harold was delivering his orders, he was found slumped un his vehicle. He was found to be dead. It was a sad occasion for his many friends“. Based on death records, this was in 1956. I was not previously aware of the suddenness, or the circumstances, of his death. I never knew him as he died four years before I was born.
Photographs of Wilbourn’s
There are photographs of Wilbourn’s shop and horses in the book “Kirkby & District from Old Photographs” by Frank Ashley, Sylvia Sinfield and Gerald Lee (p43 and p70). The photograph on p43 also appears on the front cover of Nottinghamshire County Council’s book “Kirkby-in-Ashfield: A Pictorial View 1889-1989”.
Edward Wilbourn appeared before Kirkby Tribunal, in May and July 1916, asking for an exemption to military service for his employee George White. He argued that if Mr White was drafted, his business would have to close. The Tribunal granted an initial two months exemption. However, the Military Representative objected and said he would appeal. When the Tribunal heard his case again, in July, they granted him a final exemption of one month.
It seems that Wilbourn’s stayed open and relied on boys below military age, such as my great uncle Harold Redfin.
“Then“, 58 Station Street was part of the premises occupied by Wilbourn’s. Currently, King Barber is located at 58 Station Street. They have been located there from at least March 2022. Before that, the premises housed a number of food outlets including Big Belly Deli (2020-21), Rob’s Rolls (2017-19), Kings Rolls (2015-16) and Yummy’s (2008-11). In the 1980s, Krackers discount store was at number 58.
Kirkby Gold Centre
Kirkby Gold Centre is currently at 56 Station Street. They have been there since at least June 2015. However, in April 2011, the premises were empty and there was a “To Let” sign on the building. From at least June to August 2009, the premises housed the Salvation Army Care and Share Shop. In October 2008, the premises may have been empty, the shutters were down, but there was a “Let By” notice on the building.
Howis Bakery and Edwin Marriott A Butcher
“Then” at number 56, there was Wilfred Howis, a baker. In 1928, this was home to Edwin Marriott, the butcher, who, by 1942, had moved to number 44. Howis Bakery appears on Jacques’ List of Station Street retailers circa 1920-1940. However, it is depicted as next-door-but-one to Wilbourn’s and on the same premises as Modernway Library. In between Howis and Wilbourn’s is a property called Bancroft which I have not yet identified.
At number 54, there is another charity shop, this one is called The Crossing. According to the sign on the building, it supports St Wilfrid’s and other charities. It has been there since at least June 2015. Prior to that, from at least October 2008 to April 2011, it was MG’s House Clearance. In the 1980s, the accountant R C Ravensdale was at number 54.
Modern Way Libraries
“Then” at number 54 was Modern Way Libraries. This appears as Modernway Library on Jacques’ List of Station Street retailers circa 1920-1940. In 1928, number 54 was occupied by John Henry Pask, a hairdresser. Modern Way Libraries is featured as one of three shops in Mark Ashfield’s book “A Carnival Crown and a Roasted Ox” (pp19-20). It was a private lending library and it cost 2d per week to borrow books.
Ashfield Dry Cleaners
At number 52, are Ashfield Dry Cleaners who moved from across the road where they were located from at least June 2015 to September 2017. The two shops may have overlapped for a period as they have been located at 52 Station Street since April 2017 at least. Before that, from at least July 2009 to May 2016, the estate agent Location, were based here. Prior to 2011, Location also had a branch at 9 Station Street. In October 2008, number 52 looked empty. In the 1980s, Shirl’s fruit shop was located here.
A Greengrocer and A Jeweller
“Then” Clement Chilton, a fruiter and greengrocer, occupied 52 Station Street. In 1928, it was occupied by Edward Parry, a jeweller.
A Wass Funeral Director
Now, on the corner, is A Wass, the funeral director, at number 50. They have been there since at least September 2017. Prior to that, from at least June 2015 to April 2017 was The Ark. It advertised tea, coffee, books, music and church supplies. Apparently, it was a Christian book store. In April 2017, there was a “Let By” sign on the building. Previously, in July 2009 and April 2011, the building was empty and, in April 2011, there was a “For Sale/To Let” sign on the building. In October 2008, Kirkby Neighbourhood Management operated a Community Contact/Information Point here. In the 1980s, P E Bray’s china shop was at number 50 having previously been on Lowmoor Road.
