An Imaginary Walk Up and Down Station Street in Kirkby

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”. Here I take an imaginary walk up and down Station Street both “then” (circa world war 2) and “now” (2021). I do this 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 (see box below) and the wonders of Google. I suspect the 1942 list of shops was 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.

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). There are more photos in the book “Kirkby-in-Ashfield: Yesterday Remembered” (p18) by Gerald Lee. There is a photograph of the Station Street level crossing in the book “Kirkby-in-Ashfield: An Interesting Township” by Bill Clay-Dove (p39) and this is identified as a favourite place for trainspotters in Jonathan Evans’ book “The Mystery of Ernie Taylor’s Abdomen” (p79).. 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)
Details of shops and businesses in Station Street in 1928 and 1941 from Kelly’s Directories

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.

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. I also referred to the 1939 Register as this contains information about people living in Station Street at that time.

Station Street from a 1939 map of Kirkby

I start at the corner of Station Street and what is “now” Portland Street but, according to maps I have from 1939 and 1969, was “then” called Factory Road. This appears to be close to where Urban Road ends and Station Street starts. Looking up Portland Street/Factory Road “then”, East Kirkby station would have been to the left but this “now” appears to be residential accommodation. “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. Presumably, Station Street takes its name from Kirkby East station.

Map of Kirkby from 1969 Kirkby-in-Ashfield Directory showing location of the town’s three stations. The location of the current station is shown with a red star.

Turning and walking along Station Street, “then” there would have been a hosiery factory, William Walker and Sons, but “now” this is where Kirkby Motor Services offers MOTs, services, tyres and repairs. 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. 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,

Article from the Notts Free Press in February 1966 – Image Source: Kirkby Living Memory. The article documents the demolition of the Walkers’ hosiery factory which is pictured. 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). 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”.
Advert for Kirkby Car Sales in 1969 Kirkby Directory

There follows a run of terraced houses with shop fronts that go from number 1 to number 19. 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. It is “nowPAWS Charity Support Shop that seems to support a number of animal related-charities. Next, at number 3 was Thomas Redvers Hargreaves a boot repairer. I am particularly interested in him given that my grandfather also sold and repaired boots just along the street from here. In 1939, Thomas 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. “Now”, number 3 is Imageworks Hair and Beauty that was established in 2003.

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. 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.

Advert for Maltby and Griffiths in the 1950 official guide
Advert for Maltby and Griffiths in the 1953 carnival programme
Advert for Maltby and Griffiths in the 1969 directory
View looking down Station Street from the corner with Hodkinson Road circa 1960s – Image Source: Kirkby Living Memory. The first shop visible is Maltby and Griffiths at number 5.

Since 2020, number 5 has been a World Food Store which appears to offer a range of international foods including from South Africa. Above the shop window are 18 flags almost as in a pub quiz round. At some point, number 5 appears to have been home for a mobile phone repair company called Ifix4you. Proceeding past the World Food Store, there are three hairdressers/salons, the first, at number 7 is the hairdressers, Millionwaves and this is followed by Kirkby Ashfield Nails and Beauty at number 9 and Andrew’s barber shop at number 11. “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. Could it be that one business was run by the husband and the other by the wife? In 1939, Harry and Maud Fox were living at number 7 so this is definitely possible. Interestingly, they are both described as hairdressers. In 1928, both these businesses were in existence but Harry Dyson Fox also had a confectioners at number 5 where Fred Maltby, the photographer, was later based. In the photo from circa 1960s 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 can’t quite make out what was at number 11 but there seems to be a red barber’s pole outside. In 1942, number 11 was the shop of a draper Arthur Smith.

