Friday, 17 August 2012

Home deliveries

This started as a comment on Z’s wonderful stroll down memory lane, but she’s opened the floodgates and it’s run out of control, so it has to be a post here in its own right.  Isn’t it strange the way that our minds work?

The dry goods grocer was Mr North, up Pokesdown Road, about a mile away.  I think it was every Thursday when my mother would phone with the order, which would be delivered by bike next day, stacked up in the basket on the front of an old boneshaker by a boy maybe ten years older than me.  I can see her handwritten list which she dictated over the phone; it used to take hours, because I think Mr North went and checked whether each item was in stock if he wasn’t sure.  I have no idea what this stuff was.

Fruit and veg came once a week on Mr Starks’s horse-drawn cart.  I really looked forward to this, because Mr Starks was like a jolly uncle, but mainly because of the horse, which I loved and which loved me, at least so I felt.

I’m certain that milk and coal were delivered, when appropriate.  I can’t remember the name of the dairy, but the coal merchants might just possibly have been Cole and Sons.  We kids were supposed to distance ourselves from lower-order tradesmen, but I recall those huge blackdusted coalmen with their hessian sacks on their shoulders and their wide grins – they might have been saying one day you’ll be a man like me, boy.  I never was, of course.

Westons’ bakery delivered bread, in a purple van, but we had to go there for cream horns or slices, éclairs and other special cakes that couldn’t be made at home.  I’m not sure about meat and fish, I think these had to be chosen on site, by sight, smell and probably touch.  Sweets came from a shop charmingly named the Polliwog; they didn’t deliver.  The next door newsagents in Kimberley Road did deliver, but I was allowed to run round there to collect my Eagle because I couldn’t wait.


  1. Now I've started to remember, it's all coming back to me, things I haven't thought about for 40 or more years. There seemed to be so much more time then, didn't there? Now we expect everything instantly.

  2. Great memories, Tim. I used to accompany the woman who delivered newspapers to my grandparents. She was never sober, so I trailed behind her around the country lanes, swaying from one side to the other. The last stop was a pub called The Robin Hood, where she'd press a sixpence into my hand and send me off home, while she topped up on stout.

  3. We used to have a rag and bone man round our council estate swapping golfishes for old clothes. I think the swap only worked one way round.

  4. You put the tin billy on gatepost for milkman to fill.
    In another place, horse stopped at each house and you took out jugs to be filled.
    In another, deliveries of groceries came onto the kitchen table whether you were home or not--door not locked.
    Two Ronnies-type shop with smooth wooden counter and everything to be cut, weighed, wrapped or bagged.
    Butcher very jokey,rolled up the meat, wrapped knotted and snapped, and gave the 'kiddy' a 'cheerio' [cocktail sausage]
    I could go on ...

  5. Oh! I've just remembered that some greengrocers sold onions from a string!

    (I have linked to you, Tim, and Z, in my post.)

  6. It all seemed to work then. I remember the greengrocer coming round in his van. Does anyone the remember the Corona van? Now, if you are having anything delivered - it will (possibly) arrive between 07:00 and 19:00, or maybe it won't. Or, it is delivered while you were out and the driver has decided that a "safe place" is reached by lobbing your parcel over the back gate.

  7. The Corona van! How could I forget that?? (A: same way I forget everything else nowadays, obv.)

  8. Oh, this blog is a trip down memory lane! You have a new follower

    1. Thank you and welcome, Frances.

  9. I checked Kimberley Road on Gmaps & there aren't any shops now, not even the Polliwog which I remember quite well. There are some garages a dental lab & a Girl Guides shop.
    Didn't realise you could still buy them.

  10. Tim, your memories are far better than mine - I remember Mr Stark and the Polliwog but other names have not been retained. I can remember when sweets came off rationing and being allowed to buy as much as our pocket money allowed! Licourice torpedoes were a favourite (and still are!). I remember going round for fresh hot cross buns at Easter to what must have been Westons and I remember walking to primary school every day - up and across, up and across, up and across from Watcombe Road to Beaufort Road and the corner of Ravenscourt Road where the small school I attended was situated.