Reflections on Life in 1918 Wakering

Photo:Wakering High Street looking East

Wakering High Street looking East

As told to Mr Gordon Wiseman by Mrs Nellie Groves

Click here for an enlargement of the photograph 

Mrs Groves was ten years old when the family came to live in the village of Great Wakering. With a baby in the family fresh milk was needed. There was only one delivery daily so the young girl had to go to Millers Farm to collect more milk. “The cows half scared me to death!” The story continues with an account of the village shops:

“Collin's shop provided the odds and ends of shopping but the main supply came from Rogers. From one counter you bought butter, cheese, lard and bacon all wrapped and weighed while you waited. Across the other side of the shop was another counter. In front of which were stacked tins with glass fronts containing biscuits. From this counter you bought dried fruit, tea, sugar and cake, kept in a glass cabinet, also rice from a tin. These purchases went into paper cones which the assistant made himself by rolling them up. He added up your bill and you paid at the desk.

“We were fairly regular customers of Golden Woods the shoe repairer.”

“We were fairly regular customers of Golden Woods the shoe repairer. The shop was small and dim but Mr Woods and his wife were always friendly, often asking us about school. Self's the butcher was another friendly shop I got on well with him and his wife.

“Mr Oliver never seemed to mind how long you took over your small purchases.”

“Across the road from school was Oliver's sweet shop but here I did more window shopping than sweet buying. I spent most of my pocket money on the school library but Mr Oliver never seemed to mind how long you took over your small purchases.

“Aylett's, on the corner of North Street, was a small shop that seemed to have stepped out of a Dickens book. There were big black and gold cannisters on the back shelf, these were marked 1, 2, 3 and 4, although what, if anything, they contained I never knew.

“Ford's or Reynold's at Christmas time was an Aladdin's Cave. There, amidst the decorations, were toys, games, dolls, books, handkerchiefs and all sorts of presents. During the rest of the year you could buy lino, small furnishings, cups and saucers and so on there. You could even pay your National Deposit Health Insurance there!”

This page was added by Sue Horncastle on 23/02/2012.
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