John Marston recalls the shops on Wavertree Road

Resource Type: Audio | Posted on 17th February 2012 by Liam Physick

John Marston talks about the many shops on Wavertree Road, such as Woolworth’s, Waterworths and Freemans. He remembers the cheques Freemans issued for those too poor to pay for its products, its plastic coins and the chute in which it put its money

Interview Transcript

John: It was a very populated area, I mean, over there, this bit here, I mean, we used to play, there’s a park over here, Botanic Park . . .

Brenda: Oh, yeah.

John: . . . we used to play in a lot, you know, and I remember when I was a kid, Wavertree Road was just full of shops, you know . . .

Jean: Oh, it was a busy shopping area.

John: . . . two, two, two department stores . . .

Jean: Yeah, Woolworth’s.

John: Woolworth’s were there . . .

Jean: Waterworths

John: Waterworths, there’s all kinds of different shops, and I actually thought, when I was very young, that that was town . . .

Jean: (laughing) Yeah.

John: . . . I, I thought that was town, I just didn’t know the difference.

Brenda: Yeah.

Jean: Big shops.

John: When I went to town, I said, “Oh no, that’s just Wavertree Road shops, this is town”, you know that I mean . . .

Brenda: Yeah.

John: . . . but, but, yeah, you know, so . . .

Jodie: I’d understand why though, cos that, that Freemans, from the photographs I’ve seen was absolutely massive, and Woolworth’s, and all the others, massive are . . .

John: Massive department store, yeah . . .

Jean: Yeah

John: . . . but it’s where Taskers is now.

Jodie: Yeah

Jean: Taskers is there now, and, and, and Taskers has only just opened up the second floor, and I used to say to them when I used to go in there, go, “Can I use the toilets?” “No, we haven’t go any”, I went, “You have, they’re upstairs” (John laughs), I used to know where they were (Jodie laughs), they’ve opened them up now . . .

Jodie: Yeah.

Jean: . . . they’ve actually opened them up again.

John: Well, upstairs, they’d have, like, they’d be selling furniture and . . . you know.

Brenda: It was popular cos of the cheques, wasn’t it, that you used to get.

John: Yeah, you used, you used to gave a system in them days . . .

Brenda: Yeah.

John: . . . where no one earned any money, so you’d get what you’d call a cheque, and upstairs you’d have an office, and you could get a cheque – a cheque is something where you’d spend in store, so you’d buy, they’d give you, I don’t know, say it was a pound or two pounds or whatever, and you’d pay that back over a period of time every week, someone would call to your house . . .

Brenda: (inaudible)

John: . . . and, say, you’d pay back . . .

Brenda: Yeah.

John: . . . I don’t know, the, in old money, say, two bob, which is two shilling (sic), which is now 20p . . .

Brenda: Yeah.

John: (laughs) . . . you know what I mean, and, no, I don’t think anybody ever went in, did they, that had proper money . . .

Jean: No, it was . . .

John: . . . everyone would get a cheque . . .

Jean: Yeah.

John: . . . and I actually, they used to have a little . . .

Jean: You got change in coins, didn’t you?

John: . . . they used to have a little plastic coins.

Brenda: It was all plastic. (Jean laughs)

Jodie: Yeah, we’ve seen some, yeah.

John: Have you seen some?

Brenda: Have you seen them?

Jean: Yeah, yeah, yeah?

John: Red, red plastic coins . . .

Jean: Yeah.

John: . . . which you could buy little items with, you know what I mean . . .

Jean: Yeah, yeah.

John: . . . and it all accumulated into a certain amount, and actually, Woolies, which were next door, they would take the plastic coins as well.

Jean: Oh, right, I didn’t know that!

Brenda: Oh, did they?

John: I remember when we were kids.

Brenda: Cos you only got new clothes Christmas and . . .

Jean: Yeah.

Brenda: . . . Easter, didn’t you?

Jean: Yeah.

John: I got my first suit from Freemans . . .

Brenda: Yeah.

John: . . . when I was 15 . . .

Brenda: Get the cheque money.

John: . . . made, I was made to measure as well.

Brenda: Yeah, so it was quite popular, wasn’t it?

Jean: I got my first, my first Mickey Mouse watch, timer.

Brenda: Oh, yeah.

Jodie: Aw! (laughs)

John: It sold all sorts, you know, all, you know, clothes, furniture, household golds, it was pretty huge store, it really was . . .

Brenda: Yeah.

John: . . . for their, like, you know, where Taskers is now, and, as you say, it’s only got the downstairs, Taskers, hasn’t it?

Jean: It’s, it’s opened up the upstairs now . . .

John: Hasn’t it, yeah?

Jean: . . . so you can use the toilets, now, upstairs.

Brenda: Well, (indecipherable), they had the, the chute that you’d put the money, in a chute, they didn’t have tills, did they?

John: Yeah, I know what you mean.

Jean: The chute, yeah, yeah, cam, yeah, in a cam, you’d put in a cam and it shuts (indecipherable) to the office, yeah.

John: This is really ancient stuff, now, isn’t it, you know what I mean! (laughs)

Jodie: Yeah.

Brenda: That was the (indecipherable)

John: I’m gonna feel, when I get home later . . .

Jean: I know.

John: . . . I’m gonna feel really old here! (he and Jean burst out laughing)

Brenda: That Freemans, when you’d get home, you know, you’d always find the plastic money, and you’d go, “Oh, I’ll got to Freemans and get some sweets!”

Jean: Oh, yeah, get something with that, I’m not wasting that.

John: Yeah.

Jodie: Aw!

Brenda: So . . .

John: It was very . . . busy area, wasn’t it, Wavertree Road . . .

Jodie: Yeah.

Brenda: Yeah.

Jodie: Aw!

John: . . . in terms of shops, you know that I mean?

Tagged under: freemans, wavertree road, shops, shopping, parks, christmas, botanic park, woolworths, waterworths

Categorised under: Shops & Shopping

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By Chris Daniels on 6th March 2014

Freeman’s was opposite where Taskers now is. Tesco is now on the site.  My mum worked in the office at Freemans.  Taskers site covers where the Capital cinema was, and Woolworths, as well as several smaller shops on Wavertree Rd.  I think one was a grocer’s called Glover’s.

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