This photo, from Kirkby Living Memory, shows shops on Station Street from around number 5 to 19. It was posted on the Kirkby Living Memory site by Andy Hoy in August 2020 with the following comment, “the Tailors between the Co-op & Jack Walton’s is now my Barber Shop, I’ve been there since ‘96. I’m pleased to say it still has the same window frame & door, solid oak. Anyone know the year of this photo?” In response to the question, it was suggested that it might be mid-sixties but could it be earlier? At this point, number 9 appears to be Co-operative Television and Electrical, number 11 is Tailoring Menswear Department (of the Co-op?) and number 13 is Jack Walton. Others are difficult to make out. However, the same photo appears in “Kirkby & District in Old Photographs” (p71) by Frank Ashley, Sylvia Sinfield and Gerald Lee. They identify the other businesses as FC Davison Ltd (optician) and Standard Gramophone Company.

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. “Then”, number 13 was John Kelsey’s, a butchers and, in 1928, it had been John William Gill, a pork butcher. Later, it seems this was occupied by another butcher Jack Walton (see photo above) and this is confirmed by the 1969 Kirkby Directory as their advert there gives their address as 13 Station Street.

Advert for Jack Walton Ltd in the 1969 Kirkby Directory

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. 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. In a comment on the photo from the 1960s, someone has said “not a takeaway in sight” but number 13 appears to be Andy’s Fish and Chips, perhaps the original kind of takeaway? I can’t make out what was at number 15 in that photo. 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” seems to be vacant. “Then” it housed Dorothy Littlewood, an Ophthalmic Optician. 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. In terms of number 17, there also seems to have been an ophthalmic optician there in the sixties. It seems to have been an optician (Woolcotts) until fairly recently but that is “now” closed. In the eighties, there was an optician there called Adams. 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. The final shop in this run of terraced shops, number 19, was “then” the Standard Gramophone and Co who were said to be “wireless” dealers. It appears they were still there in the 1960s as shown in the photo above. Mark Ashfield describes this shop in “Christmas Pigs and a Summer Donkey” (p20). However, he describes it as on the corner of Ellis Street and notes that it later moved further along Station Street. He noted that it sold things other than gramophones and that he bought his first bike there. In 1939, Kate Sharman, a teacher, was living there. In 1928, William Booth Harris-Barke, a furniture dealer, was based there. By 1969, the shop was home to the stationers, Baxter and Platts. “Now”, it is a convenience store Kirkby Food and Wine.

Advert for Standard Gramophone Company in the official guide 1950
Advert for Baxter and Platts in the 1969 Kirkby Directory

Next, is a detached building that “now” holds Domino’s pizza and is said to be 21 and 21A Station Street. At some point, this was home to National Westminster Bank and this may have been the case in the sixties as one of the photos from that period seems to show the bank in that location. 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. But, 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. No-one was registered as living at number 21in 1939.

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. “Then”, number 23 was occupied by Hutchinson and Sons, stone and marble masons. 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.

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. At number 27 was John T Challans, an ironmonger. Given the name, it appears that Challans might be the first and only shop encountered that was the same brand/ownership “then” as “now”. Mark Ashfield describes this shop as a treasure trove in “Christmas Pigs and a Summer Donkey” (p19). Next door, at 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). In 1928, Wallace’s Ltd, a grocers, was at number 29 with Arthur Titterton as manager. 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).

In 1939, Albert, Thomas and Annie Hutchinson were all living at number 23. Albert and Thomas were stone masons while Annie was a school teacher. George and Mary Lowe were at number 25. He was a colliery hewer. John T Challans was living at number 27 as was his wife Margaret and their son John who was a tool draughtsman on aircraft. He was also working as an auxiliary fireman. 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).

Challans on Station Street – Image Source: Kirkby Living Memory
Challans advert in 1969 Directory

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. 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” (p22) but he spells the surname Kirkby and says both father and son were called Herbert.

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. “Now”, the building looks empty although it seems this did house Ashfield Dry Cleaners although they appear to have moved over the road to number 52. Crossing Ellis Street, we come “now” to Lloyds Bank at 37 Station Street. “Then”, Leonard Morris was there, a picture frame maker although the current building has a modern look to it. In 1928, W H Wightman had a jewellers here. 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. 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 were a motorcycle agent at number 41.

