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: Vera

Interviewee Gender: Female

Interview Transcript

Vera: With me dad being a grocer . . .

Ian: Yeah.

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 grocer’s 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 . . .

Ian: Yeah.

Vera: . . . cos obviously rationing went on after the War, didn’t they?

Ian: So what sort of things did they sell in the shop then? When you say everything . . .

Vera: All your groceries . . .

Ian: Yeah.

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: . . . you’d sell, you’d sell your bacon . . .

Ian: Yeah.

Vera: . . . and your cooked meats . . .

Ian: Yeah.

Vera: . . . your spam and your corned beef and your . . .

Ian: Yeah.

Vera: . . . your boiled ham, cheese, what you’d wear . . .

Ian: Yeah.

Vera: . . . we also sold a lot of sweets, sweets, cigarettes, lemonade, the milkman used to come twice a week, Hansen’s milkman.

Ian: Great. Do you remember any of the customers?

Vera: Yes.

Ian: Go on then, tell me about some of the customers, some of the characters. (laughs)

Vera: Well, it’s 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 wouldn’t know we did, but we . . . she’d come in and she, she was asking, she’d ask for whatever she was asking for, “Is it fresh even down to a bundle of wood?”! (all three laugh)

Michael: She’s 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 can’t 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. Hugh’s school, and St. Hugh’s had two classes up at the back of the cottages which is up, up Spekeland Road . . .

Ian: Yeah.

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 they’d pass the shop, by, you know, on the way there and back and they’d come in and buy sweets . . .

Ian: Yeah.

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, you’d always be sent to Mr. Mack or Jimmy Mack’s, which, me dad’s name was Jim.

Ian: Right. So, people referred to it as Jimmy Mack’s.

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)

Ian: Wow!

Vera: So his mum, it was his mother that had it, and when he’s about . . . I don’t know, would he be about 20, and someone asked – he’d been learning the trade and, and someone asked – he’d, he’d been given, you know, he’d 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, “Well, if they think you can manage there’s you can, I’ll take a back seat, here’s the shop”! (laughs)

Ian: Great.

Vera: So, so, he was there, like, from the age of 12 . . .

Ian: Yeah.

Vera: . . . til we moved in 1972, yeah, 73, I should say.

Tagged under: shops, shopping, railway cottages, spekeland road, earle road, second world war, webster road, earle road school, webster road school, bective street

Categorised under: Shops & Shopping

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By Alan Tedcastle on 12th November 2011

I lived in bective street and remember Jimmy Macks shop very well,I used call in for my sweets on way to webster road school in the 50s they had this long cuboard to store firewood sometimes I had to fight with big spider to get a bundle of firewood.Life was so different then the shops closed at night halfday on Wednesday and Sunday.

By michael graham on 5th December 2011

hi my name michael i remember the shop well my uncle frank used to by us sweets from there when he came up it is great to hear something from the past great

By Ken Main on 1st July 2012

I lived in Bective Street from birth until moving in 1972/3 and remember Vera quite well, along with her mum and dad. I used to occasionally stack the fire wood, along with bottles of disinfectant (aunt Sally?) in the long cupboard in the right hand corner. walkers caramels (4X 1 old penny) a favourite of mine. My father was a bus conductor and we lived at number 41. I remember Alan Tedcastle and a few other families in the street, (Mrs Tynan and the chickens in the back yard!!)
Tragically losing a friend ( Ken Boothroyd,  with his brother Stephen, sister Donna and their mum) as a result of a house fire, bringing a great sense of sadness to the area. I attended
Webster Road / Earle Road schools. Folllowing in the footsteps of my elder brothers/ sisters. I had a Saturday / evening job with Webster’s Butchers on the corner, can anyone remember the converted crosville bus and Malcolm and Stan. Probably plenty more memories, glad to have found this site albeit by accident.
Unfortunately I don’t have any photo’s of the street

By Diane Ralph on 19th July 2012

My mum and dad lived in Bective Street during the WW2 and thereafter until they moved in the late 50’s when i was born to Huyton, their name was Betty and Albert Worthington

By MATTY MELIA on 3rd November 2012

My God,

what a shock to come across this interview with Vera.