The Grocer Fred Hutton
“Then“, on the corner, at number 50, was Fred Hutton, another grocer. Hutton Grocer appears on Jacques’ List of Station Street retailers circa 1920-1940.
Grandad Mentioned Fred Hutton in His Diaries
Grandad noted in his diary when Fred Hutton died on 21 January 1955. He had previously noted F Hutton and Mr and Mrs Hutton coming for tea several times in 1918.
Based on the 1921 census, Fred Hutton was born in 1892, which made him five years older than grandad. That year, he was living with his wife Mary at 52 Station Street and he was described as a grocer’s assistant. Apparently, he had been born in Derbyshire. From 1923, he appears in the electoral register for 50 Station Street as his place of work but it notes he was living in Huthwaite. He married Mary E Cundy in 1918. In 1939, they were living at 32 Lenton Boulevard Nottingham. As far as I can see, they did not have children. I have found records of him appearing before Kirkby Tribunal during the first world war. He received a number of temporary exemptions to military service.
Memories of Hutton’s
In her book(let) “I Also Remember“, Edith Searson notes coming to a Family Grocer’s shop, owned by Fred Hutton, after having crossed Tennyson Street. She noted that his wife helped in the shop and that they had a similar shop in the Market Place in Huthwaite. She noted that Ethel Mountain was the assistant there.
Residents of 50-60 Station Street in 1939
In 1939, three families were registered as living between 50 and 60 Station Street. In the direction we are walking, at numbers 58 to 60, were the Waltons, Ernest and Carrie and their two sons Edward and Eric. Ernest was the manager of a grocers, wine and spirits. Edward and Eric were both articled clerks to chartered accountants. Joshua and Ellen Bridges lived at number 54 and he was registered as a bookseller (manager). Finally, Clement and Ethel Chilton were registered as living at number 52. He was recorded as working in the stockroom and packing department, perhaps of a boot maker She was recorded as a confectioner, fruit and grocer. He was also a sergeant in the special constabulary. Chilton sweet and gen appears on Jacques’ List of Station Street retailers circa 1920-1940.
Memories of Shops between Hutton’s and Wilbourn’s
Edith Searson, in her book(let) “I Also Remember“, walked from Hutton’s to Wilbourn’s and noted, “we pass several smaller shops. As some of them have a ‘new look’ and also some have changed the commodities they sell, I cannot be quite sure of their individual positions, but I do remember several of the names“.
Mrs Waites’ Greengrocer
She mentions a greengrocer’s shop run by Mrs Waites. However, I wonder if this was in this terrace at all and if she was perhaps referring to the greengrocer’s business at 64 Station Street. Edith Searson notes that a relative Billy Glover helped in the shop. But, this did not go on for long as he died while still a young man.
She also mentions a wool shop owned by Edith Jones and Ethel Chilton. Ethel Chilton’s husband had a chiropody practice. In the 1980s, the wool shop was still running as Bernice Wools. As we have seen, in 1939, Clement and Ethel Chilton were living at number 52. Although that entry does not specifically mention wool or chiropody, I assume it is referring to the same people.
Tennyson Street to Hodgkinson Road
From Tennyson Street to Hodgkinson Road, there is first a row of terraced shops and following that, separated by an entrance into Hodgkinson Road car park, a row of shops within a square, more modern-looking building.
Mansfield Building Society
“Now”, the Mansfield Building Society occupies 48 Station Street. They have been there since at least October 2008.
“Then”, there was another grocer at number 48, J D Marsden Ltd. This was the post office that Mark Ashfield describes in “Christmas Pigs and a Summer Donkey” (p25). He identifies the postmaster as Jim Bailey. P. Office Bailey/Marsden Grocer appears on Jacques’ List of Station Street retailers circa 1920-1940.