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, although there may have been a jewellers there at some point. The next one is Gentz Cut, another barbers, at 45 Station Street. After the barbers is another charity shop, for Headway who are working to improve life after brain injury. “Then”, the shops in that row were Thomas Smith, a tobacconist, Mrs Edith Smith, a newsagent and Edgar Coates, an outfitters. In 1928, Thomas Smith was there but the newsagent was Fred Wood and Miss C E B Lane was a milliner at number 47. In 1969, Purdy’s were selling greetings cards at number 45. In both 1953 and 1969, Edgar Coates had a shop at number 47 and a showroom over the road at number 64. 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. At number 45 were John C, Edith and John G Smith. 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.

Advert for Purdy’s in 1969 directory 
Advert for Edgar Coates in 1950 official guide 
Advert for Edgar Coates in 1953 carnival programme
Advert for Edgar Coates in 1969 directory. All through the period from 1950 to 1969, it appears that Edgar Coates were based in Station Street. However, in his book “The Mystery of Ernie Taylor’s Abdomen” (p73), Jonathan Evans refers to Edgar Coats’ shop on Kingsway noting that it was decked out in red and white when Nottingham Forest reached the 1959 FA Cup Final.

Now”, there follows what looks like a modern building housing three shops. The first is Kim Nails and their address is 49 Station Street. Next door is a card and gift shop called Best Wishes. Their address is variously given as 51 or 51B Station Street. In the 1980s, it appears that Motoring World occupied 49-51 Station Street. The building next door appears to be empty and it was available to let although there is still a sign for Body Grooves School of Dancing. It appears that Farmfoods may have been based there at some point. 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. “Then”, Mary J Newcombe had a drapers shop from 49-51 Station Street and they were the last odd numbers recorded. 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). 

This photo appears to come from a postcard and was kindly given to me by Helen Jay. Helen noted that it shows Newcombe’s, Station Street a long time ago. If I have got my bearings correct, the featured shop, Wightman’s was on the corner of Ellis Street and Newcombe’s is in the distance on the left with Four Lane Ends and the roof of the Diamond Avenue Wesleyan Chapel visible beyond that. A very similar photograph appears in David Ottewell’s book “Kirkby-in-Ashfield and Annesley on Old Picture Postcards” (#32)
Newcombe’s advert from the 1950 official guide
Newcombe’s advert in the 1953 Carnival programme
Newcombe’s bra advert in the 1969 Kirkby Directory
This photo shows Newcombe’s on the right looking in the other direction along Station Street. It was kindly given to me by Helen Jay. It is from the 1960s following a major refurbishment which was masterminded by Tom Wright, Helen Jay’s father. She notes that the canopy was popular as people waiting for the bus could shelter under it.

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 served as a Bombardier in the Royal Field Artillery during World War I (for more details, 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.

War memorial Kirkby in Ashfield that was originally in Bourne chapel and was moved to Trinity after Bourne closed © WMR-53475 and licensed for reuse under a Creative Commons BY-NC licence. A rededication service was held for it in September 2014. It was stored in the heritage centre for some years and is now on display on the back wall of Trinity Methodist Church facing the car park. There is another photo of this memorial in Chapter 8 of these notes.

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.

Helles memorial, Turkey © Commonwealth War Graves Commission and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence

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.

Receipt from Frank Newcombe for fitting stairs in the Station Street shop in 1933

We have reached the Nag’s Head which features both “now” and “then”. In 1942, the landlord was Jacob Hibbert and he was also there in 1939. 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. 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.

1969 advert for the Free Press featuring the three-sided clock

We are at Four Lane Ends which grandad referred to as Four Roads End. “Then”, this was where Station Street joined Diamond Avenue with Lowmoor Road (see box) to the left and Kingsway to the right. 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. 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!  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. 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.

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.
Postcard of Four Lane Ends from circa 1925
The outside of Bourne chapel in 1959
The inside of Bourne chapel showing the organ
Sunday School Anniversary 1959 showing the inside of Bourne chapel including organ

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. 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). 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, 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”.

Trinity Methodist church in June 1959
Postcard showing view of Diamond Avenue from Four Lane Ends with Wesleyan chapel on left. The writer says that the “x” marks where they are going to school. There is a similar photo in the book “Kirkby & District: A Second Selection” by Frank Ashley, Sylvia Sinfield and Gerald Lee (p100).

