Post 116 - Grandma's Fruit Shoip

GRANDMA’S FRUIT SHOP

This brief history of a little fruit shop in Horseley Fields was sent to me in 2015, from Malcolm Smith.

A proud Wulfrunian of 70 years standing (as he put it), now exiled in Cornwall.

And it came about when Malcolm who had signed up to Lost Wolverhampton sent this favourable comment.

Blimey! What memories in those photos, especially North St. The times I went past there upstairs on the trolley bus.

 

This was usually after school (Elston Hall then Wobaston) on my way to my grans in Horseley Fields, and on my own, a lot less traffic then, but  buses everywhere, quite safe for a lad of nine or ten to be on his own.

 

Horseley Fields circa late 1950's - East Side - Mill Lane to Corn Hill
Horseley Fields circa late 1950’s – East Side – Mill Lane to Corn Hill

 

To introduce Malcolms story I will try to give you an idea of were it stood in Horseley Fields.

The above picture is dated late 1960’s and shows a portion of the east side of Horseley Fields from Mill Street to Corn Hill. The big building on the right was the former Mount Zion Church.The billposters in front are on the corner of Corn Hill, and on the opposite corner to the billboards fronted by some waste ground is the recently erected Post Office Building.

The shops close to the waste ground are themselves on short term leases now and Fred Lee trading in the end one No.17, is the only long time resident left and he will finish in the late 1960’s.

And it was on that piece of now waste ground continuing down from George Lee at No.16-17,were our story begins. In 1935

Where at that time – Baileys Plumbers and Gasfitters, where at No.18 then at No’s 19 was W. Hughes Fruiterer.and through a Carriage entrance (one of many in old Horseley Fields) was “Lambs Yard” which contained 3 further businesses. Then down to the corner of Corn Hill were 4 private residences and on the corner itself stood the “The Wheatsheaf Inn”

 

A group of bell-ringers outside Tettenhall Church.
A group of bell-ringers outside Tettenhall Church.

 

Malcolm’s story starts in Tettenhall and on the above photograph we see a group of bell-ringers outside Tettenhall church, Lower green.

My grandfather Ben Dalton is 2nd from left and his father (my great grandfather) holding the stick, is next to him. Ben Dalton married my grandmother Maud, her maiden name was Walton.

Granddad Ben was born 1898 at Shaw lane Tettenhall Wood, along with 4 younger brothers and 5 younger sisters! Apart from granddad,they all lived to a ripe old age.

Nan was born at 22 Regent St, Woodsetton 17th march 1899. her Parents names were Thomas and Emma Walton.

They Later lived at 107 Granville St. off Steelhouse Lane Wolverhampton, until she married grandfather on April 3rd 1920, at all Saints church, she had a brother Ernest and a sister Ethel.

 

Receipt for purchase of the shop in Horseley Fields - 16th March 1935.
Receipt for purchase of the shop in Horseley Fields – 16th March 1935.

 

 

On the 16th march 1935, Ben Dalton bought the Greengrocers and Fruiterers business at No.19 Horseley Fields from from Mr William Hughes for the sum of £144.00. Nan told me years later that granddad told her,

“Maud, if we get the shop you’ve got to run it on you’re own and make enough to keep us all, and I’ll put my wages from work in the bank for a rainy day.”

Which he did, and he was as proud as punch when he got to a £1000 saved. Quite a sum in the mid 50s.

He worked for Wolverhampton Council as a bricklayer,and also built a huge fireplace in the kitchen at the shop which I’ve still have a picture of in my mind. They had 2 children Joan (my mother, still with us at 94,but now a little frail) and Cyril who died when he was about 4, he was a haemophiliac, nan did say she got the shovel one day and was off up to Tettenhall church to dig him up, she was that upset, but granddad stopped her.

 

Dated circa 1952. Greengrocers, No. 19 Horseley Fields
Dated circa 1952. Greengrocers, No. 19 Horseley Fields

 

Photo taken in the 1950’s, of nan’s shop, with her pictured on the left.

Malcolm continues; The man who took the photo from his bedroom window opposite us in Horseley Fields, had a sort of second hand shop, and for some strange reason I remember him saying to my nan as he gave her the photo,” I took this picture of yow two cantin` on the dower step!”

Just visible “up the entry” is a wicker 3 wheel cart about 4ft high & about 5ft x 4ft sq which she used to push across town to the wholesale market (most times with me in it, just looking over the top ) to get fresh fruit and Vegetables; for the shop.

One happy memory of that unforgettable building in Wulfruna Street in the early 1950’s ,I used to love going up the spiral staircase with gran to pay her invoice, who`s office it was I don`t remember. Every now and again she would buy half a pig and it would hang on the bannister at the top of the stairs with salt rubbed in to preserve it.

