Vera describes her father’s grocer’s shop on Bective Street
Resource Type: Audio | Posted on 16th September 2011 by Liam Physick
Vera talks about Jimmy Mack’s, the family grocer’s shop on the corner of Bective Street. She remembers a female customer, nicknamed Red Hat (a name which amuses Vera’s boyfriend, Michael), and how children from the local schools would buy sweets from there on their way to the dinner centre. Her father began working in the shop at the age of 12, and remained there until the family left Bective Street in 1973
Interviewee Gender: Female
Vera: With me dad being a grocer . . .
Vera: . . . and we had the corner shop on the corner of Bective Street (indecipherable).
Ian: Right, so you had the, you had the grocer, the local grocerās shop?
Vera: Well, the local corner shop.
Ian: Local corner shop, yeah.
Vera: But, but as you say, we, we sold every, more or less everything, even during the War they had the, the, the ration books and I can remember them . . .
Vera: . . . cos obviously rationing went on after the War, didnāt they?
Ian: So what sort of things did they sell in the shop then? When you say everything . . .
Vera: All your groceries . . .
Vera: Yeah, all your groceries, sugars and butters and . . . what else?
Ian: Did they sell roast ham, cos I remember some corner shops used to a do, like a . . .
Vera: Yeah . . .
Ian: . . . delivery.
Vera: . . . youād sell, youād sell your bacon . . .
Vera: . . . and your cooked meats . . .
Vera: . . . your spam and your corned beef and your . . .
Vera: . . . your boiled ham, cheese, what youād wear . . .
Vera: . . . we also sold a lot of sweets, sweets, cigarettes, lemonade, the milkman used to come twice a week, Hansenās milkman.
Ian: Great. Do you remember any of the customers?
Ian: Go on then, tell me about some of the customers, some of the characters. (laughs)
Vera: Well, itās more or less when I started to serve, they used to have a little old lady come in, we always called her Red Hat!
Ian: Red Hat?
Vera: She always, she always wore, we did, she wouldnāt know we did, but we . . . sheād come in and she, she was asking, sheād ask for whatever she was asking for, āIs it fresh even down to a bundle of wood?ā! (all three laugh)
Michael: Sheās got great nicknames, has me handbag! Red Hat! I love that!
Vera: Well, she always wore a red hat.
Michael: The same hat?
Vera: I suppose it was, yeah, yeah.
Ian: Go on, must have been other characters.
Vera: Well . . . I suppose, I canāt think of any off hand, that was the main one, but I can tell you things about, like, we, we had the three schools, there was, there was Earle Road school, Webster Road school. St. Hughās school, and St. Hughās had two classes up at the back of the cottages which is up, up Spekeland Road . . .
Vera: . . . there, and they used to take the children up and down from there to the dinner centre which was on Piggy Mug Square, course theyād pass the shop, by, you know, on the way there and back and theyād come in and buy sweets . . .
Vera: . . . we used to sell the penny, you know, four . . .
Ian: Penny bag, yeah.
Vera: . . . well, four caramels for, four Walkers for a penny, and . . . well, chewing gums and things like that, you know, biscuits like, like penguins, them sort of things.
Ian: And what was the shop called?
Vera: Well, we always, oh, it was always called, youād always be sent to Mr. Mack or Jimmy Mackās, which, me dadās name was Jim.
Ian: Right. So, people referred to it as Jimmy Mackās.
Vera: Probably, well, our regulars would, yeah.
Ian: Great. And how long did you have the shop?
Vera: Well, me dad, when, he moved in there when he was 12! (laughs)
Vera: So his mum, it was his mother that had it, and when heās about . . . I donāt know, would he be about 20, and someone asked ā heād been learning the trade and, and someone asked ā heād, heād been given, you know, heād got the sack or something, there was a reason, but, one of our, their travellers at the time had, not only had come round to sell to you, they, they had their own shops, and they offered him a job to, to manage, so his mother said, āWell, if they think you can manage thereās you can, Iāll take a back seat, hereās the shopā! (laughs)
Vera: So, so, he was there, like, from the age of 12 . . .
Vera: . . . til we moved in 1972, yeah, 73, I should say.
Categorised under: Shops & Shopping