Margaret’s Tale. Past times in Richmond Hill

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MARGARET’S STORY Mrs Margaret Croll (nee Ibbetson) has given us permission to include her story in East Leeds Memories. Margaret’s story first appeared in: Past Times in Richmond Hill and The Bank a study in oral history of local folk collected under the auspices of Park Lane College. Margaret is the oracle on information about Richmond Hill. Margaret attended St Hilda’s Church of England School from 1941 to 1951.The classes were mixed and of different age groups of approximately 40 pupils. She was taught: reading, writing, arithmetic, science, geography and history, religious education (RE) and had to attend church on saint’s days. No provision was made for school diners until the 1950s. Margaret attended Ellerby Lane School for cookery and Victoria School York Road for housewifery.

Note: in response to this tale Marlene Egan (nee Marlene Howard) Ellerby Lane/Cross Green School Has left a comment. please leave a comment if you remember her.

MARGARET’S TALE – THE SHOPS IN RICHMOND HILL When thinking of my childhood during the first decade after the Second World War my mind sometimes wanders back to the time when there were lots of shops in Richmond Hill. One in particular brings back fond memories because it belonged to my Aunt Emma (nee Reynard) and Uncle Tom Woods. My mam was Mollie Ibbetson (nee Reynard) and was cousin to Emma. The shops at 29 Upper Accommodation Road at the corner of Nellie View formally belonged to John and Susan Reynard who were uncle and aunt to my mam. The shop was grocery and green grocery selling fruit, flowers poultry and game. The shop had a marbled top counter with scales for weighing dry goods such as: flour, butter, lard, cheese and fruit: apples, pears etc. On the counter was a bacon slicer for cutting thick or thin rashers of bacon and ham. It was also used for cutting boiled ham and corned beef. (I don’t think the health inspectors would have liked cooked and uncooked food being sliced on the same machine today?) Under the counter was a vinegar barrel with a tap; customers would bring their own jug or bottle for vinegar. The shop was stocked with dried fruit for baking, fresh fruit included apples pears, oranges, grapefruit, lemons, grapes, bananas and soft fruit when in season – strawberries, raspberries plumbs, gooseberries red currents and black currents. Soft fruit was not available all year round; it was the same with flowers. In the right hand corner of the shop was a big wooden potato hod, which was a pyramid shaped container, with the point at the bottom, standing on a frame with wooden side supports. Sacks of potatoes were emptied into it. There was a big scale next to it shaped like a coalscuttle, it was used for weighing the potatoes: people would ask for two pennyworths, six pennyworths or a shilling’s worth according to their needs. The green vegetables were also at this side of the shop – cabbages cauliflowers and sprouts alongside the root vegetables swedes, parsnips, onions, white turnips carrots and beetroot. The front window looked onto the main road. It was Mam’s job on Monday morning to clear and clean the window and brass the big rail, which is another way of saying clean the brass rail with Brasso. The rail had hooks on it that went all way across the window. Mam would then redress the window in the afternoon as it was half day closing. She would shine the apples with a soft cloth and arrange all the different fruit in the window with salad, lettuce, cucumber, tomatoes spring onions, all arranged in separate baskets, then mam would hang black and green grapes on the hooks. At Christmas time the shop had holly and mistletoe on the hooks outside. In the big kitchen Mum and Aunt Emma would skin and chop rabbits, pluck and draw chickens, ducks, turkeys and geese. In the shop were nuts, walnuts, Barcelona (like hazel nuts) almonds, Brazil nuts dates figs and crystallized fruit; all nice things for Christmas. Very early on Friday mornings, Mum and Aunt Emma went to the wholesale market which was in Leeds Kirkgate Market at the time. They would order all the fruit, vegetables and flowers for the shop. The shop hours were 9 am to 1 pm on Monday the other weekdays 9 am to 6 pm and on Saturday 8 am to 5 pm. on Saturday. When the shop closed for the weekend Aunt Emma would bring any soft fruit that had not been sold into the kitchen to make jam. She also pickled onions, beetroot and red cabbage, used cauliflowers to make piccalilli and made her own chutney, all this to be sold in the shop. She would buy two ounces of Turmeric from the chemist: Timothy White and Taylor to make the piccalilli, here were no metric measures in those days. She also made potted meat by boiling the ham bones and any leftover ends of bacon; there was always a queue of people waiting for it. Aunt Emma and Uncle Tom retired in the 1960s the shop was sold and they went to live next door. I miss all the shops that were part of my childhood and growing up. Federation housing is now on the site of the shop and old streets. There were so many shops in Richmond Hill all our daily needs could be purchased locally. Some of those which come to mind are: the Thrift Stores in Dial Street and Tommy Hutton the herbalist. Upper Accommodation Road had no end of shops including general grocers, Maypole, Drivers, the Co-op, Gallons, which later became Bill Benn’s television Shop. The Co-op also had a butchery and shoe department. There were lots of butchers in the area and confectioners, newsagents, drapery and clothing. Today all that remains in Upper Accommodation Road is a pharmacy, café, off licence and a sandwich shop. A bakery has recently closed. Nowadays we have to travel by bus or car for our everyday needs which usually come from the big supermarkets like Kwik Save on Torre Road or Morrison’s at Hunslet. Yes I do miss those little shops of earlier years.

