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80 Years & Celebrating!

Next year will see the family trading at Meadowhead for 80 years, my dad Dennis started the firm in 1935 as a butcher. He was joined by my mum in 1950 when they married and I came along the year after on Trafalgar Day 21st October.

On November 17th this year it will be 50 years since we opened as an off-licence, which was only possible when we moved from living above the shop to a house on Greenhill main road and our old living room made way for the beer off. I joined them in 1967 after leaving Jordanthorpe School with six CSE Grade 2's having just missed out on a place at Oxford Uni “joke”.

Meadowhead was a very different place then, here's a snapshot of the shops in 1970. Earnest Brocklehurst's famous garage which had been selling Hillman's Humber known as Rootes Dealers was replaced by Alan Ponds. Next door was our competition Ashe & Nephew Off-Licence who had moved there from Greenfield road. Barclays bank had arrived replacing Percy Chapman's Toy shop. What is now Meadowhead butcher's was then a hardware shop owned by Mitchells of Greenhill which we bought of them in 1973 to move the butchers there and enable us to extend the wine shop. Natwest were then next to us previously known as the National Provincial Bank. Richardson's had the veg shop the other side of us followed by Stevenson Burton's bread shop. What is now the Indian takeaway was then the very trendy Young Society Boutique since then it's been a travel agents & golf shop but was probably best known as Hills shoe shop up to 60's.

The post office and news agent were owned by Tom & Margery Pemberton who lived in Norton, I did a paper round for them for many years which took in Norton Lane & Henley Avenue, it was a two bag round so Tom got good value for my 25p a week wages.

Across the road the Norton Pub was the god old Berni Inn, which was magic in those days. A steak & duck bar in the Annex which when the pub was a “Tennent house” held Saturday night dancing and was also a bowling alley in the 60's. The Berni had unbelievable success under its first manager David Rusby followed by an Italian called Del Grosso and then for a long time by Terry Millington.

Next door to the Norton was the very well respected retailer Clements Grocery. Next was Tauton's Chemist, over the other side of Unstone Avenue was Cranns Chippy which was run by Frank Pace who was married to Mr Cranns daughter, they owned the Wet Fish shop next door.

The launderette has survived but Meadowhead news was then Charles Sweet shop but became more famously known as “Jackanorey” with the new owners but my favourite was Mrs Craggs Hardware shop which was just like the one in the TV programme Open all hours “were still open all hours”.

Last Updated: 03/09/2014
Author: Mitchells Wine
Mitchells Wine

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