Memories of the Post Office
Edith Searson, in her book(let) “I Also Remember“, describes how she applied to Mr Bailey for a job. She was told that she was too old! This was because she was a week over 16 and, apparently, for this job, she had to be under 16. She noted that she had finished school at 13 so had no special qualifications but she understood from Mr Bailey that age was the only issue. Also, she recalled that Mr Bailey was helped in the Post Office by his sister, Mrs Hepworth. She notes, “I regarded her with awe, as I seem to remember she had a gold tooth! I can’t be sure of this detail, remember please, I was only a child, 68 years ago.“
James Toon Bailey
I believe Jim Bailey’s full name was James Toon Bailey. He was born in 1887. Interestingly, according to the 1901 census, he was living with William Henry Wightman and was described as his step-son. His mother, Elizabeth, was William Henry’s second wife. His father, Elizabeth’s first husband, was also called James Toon. The younger James Toon Bailey had two sisters living with him in 1901 Alice (b1889) and Nellie (Helen) (b1893). Alice is the Mrs Hepworth referred to above as she married Harold S Hepworth in 1911. James Toon Bailey married Nellie Elizabeth Thorpe in 1906. In 1911, he and Nellie were living with her parents at the Musters Arms in Annesley, where her father John was landlord. James Toon Bailey applied for an exemption from military service to Kirkby Tribunal.
Memories of Baileys
Charles Reynard, in commenting on Kirkby Living Memory Facebook Group, recalled that Baileys had a pet shop, “As young lads my brother and l bred mice and hamsters. We sold the youngsters to a number of pet shops locally. One such shop was Baileys which stood next to the Trustees Savings Bank. Later the bank bought the pet shop and thus extended their modernised premises. The Bailey’s already had a second pet shop in Hucknall and continued their business from there. The loss of the pet shop meant we were no longer able to pinch a dog biscuit from the sacks outside the shop. Chewing a dog biscuit made the wait for either the number 61 or 84 bus decidedly more acceptable.”
I am not sure if this Baileys relates to James Toon Bailey. The description of the location seems more in keeping with the other side of Station Street where Lloyds Bank was (#37). Wightman’s were there and there is a family link between the Baileys and the Wightmans.
There does not seem to be a number 46 Station Street. Estate agents David Blount occupy number 44. They have been there since at least October 2008.
“Then” as “now”, there was no record of a number 46 and, at number 44, there was another butcher, Edwin Marriott, who was also noted by Mark Ashfield, as Ted Marriott, in “Christmas Pigs and a Summer Donkey” (p24). They had moved from number 56 sometime after 1928. In 1928, number 44 was occupied by John Blythe, a confectioner. Marriot Butcher appears on Jacques’ List of Station Street retailers circa 1920-1940.
Residents at 46 Station Street in 1939
There was a number 46 in 1939 as Joseph and Ebener Maud Moss were living there. Joseph was a railway locomotive driver and they also had another driver, James Roe, living with them.
Memories of Marriott’s
Edith Searson, in her book(let) “I Also Remember“, describe this as a Family Butcher’s business and says it was owned by Ernest Marriott. One thing she noted as unusual was that the entrance floor had the letter “M” built into it. She noted that this was similar to two shops in Lowmoor Road. In the 1980s, she commented that the letter was still there but it was getting broken up as the shop had been empty for some time.
Were the Blounts and Marriotts connected?
One thing I noted from the diaries was that Glenice Blount married Brian Marriott in 1961. However, I have not been able to make a clear link from them to either David Blount or Edwin Marriott.
When I visited Kirkby in August 2023, the florist Floral Expressions were still at 42 Station Street. But, there was a sale on and it seems they have since permanently closed. Their Facebook page is no longer accessible. They had been there since at least October 2008.
Pask Gent’s Hairdresser
I have not found any entry for 42 Station Street in either of the Kelly’s Directories for 1928 or 1941. However, Pask Gents Hairdresser appears at this location on Jacques’ List of Station Street retailers circa 1920-1940. But, I wonder if this location is correct as, in 1928, John Henry Pask was listed as a hairdresser at 54 Station Street.
D I Blow
“Now”, D I Blow, an opticians, are based at 40 Station Street. They have been there since at least October 2008.
George Bowmar and Sons
“Then“, George Bowmar and Sons were wheelwrights based at 40 Station Street. Bowmar Undertaker appear on Jacques’ List of Station Street retailers circa 1920-1940. B Smith is also mentioned in this place on this list and is referred to a s a joiner. I have not found more details of this.
Memories of Bowmars
Mark Ashfield notes in “Christmas Pigs and a Summer Donkey” (p24) that they were also undertakers. As far as I can see, Edith Searson does not mention them in her book(let) “I Also Remember“.
