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Via email from Australia, editted by Greville Watson, May2011
Margaret Goodwin (nee Bugby)
Memories of Washbrook Road

Reading the recollections about Granny Green's ice cream parlour, which I remember patronising when playing in the Rec, got me thinking about other shops in Washbrook Road.

Heading up Washbrook Road from Granny Green's, opposite the top entrance to the Rec, just below Fletcher Road was Bill Bailey's yard. Bill was a scrap merchant and we kids would load newspapers into Dad's homemade wooden barrow (which was like a big box on four wheels) and take them down to Bill who'd weigh them and give us a few coppers pocket money. I think we also occasionally took in rabbit skins that hadn't been collected by the rag and bone man who came round with his horse and cart.

Just above the Rec was another general store that we sometimes went into on our way to the park. Others may recall the name of it, but we did not frequent it. Near this, or behind this, accessed via an alley at the side of the shop was George's photographers. I think there may have been a small board on the fence that showed some of his photos.

On the corner of Oakley Road was Sears' Paper Shop, kept by Mrs Sears. We usually went to 'pay the papers' there on Saturdays on our way to catch the Wellingborough bus at the Oakley. Papers and magazines, seemingly haphazardly thrown in the windows, were always faded. Inside, the shop was dark and dusty with papers spread out along a wooden counter. Mrs Sears seemed ancient to my young eyes and my memories of her must be winter ones as I remember her as often wearing a shawl wrapped round her shoulders over an overcoat and always wearing woollen mittens with the ends of the fingers cut off. Her finger tips showing were always a grimy black - which must have been because of the newsprint but at the time I thought it was dirt!

Opposite Sears was Violet Groom's little 'corner store' - though it wasn't on a corner. Various bits and pieces were often stacked on show outside the window, and I remember it always seemed quite dark inside. The main reason I patronised Violet's was because she sold Snofrutes which were long triangular prisms of frozen orange juice, wrapped in blue wrapping which we would eagerly peel down as we sucked the refreshing juice.

Closer to the Oakley, on the corner of Pytchley Road, was another larger and more modern corner store which was taken over by the Fitzjohn family in the early 1950s. They were not locals and had a strange (to us) accent from 'up North'. I became friends with their daughter Margaret Fitzjohn. (I believe this shop was previously owned by Mr and Mrs Newman).

At the top of Washbrook, at the crossroads with Wellingborough Road, was The Oakley pub. Opposite, in a clockwise direction, was a branch of the Co-op, and opposite that, on the other corner of Wellingborough and Irchester Roads, was a hairdressers, but we never patronised these places even though the Oakley was one of our usual bus stops.

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