Such memories of Mr & Mrs Mac, Jim’s brother lived in Bannerman Street and was a mate of my Dad,Paddy.

Regular customer at the shop, potted beef/salmon/Spam etc and Jim would sell the bowls when they were emptied.

Always, “On the book, ‘til Friday”

I remember being sent on a “MESSAGE”; 2oz Corned Beef, 2 rashers of bacon,1 egg, 2 sausages and a 1/4lb tea.(Dad’s carrying out and Tea)

By mistake I asked for 1/4lb of Corned Beef(wrapped like a Christmas present in grease proof paper) and I thought; my Dad will never eat all that.  So I helped myself to a slice.

On returning home me Mum said; you’ve got too much take it back (can you imagine asking kids these days!)

Jimmy said tell ye Mam I’ve charged her for 2oz plus the slice you ate!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I remember Jimmy Mac’s mum still working in the shop thru the 50s/60s and am amazed and delighted Vera is still around.

My mate at the time Barry Askew lived on the opposite corner and I used to work with Arthur Tynan(big pigeon racer)in FORDs IN THE 60’s

Remember the tragic fire and I ended up working in the Fire Brigade for 30 years and knew the lads who were on that tragic fire.

No, they were definitely not the GOOD OLD DAYS, No money, no fridges, central heating, blood sucking money lenders, holes in the arse of your trousers, Kellog Cornflake Cardboard soles in my shoes, but the friends, neighbours and aquaintances and most people were brilliant to know and I had some great friends.

P.S. remember Mr Jinks(who was blind) corner of Casterton Street.

Whatever, fabulous memories

Matty (Melia)
Spofforth Road

By MATTY MELIA on 3rd November 2012

My God, what a shock to find this site.

I remember Vera very well and her Mam, Dad and Grandmother (Jimmy Mac’s Mum).

Regularly sent for “Messages” mostly on a “Note” and also “On the book ‘til Friday (pay day)”

I was sent on one occasion for;

2oz Corned Beef (Dad’s carry out) 2 rashers of bacon (Rhoded if memory serves me well) 1 egg, 2 sausages, small tin of beans.

Well, I asked for ¼lb of Corned beef and thought; my Dad well never eat all that.  So I slid my hand into the beautifully enveloped grease proof parcel and enjoyed a slice.

My Mum said I asked for 2oz not ¼lb, take it back (can you imagine asking kids today!!!)

Jimmy Mac; tell ye Mam; I’ve charged her for 2oz and the slice you ate!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Brilliant to hear Vera’s voice and amazed and delighted she’s still around.

Remember the bowls for Potted Beef/Salmon etc, Jimmy would sell them!!

Firewood/candles/Brushes/Aunt Sally (great for making bubbles) Carbolic Soap

My mate, Barry lived on the other corner of Bective Street.

I worked with Arthur Tynan (A great pigeon fancier) in FORDS in the late 60’s.

Remember the tragic fire and went on to serve in the Fire Brigade for 30 years.

Remember Mr Jinks’s shop, corner of Casterton Street. Amazingly he was blind.

No, they were definitely not the Good Old Days, we were quite poor, don’t know how my Mum stretched the money. No coal, let alone central heating/fridges/freezes etc, but great friends/neighbours etc and a great era to grow up.  Makes you really appreciate the things in life

I delivered papers around Spovvie, Bannerman/Bridge Road for Les Bisson, near to St Hugh’s Earle Road.

Matty Melia
Spofforth Road

By NEIL LEVICK on 8th March 2013

I remember Jimmy Macks very well.  We lived at 34 Bective Street.  I was born 1941 and lived there until 1958 when I left to join the army.  I remember going down to the corner shop frequently on errands for my mum, Ivy Levick. Great memories.