Our return journey starts at the corner of Station Street and Kingsway. Apparently, Kingsway was named after a visit to Kirkby made by King Edward VII and, prior to that, had been called Cemetery Road. The building on the corner is 88-90 Station Street and this is “now” vacant. Beyond that, there is a long terraced row of shops that is continuous until reaching Morley Street. It appears that a company called Byard Enterprises was based in the corner premises from 2016 but they have been liquidated. In 1942, Barclays Bank were listed as located at number 90, although there was no entry for 88. There is a photograph of a postcard of this in David Ottewell’s book “Kirkby-in-Ashfield and Annesley on Old Picture Postcards” (#14). It is also mentioned by Mark Ashfield in “Christmas Pigs and a Summer Donkey” (p26). 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).

Next to this “now” is the Dog House which describes itself as a pub and which occupies 84-86 Station Street. “Then”, number 84 was occupied by a general stores run by Frank Wakefield while number 86 hosted Home and Colonial Stores Ltd, a provision merchants. In 1928, number 84 was occupied by a baker, John Robert Parker. “Now”, Your Move are at number 82 and Kirkby Sales and Exchange at number 80. Of interest perhaps, is that there seems to be an inscription of the date 1886 on the front wall of number 80. There were no listings for either of these properties in 1942 but, in 1928, James Tuttle was a greengrocer at number 80 and Herbert Thompson Smith was a haberdasher at number 82. In the 1980s, the camping and leisure store, Leisurefield was at number 82. “Now”, Kirkby Sales and Exchange may be occupying numbers 78-80 and, 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. 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 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. 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. 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.

Advert for Wakefield Stores in the 1969 Kirkby directory

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. No-one was registered as living at number 78 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 but he was recorded as an assurance representative which is harder to explain! Reginald also appears to have been a Nottingham Territorial Army Rifleman.

The buildings that follow were where my grandad’s shoe shop was. According to the details from 1942, Charles G Parkin was a bootmaker and was occupying 72-76 Station Street. Next door, at number 70, was a ladies’ hairdressers run by Mrs Edith Green. Sometime after this, there was another hairdressers at number 70, Madam May. 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 circa 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 circa 1939 and the hammock mum had up in the yard in around 1948.

Advert for Madame May from 1950 official guide
Grandad’s shop decorated for carnival circa 1939 – see also Chapter 13
Armstrong’s delivering a piano through a first floor window in 1937 – see also Chapter 20
Mum in front of the aviary grandad built in the back yard circa 1939 – see also Chapter 19

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. Living at 70-72 were Harold Green and his wife Edith, both hairdressers, 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 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 had Down syndrome and, in July 1941, Beryl 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).

Mum and Beryl playing together – also in picture below
Press article concerning Beryl’s death

Now”, the bridal shop, Create Your Day occupies 74-76 and the café Coffee N Cream occupies 70-72.  In the eighties, it appears that Simpsons Ladies and Childrens Fashions was here. Following Coffee N Cream, the shops and businesses that “now” occupy the remaining premises to Morley Street are the foot health clinic Your Feet First, the hairdressers Tiga Hair Spa, My Dentist, who occupy 62-64, and the private hire taxi company 6 Five 2s, who are also at number 62. “Then”, number 68 was occupied by Mrs Collingwood, a corset maker and draper and number 66 was occupied by William H Ceney and Portland Bakery. In 1928, number 66 was occupied by Levi Smith, a pork butcher, and 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, number 66 by The Orchard, a greengrocer and florist and number 62 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. In 1942, George Unwin, a herbalist, was listed at number 62 and Edgar Coates, a confectioner at 62a. In 1928, Edward Holland, an electrical engineer, was based at number 62a. George Unwin is noted by Mark Ashfield in “Christmas Pigs and a Summer Donkey” (pp25-26) and there are photographs of his shop in the book “Kirkby & District from Old Photographs” by Frank Ashley, Sylvia Sinfield and Gerald Lee (p67). 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 1939, the Unwins, George, Eva and John, were living at number 62. 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 the showroom at number 64. But, in 1942, this shop was listed as a confectioner and the number was given as 62a. Mr and Mrs Collingwood are listed among those who sent flowers at the time of Beryl Green’s funeral.

