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Topic: Tunstall Memories
david
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Tunstall Memories
on: April 2, 2013, 17:17

This was featured in last Saturday's, The Way We Were supplement in the Sentinel.

For those of you who like to reminisce but don't have the Sentinel here it is in full for your perusal.

I'm sure that a lot of you fellow Goldenhillers did exactly the same so let me know if anything pops into your mind when you have read it.


Tunstall Memories of the 1950s


Although I am a Goldenhill lad I do have quite a few memories of Tunstall and all of them are good memories.


Tunstall Park in the six week holidays, your mum made you some jam butties, gave you a bottle of water, placed it all in a brown paper carrier bag and off you went.

Through the Sandyford estate, down Russell Road to the fields, across there and past Katy Beans marl hole.

There was a narrow footpath with a very high wall which shielded the brickworks from the houses.

My weren’t those houses nice, all brand new with nice little back gardens, we even knew a few people who lived in them, weren’t they lucky, there we were living in little terraced houses with outside toilets down the yard and these people had bathrooms and running water too.

Through the estate and we arrived at the bottom of Furlong Road, under the Loop Line railway bridge and there was the park.

Across the road and through the gates and behold there in front of you was the boating lake with real boats and people in them rowing up and down.

Past the lake and there was a smaller lake for model boats if you could afford one and the bandstand on the right.

Sometimes our parents took us down there on a Sunday evening after chapel and a band would be playing, what a lovely memory.

The playground with its swings, slide and seesaw and behind that was the old railway line where the steam trains ran past all day long.

If you’d drank all of your water you could always have a drink at the water fountain just by the playground.

Now we had the Floral Hall with a small shop at the rear selling refreshments such as ice cream and lollies.

On the front of the building was a conservatory which seemed to contain tropical plants, they probably weren’t actually tropical but the heat felt very tropical.

There was a small pool with a trickling waterfall and a few gold fish in there.


Opposite was the tennis courts and above them the paddling pool, I can only remember the pool having water in it once in all the years we went there.

In the park your movements were being monitored by the dreaded Parkies.

They seemed to be lurking everywhere and God help you if you misbehaved.

The idea of answering them back was totally out of the question, you just stopped doing what you were doing and behaved yourself.


Those magnificent gates are still there and also the wrought iron structure hanging from the library wall in Greengate Street.

We always called it Bath Street, simple really, that’s where the baths were.

We used to go to the baths from Church School Goldenhill, Jeffrey’s buses were used to transport us there and back.

I swam my length when I was about 8 years old and had my half price pass which was valid for 12 months, I never got my certificate though.

Having the pass meant that the admission to the baths was only twopence instead of fourpence.

We not only learned to swim, we learned to retrieve coins from the bottom of the pool, lifesaving and diving off the side.

We graduated from diving off the side to jumping and diving off the stage.

The ultimate challenge was to dive off the balcony behind the stage.

I never had the courage to dive off but I did jump from the balcony once and never again.


The library, it feels as if I’ve always been a member of Tunstall Library, I joined when I was about seven and was absolutely made up when I was allowed to transfer to the adult’s section probably when I was 15.


Chum’s Club at the Ritz on Saturday morning, Flash Gordon and his dreaded enemies but he always won in the end.


There was a dirty smelly clay works opposite the library called Soho Mills, what a grim place that was.

Just along the road was Holdridge’s confectioners, our mum used to call in there once in a while and we had a cream horn as a special treat.

The Station Hotel was a bit rough and tumble as I remember, they knocked it down when they built the underpass.

On the opposite corner was the Sentinel office staffed by a very serious man.

Hall’s jewellers was near to Lymer & Bossons stationers shop.

Hall’s was where we purchased the engagement ring and then the wedding rings years later.

My wife, or girlfriend as she was then worked in Woolworth’s, that was when the counters were chest high and the manager Mr Moore, was very strict.

Forrester’s hardware shop in Wesley Street was full of all those bits and pieces you needed for your home and kitchen.

Farr’s Ironmongers was next door to where Mr Big Deal’s is now.

Talk about the four candles sketch in the Two Ronnies, it was just like Billy Poole’s shop in Goldenhill.

Originally Mr Big Deal’s store was Taylor’s supermarket and before that it was a potbank with a weighbridge at the front

Roundwell Street and The Haymarket was the site of Tunstall’s first supermarket Cee n Cee.


Can you remember the Chinese laundry on the corner of Keeele Street and High Street?

It was a genuine laundry the likes of which you will never see again in this day and age.

My uncle and granddad used to take their shirt fronts and collars there to be washed and starched.


Tower Square used to have bus stops in the middle and the buses went around the clock tower and went either to the left or right of the island according to their destination.

Lloyds-TSB was just the Trustees Savings Bank previously, people used to have money stopped out of their wages or they took it in religiously on a Friday afternoon to save for their holidays.

The only problem was, the bank didn’t like you taking it out even for your holiday in Potter’s Fortnight.


The MEB and the Gas Board both had shops in the town and both of them charged high rates of interest if you had something on hire purchase.

There wasn’t a lot you could do about it because the likes of Curry’s and Comet weren’t as popular yet although Cadman’s and Otet’s electrical shops were present in the town.

Rumbelows appeared after they bought out Cadman’s.


Alcock’s cycles, Hubank’s fruit shop, Askey’s fishmongers, Oakes furniture store, Oakes & Hulme, Emannuel’s Café Continental, James chip shop, Burtons, Dorothy Perkins, Turner’s Shoes, Leek & Westbourne Building Society, North Staffs decorators, Webb’s fruiterers, Home & Colonial, Boot’s chemist and Greengates Photography to mention just a few.


Banks were plentiful, Lloyds, Midland, Barclays, TSB, National Westminster and possibly the National provincial.


How many cinemas do you want, Barber’s Palace, The Ritz and The Regent, is three enough for you?

Barber’s Palace is now demolished and a block of flats is in its place.

The Ritz has been a bingo hall for years now.

The Regent cinema became a disco called the Golden Torch and it is allegedly the birthplace of Northern Soul which eventually moved and established itself in Wigan.


No DIY stores yet either but in the seventies a chap named Jim opened a shop in the Square where you could buy plywood, hardboard, screws, nails and hinges etcetera.


Just think of all the potbanks in the town, William Adams, Grindley’s, Meakin’s, Johnson Alex, Ridgway’s, Booth’s, Johnson’s & Richard’s Tiles and many more.


I’m not even going to try to list the pubs I’ll leave that up to anyone who wants to volunteer.


This is just scraping the surface of the traders list for the town in the fifties and sixties, I’m sure that those of you out there can triple the list very easily.


David Wood


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