By david lowe on 7th August 2013

Went to Earle road school lived at number 63 be active street

By david lowe on 7th August 2013

I lived at number 63bective street went to Earle road school I am David Lowe

By david lowe on 7th August 2013

My mum and dad Mr Mrs Lowe lived at number60 be active street my sister was brenda

By david lowe on 7th August 2013

Does any body from bective street no the Lowe family we lived at number 60 we lived next door to the woods I used to go around with Alan tedcastle we used to do the windows in his white van. I went to Earle road school peter sharp lived two doors away do you remember David Jones my email is .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) I am David lowe

By david lowe on 7th August 2013

60 bective street mum dad me sister. and 69. Were I lived David lowe

By david lowe on 7th August 2013

My name is Dave Lowe of then 60 bective street pool 7 went to Earle road school my dad name was john mums name Edna Lowe sister Brenda Lowe now halpin married harry halpin does any body no use from the 60 years thanks

By Alan Tedcastle on 17th September 2013

Jimmy Macs shop the days before facebook and twitter it was a focal spot for the local gossip I Remember Jimmy,Amy,Vera and her Grandmother well.It was like an advice centre,first aid post and a vet I remember going to Jimmy with my cat it,s tail had been caught in a door it lost half tail Jimmy put some ointment and a bandage on.My cat Tish survived she just looked like Manx cat.I lived at number 26 Bective street just a field now.

By Elizabeth mcguinness on 6th August 2014

My nans sister Maureen was the lady who died in the house fire with her 3 children .so very very sad

By Jeanette Gustafson nee Russell on 23rd February 2016

I lived in Bective Street until 1970 /71 I mum was Linda and my dad Eddie Russell-I was born in ‘66- we used to live next door to an old man who used to come in and scoop up the cockies and throw them on the fire so my mum didnt have to do it-I remember playing out in the street and going the corner shop-I remember my mum buying green coloured soft toilet tissue for the first time from there and thinking it was lettuce !!!Cant remember any names tho I know my mum was friends with a single mum who had a couple of kids as they used to sleep over in our house and i think they lived acroos the road-wich could find a picture of the street for the family album.

By Ernie Alcock on 4th April 2016

Just come across this site by accident, and its brought back a lot of memories,I used to go to Mrs Macs I live in 38 Bective St, may be some will remember my family the ALCOCKS. I have noticed a few family names that were living in the street when I was there TYNONS, LEVICKS,WATKINS, SUTTONS,LITTLEWOODS,

It would be nice to hear from any of the families from the old street.

By David Main on 24th July 2016

I lived at 41 Bective ,friend of Alan Tedcastle and David Lowe and a few others in the street .

By Beryl Cunliffe on 11th August 2016

Hi my name is Beryl Cunliffe lived in 13 Bective St from 1948 to 1966 This brings back so many memories for me. Anyone who remembers me please get in touch with me. I can see some names on here that I remember so well

By Beryl Cunliffe on 17th August 2016

Hi Ernie I lived at 13 Bective St. Beryl Cunliffe’s the name my Mam an Dad were Lilly and Arthur. I went to Webster road School, then on to Earl Road school. I remember most of the names here especially Ken Main.I have enjoyed reading all about our street would love to see some photo if thats possible. I live in Napier New Zealand now

By Leslie Littlewood on 4th September 2017

Hi all, I have just come across this site by accident I lived at 36 Bective street from 1940 to 1953.  I still have a photograph of most of the kids that lived there taken in about 1950. But I can’t seem to add it to this site.

By Kenneth Main on 20th October 2017

Hi Leslie. Perhaps you could post picture on Facebook.Memories of Edge Hill site or something similar. Feel free to contact me on here or Facebook. Unfortunately don’t know how to post pictures on this site either, but a great site anyhow. Perhaps the admin team may be able to help. Haven’t seen any pictures of Bective Street at all on any sites other than those of Earle Road.
Best regards and good luck.

By Jenny Porter on 20th October 2017

Hi Leslie, you can contact Metal on .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) and we can look at uploading your photo to the site.

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