Photograph of Station Street looking down towards Urban Road (circa late sixties?) from Kirkby Living Memory. The first shop visible, Madam May is, I think number 70. Edgar Coates’ showroom is visible at number 64. Possibly the shop between them is called Hemstocks.

From Morley Street to Tennyson Street, there is another continuous terrace of shops opposite the entrance to Ellis Street and where Lloyds Bank is currently. “Now”, on the corner of Morley Street and Station Street, at number 60 Station Street is Leisure Time arcade. Upstairs and stretching across to number 58 is the Tanning Centre. Next to the arcade is the Big Belly Deli at number 58 and next to that is Kirkby Gold Centre. 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. At number 52, are Ashfield Dry Cleaners who moved from across the road and, on the corner is A Wass, the funeral director at number 50. In the 1980s, Krackers discount store was at number 58, the accountant R C Ravensdale was at number 54, Shirl’s fruit shop was at number 52 and P E Bray’s china shop was at number 50 having previously been on Lowmoor Road. According to the picture on the previous page, at some time, number 60 appears to have been Mace. “Then”, occupying numbers 58 and 60 was Edward Wilbourn Ltd, a grocers and they were still there in the 1980s.

Advert for E Wilbourn from the 1950 official guide
Advert for E Wilbourn inside front cover of 1953 carnival programme 
Advert for E Wilbourn in 1969 directory. 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. 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. There are also photographs of their 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”. 

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. Next to him was Modern Way Libraries and, next to them, Clement Chilton, a fruiter and greengrocer. In 1928, number 54 was occupied by John Henry Pask, a hairdresser, and number 52 by Edward Parry, a jeweller. 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. On the corner, at number 50, was Fred Hutton, another grocer. 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. In 1939, three families were registered as living in these premises. 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 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.

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. “Now”, in the terraced row are Mansfield Building Society (number 48), David Blount (number 44), an estate agent, Floral Expressions, a florist and D I Blow, an opticians. “Then”, there was another grocer at number 48, J D Marsden Ltd, which may have been the post office that Mark Ashfield describes in “Christmas Pigs and a Summer Donkey” (p25). As “now”, there was no record of a number 46 and, at number 44, there was another butcher, Edwin Marriott, who were also noted by Mark Ashfield (p24). They had moved from number 56 sometime after 1928. In 1928, number 44 was occupied by John Blythe, a confectioner.

There was nothing noted for number 42 but George Bowmar and Sons were wheelwrights based at number 40. Mark Ashfield notes in “Christmas Pigs and a Summer Donkey” (p24) that they were also undertakers. The Bowmars were mentioned in grandad’s diary. In June 1914, Mrs Bowmar went with grandad’s mother to visit Mrs Martin a few days after her husband, George Henry Martin, was injured at Summit colliery. It seems that Mr Martin’s injuries were severe as, two weeks later, grandad noted that he was buried (see Chapter 5). Grandad was friendly with the Bowmars’ son Eric Champness who was a year younger than grandad and who 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 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”. There was a number 46 “then” 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.

Advert for Bowmars’ undertaking business at 40 Station Street from the 1950 official guide

It is unsurprising that there were many miners living in the areas as around Kirkby, there were a number of coal mines (see Chapter 5). The main one located in the town itself 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. 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. 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. 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).

On the left is grandad’s brother-in-law John Smith who was working as a below-ground onsetter at Summit colliery in 1911.

In the more modern block, the first shop appears to be vacant. The next shop is the Lucky Star Chinese Takeaway and this is number 34. Assuming that the vacant property is number 36, this means that there may be no number 38. Perhaps, this did exist previously although, in 1942, there are no even numbers between 30 and 40. However, there were in 1928 with number 32 occupied by Tom Scothern, a coal carter and number 38 by the Kirkby Chronicle (see box) 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.

