CENTRAL BUILDINGS.


In this old picture the bus station had already been built, but the bus park, which much later became the Market Cross development was still a paddock with rocks and many trees. The old elm and chestnut trees on the left have long since been felled. The bus parked outside the office was probably one of the yellow buses with solid tyres known affectionately as "The Yellow Perils"

The shops seemed to remain the same for many years, but now in 2002 there have been many changes. Lawson's was still a chemist shop in my youth, it then became Boot's then Dowries, now it is the Information Centre. Next door was Mackereth's ladies gowns and mantles and haberdashery. One could buy anything there, Mrs Mackereth and her daughter Margaret had a huge drawer of odd buttons and we could "root" about among them until we found something suitable. Johnny Longmire's confectionary shop was next, then Bruce Squires fancy goods and fishing tackle, with emphasis on the fishing tackle. Bruce was a large tweed clad gentleman, and he was a real gentleman, but abdominally rude to anyone not interested in, or knowledgeable about the art of fishing. He would only serve customers he liked or took to.

Below him was the magic toy shop where we always chose the Christmas toys we hoped to receive on Christmas morning. Not the huge choice afforded to the children of today, but a wonderland for us. Next came Bone's the greengrocer, then Mackereth's gentlemen's outfitters, brother of the other Mr Mackereth. The present book shop was a fish shop, Crossland and Backhouse, often known as Crosspatch and Backchat, and the final shop was Rushforth's china shop. All useful village shops before the multitude of gift shops and now outdoor clothing shops.