Mentioned in Grandad’s Diaries
The Bowmars were mentioned in grandad’s diary.
Sarah Parkin and Mrs Bowmar were friends
Sarah Parkin, my great grandmother and Mrs Bowmar were friends probably through chapel. In June 1914, Mrs Bowmar went with grandad’s mother to visit Mrs Martin a few days after her husband, William James Martin, was injured at Summit colliery. It seems that Mr Martin’s injuries were severe as, a few months later, in November, grandad noted that he was buried, see Chapter 5.
Grandad and Eric Bowmar Were Friends
Grandad was friendly with the Bowmars’ son Eric Champness. He was a year younger than grandad. He also attended Bourne Primitive Methodist Chapel. Indeed, in 1914/15, grandad noted that Eric gave the lesson on a couple of occasions and that on one occasion he helped Eric unscrew some piping at chapel.
Grandad Noted Family Deaths
Grandad noted when Eric’s mother, Annie, died in January 1957 and also when his brother, Charles Stuart, died in September that same year aged 61. In 1961, grandad noted that when his brother and sister-in-law, Cyril and Minnie, visited they went to see Frank and Kath Bowmar, who may have been Eric’s brother and sister. Grandad noted that Eric Bowmar himself died on 10 June 1966.
In 1939, Annie and Frank Bowmar, mother and son, were living at number 40. He was registered as a clerk employed by the local authority and he was also in the Air Raid Precautions (ARP) service. Interestingly, Eric and Lydia Bowmar were living at number 22 Station Street and we encounter them later in our “walk”.
In the more modern block, the first shop is another hair salon called Cult. It is number 36 Station Street which means that there may be no number 38. It has not been there long as, in March 2022, the building was empty and available for rent through David Blount. Before that, in August 2021, it was another salon, Never Forever Nottinghamshire, that advertised laser tattoo hair removal. This was not there long as, in September 2020, the premises were empty and there was a “To Let” sign on them. The premises appear to have been empty from at least March 2019. The pet grooming service Kutz for Muttz was there from at least June 2015 to August 2018, From at least October 2008 to April 2011, Mobility were based there. They provided stair lifts, scooters, wheelchairs and tri- and quad-walkers. They were also the base for Kirkby Cycle Centre.
In 1942, there were no businesses at the even numbers between 30 and 40 Station Street. In 1928, 38 Station Street housed the Kirkby Chronicle whose proprietor was Frederick Williamson.
The term Kirkby Chronicle may refer to the Mansfield, Sutton and Kirkby Chronicle which was established in 1895. In 1952, it merged with the Mansfield and North Notts Advertiser to form the Mansfield and North Nottinghamshire Chronicle-Advertiser which became known as CHAD, a name that was formally adopted in 1979.
Memories of This Part of Station Street
In her book(let) “I Also Remember“, Edith Searson returns to Station Street after a detour up Hodgkinson Road and notes, “we have another row of cottages. A few yards later a ‘hut’ shop was erected at the beginning of the row, and it was fitted up as a Fish and Chip shop, with Mr and Mrs Frazey conducting the business. It was a busy shop until the demolition of all the row of cottages, where now is D R Cresswell’s Store, opened in 1967“. I have not found mention of a fish and chip shop by this name elsewhere but Price Fish and Chips appears on Jacques’ List of Station Street retailers circa 1920-1940 at this location. I also don’t know anything about D R Cresswell’s Store although I wonder if the current building relates to that store.
In his book “Christmas Pigs and A Summer Donkey“, Mark Ashfield notes that there was a fish and chip shop here but does not name it. He notes, however, that the main part of the business was in a corrugated lean-to that was bigger than it seemed. Also, he notes that it was possible to eat in there. He also noted that there were then about six terraced, tiny houses with minute gardens at the back. He also noted that those houses, though small, often housed large families.
Residents of These Cottages/Houses
In 1939, Edwin and Mary Horne were living at number 38 Station Street, perhaps father and daughter. Edwin Horne was described as a retired farmer.
Annie Wallbank, a widow was living at number 36 and the Radfords, Leonard, Hettie and Donald were at number 34. Leonard was described as a colliery hewer and Donald as a brass moulder at a cycle factory.
At number 32, were the Greens, Wilfred, Adelaide, Leslie and Irene. Wilfred was described as a colliery banksman, Leslie as a cycle packer and Irene as a welter machinist.