REMEMBER TO CLICK ON LISTS TO ENLARGE  USE ARROW TOP LEFT OF SCREEN TO REGAIN TALE

our east leeds shops cross green lane

our east leeds shops

The Richmond Hill Whit Walk This was an annual event. It started from the Prospect Hotel, down Accommodation Road, Dial Street, Easy Road and then around the periphery of the old running track at East End Park, twice, before returning to the Prospect. It attracted a large field and there was a monetary prize. There is a dramatised film based on the race in existence. If I recall correctly an old mate, Jimmy Croll, won it twice, at least RICHMOND HILL WHIT WALK

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6 Responses to “Margaret’s Tale. Past times in Richmond Hill”

  1. marlene Egan Says:

    There was two houses next to the prospect pub ,l lived in the end one from the age of two until l was five ,and went to Richmond Hill school .We then moved down the road to Easy Grove l went to new Richmond Hill ,then on to Crossgreen we lived at Easy Grove until l was 15, then we moved away to swarcliff ,but l can honestly say my best years was down Easy Road where l spent all my childhood years my name at that time was Marlene Howard Crossgreen school was also called Ellerbylane school .still in touch with Linda Ellis my best friend from that time would like to hear from anyone that remembers me

  2. Doug Farnill Says:

    Thank you for all that detail and for re-creating the special atmosphere of the fruit and vegetable shops of that era. They had real character. As I recall, there was also a Yorkshire Penny Bank somewhere in that vicinity. I have vague memories of Rev Elijah Green of the Methodist Circuit, I think he was the minister who ran a Friday night boy’s club somewhere near Richmond Hill School where me and my mates(Norman Wright, Keith Pape, Richard Fletcher) used to play billiards and have biscuits and a cup of cocoa for sixpence.

  3. Eric Says:

    Great reminiscences and as Doug says, the detail & atmosphere of the time is well recollected. Tales of factual detail like this are the best ones because they revive common experiences & often trigger other memories of those happy days.

  4. Ian Chadwick Says:

    I remember my father’s friend, Stanley Precious, had one or perhaps two bakeries in this area. I think one was on Upper Accommodation Road. He was born in 1906/7 and retired in Filey. Does anyone remember the shops?

    I can vaguely remember the Penny Bank – was it lower down – Dial Street?

  5. peterwwood Says:

    Thanks for your request, Ian. I have now included the shops on Accommodation Road on the site

  6. Moira Says:

    The gentleman that is winning the Whitsentide walk is my Uncle. His name is Fred Rotherforth and the little lad at the side of him running is my brother Paul Butterfield. I was really amazed to see this picture.

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