Making up the rest of the modern block “now” are the estate agents, Bairstow Eves, the tea room, Through the Looking Glass, another hairdressers, Chic Boutique and, at numbers 24-36, Rainydays Play Centre. “Then”, the only entry for these numbers was for number 30, a hardware dealer called John Chantrey, or Chantry as recorded by Mark Ashfield in “Christmas Pigs and a Summer Donkey” (p24). 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.

Looking down Hodgkinson Road “now”, we can see the Festival Hall Leisure Centre and, if we go there, we see that Ashfield District Council are building a new leisure centre on the site. “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 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). Mum noted attending performances of the Messiah at the Festival Hall each year between 1950 and 1952 (see Chapter 51). On Christmas Day in 1952 and 1953, mum attended 12-4 dances at the Festival Hall. 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. 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) 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 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). 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. In December 1959, Trinity Methodist Church presented a Christmas tableau at the Festival Hall (see Chapter 69). In February 1960, the Ministers’ Fraternal organised a concert by the Nottingham Salvation Army Band at the Festival Hall in aid of Sue Ryder’s fund for displaced persons (see Chapter 79). 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).

Kirkby Festival Hall in 1963: This photo is from a postcard by Kirkby and District Conservation Society which was kindly provided by Trevor Lee

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 Street where we started. “Now”, on the corner of Hodgkinson Road and Station Street is Newstyle Barbers, although the property looks empty and there is a “To Let” sign outside. It may be that they have taken up residence relatively recently as some StreetView shots still show Money Makers. Then there is The Tea Room at 18-20 Station Street. In the 1980s, Bottles off licence was at number 22 and Norman Daynes record shop was at 18-20. There follow a number of houses (numbers 8-16) before reaching the Jade takeaway and Scoffers Sandwich Bar. “Then”, there were more shops and businesses noted for these numbers. 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“, was known as Cricketer Clarke. 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 (see box).

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.

Arthur Coleman, a shopkeeper, was at number 16 although, in 1928, this had been the base for Annie Sear, a confectioner. William Vernon White, a dentist, was at number 14, as noted by Mark Ashfield in “Christmas Pigs and a Summer Donkey” (p23). In 1928, he was listed as part of the firm of dentists, MacDougall and White. Westminster Bank Ltd (see box) was at numbers 10 and 12 but, in 1928, a slater, Edward Lowe, was at number 12. 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. He and his friends often went there to buy pork scratchings.

Westminster Bank was established in 1834 and operated until 1970 when it merged into the National Westminster Bank.

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. 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. 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 Lily Bowmar were living at number 22 and they had a housemaid Lily Lockton.

Also, the list of shops on Station Street in 1942 indicates that Drs Waller and Durance had a surgery on Station Street but without saying where it was. I have not been able to find any more about this. There is a photograph in “Kirkby & District from Old Photographs” by Frank Ashley, Sylvia Sinfield and Gerald Lee 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.

So what are the main differences between “then” and “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. Also there are some things which are available now which were not available then, such as vaping and electronic cigarettes. At one time, there was a mobile phone repair shop but this has since closed. 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. For example, 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 is now one convenience store. There are two specialised clothes shop – one boutique and one wedding shop. There is also a specialised food store focused on world foods. There is still one hardware store although previously there were two. There are also some types of shops and businesses which are more widespread “now”. While “then” there were two hairdressers, there are “now” ten including various kinds of beauty salons, e.g. for nails. There is also a tanning centre. There are also “now” six café/bars/tea shops, four takeaways, three charity shops and four estate agents. There is also a bookmaker and an amusement arcade and two shops which offer to buy and sell items. There is also a florists “now” which there was not there “then”. Some of the services that were available “then” are available “now” including a dentist and an optician. Plus, there are some which are available “now” which were not available “then”. These include a foot health clinic, a taxi company, a dry cleaners, a funeral directors and a play centre. 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.

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. The first is that there were a relatively large number of people living in a commercial area. While some, like my grandparents, were clearly living in the shops they ran, many were not. 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. 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. 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.