Graham Middleton recounts the neighbourhood shops and family delicacies
Resource Type: Audio | Posted on 7th October 2014 by Jenny Porter
The local shops underwent a number of transformations while Graham lived in the area. Starting with the dairy, the wholesale, and later supermarket, more and more goods became obtainable. Yet, for Graham’s grandmother tripe, was a staple of her cooking. Graham vividly recalls his endeavour to collect it, as well as the nightly adventure of visiting the toilet.
Interviewee: Graham Middleton
Interviewee Gender: Male
Date of Interview: 14th August 2014
Graham: There was a dairy, I think their name might have been Hudson, a local dairy. Now they didn’t have cows or anything, but I remember he was like a wholesale, or he just bought it and bunked and sold it somewhere around the shops. But then, that shop changed hands and I don’t think it went for long after that, because then the whole place was condemned. There was a supermarket on the other corner of Chatsworth Street and Wavertree Road, I think it was called Stocks, that was one of the first, sort of supermarkets in the area. There was a fish shop and Nan would send us for tripe, and it was wrapped in newspaper. When we got it from there was a fish shop and butcher’s up on Wavertree Road and she would get us all honeycomb tripe. And I remember, it was always, no matter how hot the weather, it was always cold. ‘Cause it’s been kept in water and wrapped in news-, well by the time we got home it were all wet. And she used to run it under the cold tab – we had a cold tab and a geyser for hot water – and cut it up, a piece of it, on a plate with a bit of vinegar. We’d be eating it raw, you know.
Jenny: Was that nice?
Graham: Well, it was nice, because we ate it with vinegar, you know, and it was mainly the vinegar you tasted. Now, when I was working in Ireland, I was staying in a hotel in Limerick, and they sold, they had as a starter: Tripe and Onions. And they said it was an old Limerick favourite. And I thought, I’ll just try that. You know, years and years later. I couldn’t.
Jenny: Missing the vinegar [laughs].
Graham: Well it was cold. It was nice and cool. I suppose it was, in a way, not like ice cream, but nice and refreshing like that.
And the yard, the toilet was outside, of course. And we were 25 and if you had to get to the toilet at night it was either, you spent a penny on a bucket, and you would use that and it was taken down in the morning. And she used to have a little paraffin light and you could get the paraffin from the shop I worked in. In those days, Esso Blue or Pink Paraffin Aladdin, and they would sell it to you in bottles. So, you could go there with a Lucozade or Corona bottle and get a bottle of paraffin. And now, if anybody tried to sell that, they’d be done for it, you know. So, the bedroom, always had a slight smell of paraffin because she, after my granddad died, she wouldn’t sleep in the dark. And this little paraffin light on the mantelpiece was glowing. And if you wanted to get to the loo, you had to carry that downstairs, again a high hazard, and down and out to the bottom of the yard where the back door was and there was an alley at the back. And it was frightening, I mean as children you’d sit there in the dark and every noise you hear, scared stiff, from probably nothing. It was just pitch-black.
Categorised under: Shops & Shopping, Social Life