Cola bottles, rum truffles, rhubarb and custard, sherbet lemons, pear drops, liquorice torpedoes, cinder toffee, cough candy. Which are your favourites? Many are still sold at Clough’s Sweet Shop on Heaton Road.
How did it all start?
In 1934, Arthur and Edith Clough set up the shop at 88 Heaton Road as a confectioner’s and general dealer’s. With the growth of supermarkets in the 1980s, they dropped the grocery side of the business to concentrate on confectionery.
This part of Heaton Road was built in 1896 as part of a block of shops (with accommodation above). Wards Directory 1898 lists a W.Wilson confectioner at 88 Heaton Road and in 1920 Mosely & Jameson, confectioners, appear. In 1934 Wards records A.W. Bradley confectioner at 90 Heaton Road. So there seems to have been a long tradition of sweetshops in this block.
Arthur and Edith were apparently a good team. Arthur was fetcher, carrier, storeman and bookkeeper. Edith was very good at the sales side of things and window dressing. Virtually everything was bought direct from the manufacturers via the commercial travellers. The shop was open from 9.00 or 9.30 am until 10pm. Arthur and Edith had very little time off from the shop, usually one evening a week. In 1935 an additional shop was opened at 220 Chillingham Road and later a third in Sandyford Road.
In war time, Arthur volunteered as a fireman in the AFS (Auxiliary Fires Service) where he attained the rank of leading fireman. On 25 April 1941, the Luftwaffe attempted to bomb the railway line but hit the houses of Cheltenham Terrace and Guildford Place, causing utter devastation and many fatalities. The blast blew Clough’s shop windows out and spewed the contents into the street. Arthur’s team turned out but he had to pass his own damaged shop to attend to another location – imagine how that must have felt…..
Arthur and Edith’s three children, Ian, Hazel and Alan, all helped in the shop and were encouraged to learn the trade. After National Service, Ian set up his own shop, Candy Corner, opposite St. Theresa’s Church. In the early days the sweet jars were made of glass and it was hard work when the stock was delivered. The shop on Heaton Road had 2 back rooms, a cellar and two upstairs rooms called ‘The Cadburys Room’ and the ‘Rowntrees Room’.
Cloughs Sweet shop is still very much a going concern run by Alan following the death of his mother Edith in 2001 aged 95 years (Arthur died in 1993). The shop now sells more than 300 kinds of sweets. There are lots of loyal customers who say how pleased they are to be able to come to the shop they used to come to when they were children.
Ian Clough has recently updated his history of the Clough’s family’s sweetshop, which is available for purchase from Cloughs or at Heaton History Group meetings for £2.00. Why not call in and see if they still stock your childhood favourites!
And we’d love to hear your memories of Clough’s. Click on Leave a Reply just below the title of this article or email Chris Jackson.
I worked out that on one side of the family (paternal grandmother) five generations of the family shopped there, but on the other side (paternal grandfather) there were six generations bought sweets from Cloughs. Should we not get a loyalty discount Alan? Or even a free gobstopper for every generation. BTW. My maternal family grew up in the city centre so never visited Cloughs – only Maynards.
I remember in the early ’60s going to the annual Boys Brigade camp from Heaton Pres. and we always had a ‘tuck shop’ which was supplied by Cloughs …the countless number of boxes of sweets and crisps and pop which were on a ‘sale or return ‘ basis ,were loaded on to the wagon with the tents etc on a Saturday morning …needless to say at the end of the camp there was never anything to return to the shop as there was always a beano on the last night to clear all the food and sweets !
The Cinder toffee was legendary!!!
On a more sombre note , I remember being in Cloughs shop ( buying sweets of course ) in 1963 and being told the news that JFK had been assassinated in Dallas and there was speculation that World War 3 might break out at any moment which was pretty scary for a 12 yr old!!
Jack Goodwin has sent us his memories of the Cheltenham Terrace / Guildford Place bombings:
> My Father, who was a tram driver, finished his shift one night at Byker Tram Sheds around 10.00pm. and began walking home to Bolingbroke Street, Heaton. His route home took him down Tynemouth Road. Suddenly bombs began falling and at one point he actually saw the parachute of a Parachute Mine. He said he recognised what it was and dived into the front porch of a nearby house. When he eventually got home to find us sheltering under the stairs of the flat next door, he was badly shaken and his clothes were dirty and his boots were badly scratched.
> I was nine years old at the time and next day I walked the short distance to Guildford Place to see the damaged caused by the land mine. The area was being kept clear of civilians but the rescue services were working and I saw several stretchers being carried from the wreckage of the houses. The nearby trees were damaged but had clothing hanging from branches where the blast had deposited them and personal possessions such as books and small items of furniture were scattered all around the wrecked houses. I still remember there was a smell of masonry but also an unknown smell, which I now realise must have been the smell of the high explosive.