The McElroys describe their early lives and the shops on Smithdown Lane

Resource Type: Audio | Posted on 27th July 2011 by Liam Physick

David and Steve McElroy describe how they first lived above a butcher’s shop on Smithdown Lane, before moving to Edgeware Street. They also describe the many shops on Smithdown Lane, where they shopped even after moving house.

Interviewee: David and Steve McElroy

Interviewee Gender: Male

Date of Interview: 25th March 2011

Interview Transcript

David: I was born in Oxford Street, as it then was, Maternity Hospital. Our first residence was actually Smithdown Lane . . .

Jenny: Oh, yeah.

David: which . . . what’s still, what’s there now? This was a series of shops just before the traffic lights at Lodge Lane and Durning Road . . .

Jenny: Oh, yeah.

David: . . . one of which was a butcher’s, and we had the flat above the butcher’s shop, so we had to go round the, sort of, back entry, up the stairs and . . . so that’s where we lived, so when I was born, that’s where we, my mum and dad lived, we were there for . . . I think wemoved house . . .

Steve: I, I, I was there as a, as a baby, a toddler.

David: . . . yeah, so, I think, sort of, five, four, five years at most . . .

Jenny: Yeah.

David: . . . then we moved to Edgeware Street, a stone’s throw from here. So, my formative years . . .

Jenny: Yeah.

David: . . . were there . . .

Jenny: So you, if you were born in 1959 . . .

Steve: I was born in 51.

Jenny: . . . 51?

David: 47

Jenny: 47.

David: October 47.

Jenny: Octover 1947. So, when did you move from the, above the butcher’s shop?

David: Well it, it was probably within your first year of . . .

Steve: Yeah, put it about, about 1953.

Jenny: So you don’t remember it as much?

Steve: I, I have one very vivid recollection of Smithdown Lane, which was falling down the stairs, and, cos they were quite steep stairs . . .

Jenny: Yeah.

Steve: . . . and I actually managed to do the, the full tumble (Jenny laughs), I’ve still got a scar in the corner of the mouth . . .

Jenny: Oh, God!

Steve: . . . from, from that. That was one vivid memory, and the other one was, when we did move to Edgeware Street, actually going back to the butcher’s shop and the other shop, cos mum and dad, you know, were reasonable well known there, they preferred to continue shopping there, so, I used to trek along the length of Chatsworth Street to go and get the bread and the sausages and things like that, so . . . so, yes, that was, that was good, but then it was, it was very different place in the early 50s . . .

Jenny: Yeah.

Steve: . . . was much less traffic, it was, what, a safe place for children to, to be and grow up . . .

Jenny: Oh, yeah.

Steve: . . . despite some of the things we got up to, but . . . (Jenny laughs)

Jenny: So, was Smithdown Lane, like, was there a row of shops there?

David: There was, well, there were two rows of shops on the side we lived, the, the, there was a Post Office, butcher’s next door, and there was a, a furniture, whether it was a second-hand furniture shop I’m not sure, cos a furniture shop was part of that row . . .

Steve: There was a site that said (indecipherable)

Jenny: And is that all gone now?

David: . . . what sign, Fothergill’s?

Steve: No, Fothergill’s were there as well, on . . . yeah . . .

David: So there were two?

Steve: There were two, yeah.

David: Yes, cos even the block where (sic) the Post Office has gone, has now . . .

Steve: That’s, that’s, that is all gone

David: Yeah, so . . .

Steve: On, on the opposite side of the road, there are shops there but they’re not, they’re not the original shops.

Jenny: Oh, yeah, new, brand new.

David: One of those shops was the newsagent’s that mum and dad used to go to, and I finished up a paper boy there and so on . . .

Jenny: Oh, yeah.

David: . . . so, yeah, so yeah, I mean it, certainly as a, as a focal point it, it was, it was quite a busy set of shops, at least some of them were.

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Categorised under: Shops & Shopping

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