I can still remember some of the boaties off the canal they used to come up from Corn Hill and barter some cocoa for fruit & veg, they were off to deliver to Cadburys I suppose.

 

The Business Accounts for 1955.
The Business Accounts for 1955.

 

These must be the last set of accounts, as granddad Ben died in 1954 (he was only 55 )

The Post office owned the land and had built a big garage behind the shop where the kept all the post office vans and now they wanted to build offices on the corner and around into Corn Hill.so nan decided to pack it in.

 

Wrekin Drive

Maud Dalton relaxes at home.
Maud Dalton relaxes at home.

The lady sitting on the arm of the chair is my gran Maud Dalton who after the shop was sold, moved to a flat in Wrekin Drive, Bradmore and enjoyed a quiet life until she passed away in 1995.

 

Postscript

There is a bus stop just below where the pond is in Tettenhall a sort of Tudor style with herringbone brickwork, that was built by great granddad Ben, don’t know what year.

He also worked on Truro cathedral early 1900’s, I walk past it every weekend. I like to think of him up the scaffold laying one of those huge blocks.  Just another speck on a Dusty Road.

Malcolm.

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8 comments

  1. I`m sat here contemplating the 50s (can`t get out in the garden, the weathers manky yet again) and I`ve just remembered, the people who lived on the top corner of Horseley Fields and Corn Hill,had a second hand shop full of tatty furniture, some of the kids were named Brittain, and some were named Clifford. Sounded a bit like 2 families, father of 1 lot and mother of the other lot all living together. I do remember the father worked at the Carlton cinema,I often saw him going to work in his uniform, maroon I think, he was an usher/doorman.
    Just above their shop was another shop, and as far as I can remember,there was only ever Yorkshire pudding mixes & salt on the shelves! One winter he refused to sell nan some salt, he said ” I ay sellin yow any salt just so yow con chuck it on the pavement, It ay right ” Anyway, another speck on the dusty road for yer Billy.

  2. Hi Miff
    Is it possible you are mistaking Corn Hill, for Bradshaw Street there was a large second hand shop at the top of Bradshaw Street, it was in the late 1950’s known as The Star Furnishers.

    I think there was at that time a couple of familys sharing premises at the back.
    Later this shop was owned by Biddlestones similar type of business.
    Nice story anyway. Thanks for the memories.

  3. You got me there Billy, you`re probably right! 60 odd years is a while ago, mind you, the more I think about it, the more keeps coming back. I`ll be back soon with some more specks off that dusty road.

  4. June
    Does anyone remember an old lady called Mercy? she was dressed always in black long clothes.My self and my step siblings used to follow this poor woman calling nursey, nursey, yes we had got it all wrong. She lived somewhere near The Maltings, and as we lived quite near in Saint Mary’s Terrace, we could make a hasty retreat.I was in Wolverhampton last week, my brother Ron Lambeth rememered this lady’s name. Children can be so unkind, I do regret that.

  5. In 1871 census my great great nan esther wilson lived at 15 horselylf field and put herself down as fruit shop owner, I wonder if she meant this one four doors along at 19.

  6. Its so nice to remember your childhood,especially when it brings back such happy times.My grandparents lived just off Horsley Fields opposite The Star Vaults at no/1 Gough St.
    Goughs builders office was in the back yard of Mr & Mrs Goughs house and because my nan & grandad shared the same yard,I used to be able to go into their house to say hello and spend time with them.I would be only very young but I remember Mr Gough being a very nice elderly gentleman and Mrs Gough a very kind prim and proper lady.
    Across the road was Kevin Biddlestones second hand shop,but before he had it it was run by a lady as a second hand shop her surname was Winters but I can’t remember her first name.Just up Horsley Fields was Fullwoods sweet shop run by Mr Fullwood and his daughter and over the other side of the road was The Dolls Hospital and Whitleys fish & chip shop,cake shop,and Gough the butchers. Happy Days!!!

  7. I remember taking a doll and a teddy bear to the Dolls Hospital with my Grandmother. My Grandmother was always bringing old toys home for me to play with. The doll had a leather body porcelain head and jointed legs and arms. Unfortunately she had no hair so my Grandmother took me with the doll to have a wig made for the doll. Lovely ringlets until as many a small girl would do I brushed the hair and all the curls came out. I still have the doll with tatty hair.
    The bear had an eye missing and was given a new one. I no longer have the bear.
    This must have been in 1959 when I was about five years of age.

  8. I’m so pleased to see your article and photographs. William & Harriet Hughes (who had the shop 1894-1935 were my grandparents and brought up four daughters there – my mum Marjorie was the youngest. She married the lad from across the street – Trevor Gough of B. Gough Ltd. Butchers. My grandfather retired on selling the shop (the signature on the agreement is my aunt’s, who became Deputy Head of St Peter’s Girls School). He died in 1941 and my grandmother lived until 1963.

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