Alison Carroll - My Yorkshire Childhood
PUBLISHED: 00:00 29 June 2013
This month we give over this column to some special corner shop memories sent in by Yorkshire Life reader Alison Carroll
I do hold very dear memories about my corner shop in Bradford because I lived there with my mum, dad and brother for 24 years, from birth until I left the family home to start my own family.
Our house was attached to the local newsagent shop, which my parents, John and Ellen Wilcock ran for 39 years! The local newspaper (the Telegraph & Argus) wanted to run a story about mum and dad when they reached their 35th anniversary in the shop, as they said they were their longest standing agents, but my mum has always been one to shy away from attention and dad told them to come back on their 40th anniversary. But, as with many small shops and businesses, the recession and the effect of large superstores took its toll and they were forced to take retirement in their 40th year in the business.
They were such hard workers, with dad waking up at 5.15am each morning to open the shop at 6.00am and they’d work all day together until it closed again at 6.30pm, six days a week and half days on Sunday, everyday of the year except Christmas day, as this is the only day of the year when newspapers are not printed.
I remember playing shop keeper when the shutters were down, sometimes helping myself to the penny tray! Jars and jars of all varieties of sweet treats. I also remember the chocolate bars beginning to melt when we had long hot summer days and evenings and as the sun shone through the windows straight onto the Mars bars, Turkish Delights, Milky bars, Star bars, Kit Kats, Maltesers, Buttons you name it they had it; my dad had to cover the chocolate counter to try to protect his merchandise.
You can imagine I was quite popular with the kids at school because I lived in the sweet shop.
My parents were such heroes in the local community, trusted by everyone especially the older people who would often call on my dad to do odd jobs for them or my mum to deliver their shopping for them and they were always happy to help. Sadly though not always respected by some of the local youths but able to deal with the trouble makers, because they knew everyone and who they belonged to.
My mum and dad could tell you a million funny, sad, interesting sometimes unbelievable stories about the people they met, and tales they heard in their 39 years in the newsagents in Fagley, Bradford. But for the first 24 years of my life it wasn’t just my local corner shop but my home, so it holds many more wonderful memories than just the place I would get my Saturday night treat from.