The Chantrys, John and Elizabeth, were at number 30, the Bloys, Alfred and Eliza at number 28, the Hemstocks, William, Gladys, Margery and Doreen at number 26, and the Walls, Joseph and Mary at number 24.
John Chantry was described as a master blacksmith, Alfred Bloy as a retired colliery engine tenter, William Hemstock as a colliery banksman, Margery Hemstock as an interlock overlocker (or overlooker) and Joseph Wall as a general labourer.
“Now“, the Lucky Star Chinese Takeaway is located at 34 Station Street. They have been there since at least October 2008.
“Now“, the estate agents, Bairstow Eves, are based at 32 Station Street. They have also been there since at least October 2008.
Tom Scothern was based at 32 Station Street in 1928.
Through the Looking Glass
A tea room, Through the Looking Glass, is based at 30 Station Street. They have been there since at least September 2020. Before that, from at least May 2016, it was The Tea Room, which is now at 18-20 Station Street. In June 2015, both 28 and 30 Station Street were empty and available “To Let“, again through David Blount. Before that, from at least October 2008 to April 2011, furniture store, Bonkers, had occupied 28-30 Station Street.
“Then“, the hardware dealer John Chantry was based at 30 Station Street. Apparently, he was a master blacksmith. During the first world war, he received conditional exemptions from military service from Kirkby Tribunal because of the national importance of his work.
Mark Ashfield refers to him in “Christmas Pigs and a Summer Donkey” (p24). He was well-known in the town. He ran a ‘front room shop’ selling heavy ironmongery and miners’ tools. His forge was at the far end of Factory Road. Mark Ashfield describes him as stocky and rotund, epitomising the mighty smith in Longfellow’s poem. As a child, Mark Ashfield, was fascinated by the tools in the shop.
“Now“, Chic Boutique are based at 28 Station Street. This has been there since at least March 2016. Before that, from at least October 2008 to April 2011, furniture store, Bonkers, had occupied 28-30 Station Street.
Kirkby Dental Practice
Kirkby Dental Practice are located at 24-26 Station Street. They have not been there long. From at least June 2015 to March 2022, Rainydays Play Centre was here. Before that, from at least October 2008 to April 2011, it appears to have been the same or a similar business called Happy Days Play Den.
Leisure Centre on Hodgkinson Road
There is a new leisure centre and car park on Hodgkinson Road where the Market/Festival Hall used to be.
“Then”, the building that occupied the site was still known as Market Hall. It only became the Festival Hall in September 1950 at the time of the Festival of Britain.
The Market/Festival Hall in Family Diaries
The Market/Festival Hall features prominently in mum’s and grandad’s diaries.
In 1923, ahead of the December general election, grandad attended Labour and Liberal meetings at the Market Hall, see Chapter 25.
In 1939, he attended a concert and also that year, as part of carnival, he attended a Dunmo Flitch trial, which is an ancient folk custom in which couples compete to win a pig’s carcass or flitch, see Chapter 31 and here.
Performances of the Messiah
Mum noted attending performances of the Messiah at the Festival Hall each year between 1950 and 1952, see Chapter 51.
Dances at Christmas
On Christmas Day in 1952 and 1953, mum attended 12-4 dances at the Festival Hall, see Chapter 52. Mum also went to a number of other dances there in 1953 including for selecting and crowning the carnival queen in June and August respectively.
Festival of Britain 1951
There were a number of events at the Festival Hall for the 1951 carnival which was also called a festival that year. These included a religious service, a dance, an exhibition and a boxing match between Dick Johnson and Paddy McCall, see Chapter 52 and here.
Concert Cancelled Because of Power Cut
In November 1950, much of Kirkby experienced a power cut. While many church services continued by candlelight, a concert by the Kirkby Old Band at the Festival Hall was cancelled, see Chapter 54.
Joint Religious Services
Joint religious services were sometimes held at Festival Hall, e.g. for remembrance and a carol service in 1950 and for the coronation in May 1953, see Chapter 54.
National Children’s Home and Orphanage
In February 1958, mum noted attending a “do” at the Festival Hall for the National Children’s Home and Orphanage.
