Readers continue to send in memories of the New Zealand area of Derby. Jane Goddard reports.
MENTION of long-gone corner shops always seems to spark many memories among our readers and this has certainly proved to be the case with Jill Brownsword’s recent recollections about the New Zealand area of Derby.
James Sharp is the latest to write in with his own memories. He clearly remembers most of the shops mentioned by Jill in her article and has included some more details about some of the businesses which used to be located in Langley Street.
Mr Sharp, who now lives in Allestree, said: “I was born in Langley Street, at number 12, which was the butcher’s shop mentioned by Jill, then run by Jack Hughes. Mr Hughes bought the shop from my father, Fred Sharp, who started the business in 1931-32.
“My father had served his training as a butcher at a butcher’s shop on Osmaston Road but, as was the practice in those days, he was sacked when he reached the age of 21 and asked for the senior wage. Unable to find work in butchery after he lost this job, he worked for a time on the railway, casting concrete posts, a job which he said he hated.
“So, my father decided to empty the front room of our house and set up a business himself. Imagine today the reaction of health and safety officials to someone doing such a thing!
“As mentioned in Jill’s article, the New Zealand Arms was on the corner of Langley Street and Peel Street. The licensee at the time that we lived in the area was Syd Palmer, a very popular man.
“Mr Palmer owned a convertible Rolls-Royce, which he kept in immaculate condition. On the dashboard was a brass plate which said, “Made in Derby”. That was around 1923.
“My parents often went for little outings in the car with Mr Palmer.
“When Mr Palmer died, he left the car to a friend who disposed of the car and, I believe, it was bought by someone who traded as a greengrocer. The person stripped the back of the vehicle down to the chassis and built a platform to carry and display his goods.
“Mr Palmer left my father a snake ring, which was a very fashionable piece of jewellery at the time.
“On the opposite corner to the pub was a greengrocer’s shop. This was run by Mrs Crofts, who was a widow.
“During busy times, her daughter, Verna, corr and son
Norman helped her in the shop.
“On Saturday nights, Mrs Crofts would pay myself and my friend 6d to clean up and sweep the yard at the back of the shop.
“We would go over the road to the fish and chip shop run by Mr and Mrs Eadle. This was at 8 Langley Street.
“This shop was started by my grandfather, James Hunt, and his wife. They sold the business to Mr and Mrs Eadle, who came from Southampton.
“My grandparents moved on to Ashbourne Road and became licensees of the Freehold Arms, long since gone.
“Number 4 Langley Street was a grocery and confectioner’s shop run by Mr and Mrs Day. I can clearly remember the two half-tubs of pickled onions and pickled cabbage.
“People would go to the shop with a dish and buy a ‘scoop’ of either. It was not weighed.
“I can also remember the off-licence at the corner of Langley Street and Radbourne Street but not the name of the owner.
“Towards the top of Langley Street was the church hall, an important place for jumble sales, wedding receptions and many other functions.”