In June 1958, the BBC broadcast a concert from the Festival Hall in Kirkby. This included music by the BBC Midland Light Orchestra, the Ransome and Marles Works Band and the Eastwood Colliery Male Voice Choir, see Chapter 64.
On one occasion, the concert party from Bourne chapel that mum and dad were involved in, and which was called Rainbow Follies, performed for the National Union of Mineworkers at the Festival Hall.
Trinity Christmas Tableau
In December 1959, Trinity Methodist Church presented a Christmas tableau at the Festival Hall, see Chapter 69.
Co-op Players Pantomime
In January 1961, grandma, Renie Seville, Renie’s friend Vera and Florrie Booth went to a pantomime at the Festival Hall given by the Co-op players. Grandma attended a similar performance in January 1962, see Chapter 81.
Other Memories of Market Hall
In her book(let) “I Also Remember“, Edith Searson focused on the market which used to take place at the Market Hall on a Friday night. Mark Ashfield dedicated a chapter to the Market/Festival Hall in “Christmas Pigs and a Summer Donkey”. He called this “More than a Market“. He did describe the Friday night market but he also described boxing and wrestling matches, political meetings, musical performances, remembrance services and an Old Folks’ Christmas Treat.
Beyond Hodgkinson Road
Beyond Hodgkinson Road, there is another continuous terrace of shops reaching down to what looks like a new B&M store opposite Portland Street/Factory Road where we started.
On the corner of Hodgkinson Road and Station Street, at 22 Station Street, is 2020 Vision who appear to be a housing and property management company. However, the shop looked empty in August 2023 and was available “To Let“. They seem to have moved three times since they were based there in May 2023. They had been based there since at least August 2021. Prior to that, New Style Barbers were there, in September 2020. However, from at least April 2011 to March 2019, Money Makers were there who said they were raising funds for St Thomas’ Church and other charities. In October 2008, it housed John Ashton Promotions Ltd. But, in August 2009, it was empty and available with all enquiries through David Blount. In the 1980s, Bottles off licence was at number 22
Brown and Clarke Beer Retailers
“Then” at number 22 was Edward C Brown, a beer retailer and, in 1928, there had also been a beer retailer there by the name of William Clarke who, according to Mark Ashfield in his book “Christmas Pigs and a Summer Donkey” (p23), was known as Cricketer Clarke. Clarke Beeroff appears on Jacques’ List of Station Street retailers circa 1920-1940 for this location. Apparently, beeroff is a term used in Nottingham and other parts of the East Midlands to describe an off-licence, i.e. a shop that is licensed to sell alcohol for consumption off the premises. They were relatively widespread in the days before supermarkets and/or when they did not commonly sell alcohol.
The Tea Room
“Now”, The Tea Room is at 18-20 Station Street. They have been there since at least September 2020. Before that, they were based at 30 Station Street. From at least August 2018 to March 2019, 18-20 Station Street appear to have been empty. Work seems to have been done to combine two shops into one. Before that, from at least October 2008 to September 2017, based on visuals from Google Streetview, 20 Station Street was occupied by Norman Daynes Electrical and number 18 by wool shop Craft ‘E’ Corner. However, each gave their address as 18-20 Station Street so perhaps the businesses were linked. Apparently, Norman Daynes Electrical was dissolved in May 2016 having been incorporated in 1964. A Norman Daynes record shop was based here in the 1980s.
“Then” at number 20 was Edward Ronald Brewster Alcock, a Chartered Accountant. From number 18 to 20 were Edward Alcock and Sons, solicitors, John Hodson Alcock, a solicitor and Nottingham Building Society.
From my reading of the Kelly’s Directories, it seems that 18-20 Station Street were occupied by John Edward Alcock’s business in both 1928 and 1941 and this was as a solicitor and commissioner of oaths. In addition, in 1941, there was a John Hodson Alcock who was a solicitor and Edward Ronald (or Roland) Brewster Alcock who was a Chartered Accountant. In 1928, Henry Bradfield and Sons, accountants, shared the premises. Nottingham Building Society were there in both 1928 and 1941 but, in 1928, they were called Nottingham Permanent Benefit Building Society.
It seems that John Hodson Alcock (b1894) and Edward Roland B Alcock (b1910) were sons of John Edward and Margaret Alcock. By 1941, it seems that the sons were running the business as John Edward himself died in 1935.
There are then a row of houses before reaching a couple more shops before arriving at B&M. These are 8-16 Station Street.
There were more shops in this part of Station Street “then” although some of them operated from houses. Edith Searson, in her book(let) “I Also Remember“, notes “we pass a row of cottages, one of which has a small shop which is in their front room. This shop has had various owners over the years, selling mainly sweets“. I think this is referring to 16 Station Street. “Then“, Arthur Coleman, a shopkeeper, was there although, in 1928, this had been the base for Annie Sear, a confectioner. Coleman Sweets appears on Jacques’ List of Station Street retailers circa 1920-1940.
This shop has been discussed on Kirkby Living Memory Facebook Group. I am grateful to Helen Potter for pointing out that this was her family’s business and that it was known as The Little Red Shop. Ron Coleman was her father. Alison Carter, Alan Coleman’s daughter, also recalled the business. Laurine Stafford noted going there on a Sunday night with her sister and parents to buy sweets.
William Vernon White, a dental specialist, was at number 14, as noted by Mark Ashfield in “Christmas Pigs and a Summer Donkey” (p23). We came across him previously at 21 Station Street.
In 1928, he was listed as part of the firm of dentists, MacDougall and White.
“Then“, Westminster Bank Ltd was at numbers 10 and 12 but, in 1928, a slater, Edward Lowe, was at number 12. Later, the bank moved to 21 Station Street. According to Jacques’ List of Station Street retailers circa 1920-1940, Westminster Bank may, at some point, have been on the corner of Urban Road and Lindleys Lane.
Two More Shops
“Now“, there are two more shops before we are back at B&M.
Six Foo is a Chinese Takeaway at 6 Station Street. They are relatively recently there, since at least April 2023. Prior to that, another Chinese takeaway, Jade, were there from at least August 2009 to March 2022. In October 2008, the takeaway there was called Fortune House.
Of interest perhaps is that 8 Station Street housed MP offices from at least October 2008 to March 2019. Between 2008 and 2009, these were offices for Geoff Hoon MP and, from 2015 to 2019, for Gloria De Piero MP. In September 2020, the building was for sale. Geoff Hoon was Labour MP for Ashfield from 1992 to 2010 and Gloria De Piero was Ashfield’s Labour MP from 2010 to 2019. Since 2019, the seat has been held by Conservative Lee Anderson.
Scoffers Sandwich Bar
Scoffers Sandwich Bar occupies 4 Station Street and has done so since at least October 2008. .
“Then“, there was another butchers at number 2, Fred Wilson. According to Mark Ashfield in “Christmas Pigs and a Summer Donkey” (p23), Fred Wilson only had one arm. Mark Ashfield and his friends often went there to buy pork scratchings. Edith Searson, in her booklet “I Also Remember“, noted that the Wilson family had a house and shop from which they ran a family butchers’. She noted that the business continued until the death of the owner. Wilson Butcher appears on Jacques’ List of Station Street retailers circa 1920-1940.
Residents of This Part of Station Street in 1939
In 1939, there were a large number of people living in this part of Station Street.
The Wilsons were at number 2, Fred, Annie and Arthur. Fred was described as a Master Butcher and Arthur was described as a butcher – all round man.
Post War Credits
Next to Fred’s entry is written PWC 466/1102. It seems that this was a later entry made referring to a post war credit. These credits relate to higher rates of income tax paid during the second world war which were refundable after the end of the war.
At number 4 were the Rutters, Richard, Mary and Margaret. Richard was a colliery deputy and Margaret was a hosiery mender. Her married name was Harrison and, in 1939, James Harrison a colliery stores keeper was staying with them. They married in 1942.
Ernest. Elizabeth and Wilfred Simpson were at number 6. Ernest was a lighting fittings attendant while Wilfred worked with brass pressure gauges.
The Townsends were at number 8. Both father and son were called William R. The father was a colliery hewer while the son was still at school. Florence Townsend also lived there. In addition, a colliery labourer, Albert Ward was living there.
Walter and Annie Rabbitts lived at number 10. He was a labourer at the gas works. Their children, Arthur, Lorna and Doris lived there too. Arthur was a colliery ripper, Lorna worked as a cycle factory operative and Doris was still at school. A pensioner, Jack Carter was living with them. It appears that he may have been Annie’s older brother.
Edward and Rosa Lowe were at number 12. He was a retired tiler and slater.
William White, the dentist was living at number 14 with his wife, Fanny and children, Vera, Kenneth and Irvine. Kenneth was working as a dental mechanic and Irvine as a draughtsman electrical engineering.
At number 16, were the Colemans, Arthur and Elsie with their sons, Ronald, Alan and Gordon. Arthur was described as an unemployed miner but, by 1942, it seems he was running a shop. The three sons were all colliers. Ronald and Alan were haulage workers and Gordon was a surface worker.
Hilda Dowsing and Thomas Flint
At 18 and 20 respectively were widow Hilda Dowsing and widower Thomas Flint, a retired miner. They married shortly after this in 1940. Ronald Dowsing, a wood machinist, was living at number 18 while Roy, a bricklayer’s labourer, and Freda Dowsing were recorded at number 20. Also at number 20 was Thomas W Flint, a coal hewer.
Eric and Lydia Bowmar were living at number 22 and they had a housemaid Lily Lockton.
Differences Between “Then” and “Now“
We have now come to the end of our walk and perhaps we can now reflect on the main differences between “then” and “now”?
Activities “Then” Not Needed “Now“
Clearly there were some activities “then” which are not needed “now”, such as a corset maker or a wheelwright. Potentially, the stone masons fall into this category too as might the radio/wireless shop. While we might still buy a radio these days, we probably would not expect a separate shop for this.
Available “Now” But Not “Then“
Also there are some things which are available now which were not available then, such as vaping and electronic cigarettes.
Replaced by Supermarkets
Perhaps many, if not most, of the changes are because there were many shops or stores that were around “then” which have “now” been largely superseded by supermarkets and other similar retail stores. There is “now” a large Morrison’s not far away from Station Street. “Then“, there were six grocers or general stores, three boot makers or repairers, two tobacconists, two clothes shops, three drapers, three butchers, two confectioners, a tea supplier, two greengrocers, a newsagent and two bakers.
None of those remain although there are two convenience stores. There are three specialised clothes shops – two boutiques and one wedding shop. There is still one hardware store although previously there were two.
Businesses That Are More Widespread “Now“
There are also some types of shops and businesses which are more widespread “now”. While “then” there were two hairdressers, there are “now” eight including various kinds of beauty salons, e.g. for nails. There is also a tanning centre and a cosmetics shop. There are also “now” nine café/bars/tea shops, five takeaways, three charity shops and four estate agents. Also, there is a bookmaker, an amusement arcade and two shops which offer to buy and sell items. There is also a card shop “now” which there was not there “then”.
Some Services Were Available “Then” And Are still Available “Now“
Some of the services that were available “then” are available “now” including a dentist and an optician. Indeed, there are two dentists “now“.
Services Available “Now” That Were Not Available “Then“
Plus, there are some services which are available “now” which were not available “then”. These include a foot health clinic, a taxi company, a dry cleaner, a financial/mortgage adviser and a funeral director.
Services Available “Then” That Are Not Available “Now“
But, “then” services which are no longer available included a herbalist, an auctioneer and valuer, an accountant, a picture frame maker, two libraries and more than one firm of solicitors. Station Street no longer has any bank branches although there is a Building Society.
The number of empty shops is difficult to assess “then“. “Now“, there are at least six shops that are empty.
People Living in Station Street
Finally, I don’t have details of people living in Station Street “now” so it is not possible to make a comparison. But, it is possible to make a few observations.
“Then” A Lot of People Lived in Station Street
The first is that there were a relatively large number of people living in a commercial area.
Some Were Linked to the Shops They Ran
While some, like my grandparents, were clearly living in the shops they ran, many were not.
There Were Many Miners
There were perhaps unsurprisingly a large number of people working in mining. What I had not appreciated was the diversity of roles within mining – banksman, hewer, onsetter, ripper etc. and it has been interesting to learn a little about those terms and that world.
There Were Many Working in Manufacturing
I had also perhaps not appreciated the extent of manufacturing in Kirkby at that time and there were many people working in that sector “then” particularly in relation to hosiery.
Few Married Women Worked
Many of these were single women but another feature of note was that almost none of the married women were recorded as having an occupation beyond “unpaid domestic duties”. The only exception was some shop owners where a married woman was listed as the confectioner, draper etc.