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Heaton Road Shops: then and now

Our full-colour 32 page book takes you on a walk up Heaton Road, showing you what some of the shops used to look like, telling you a little bit about their fascinating history and introducing you to current proprietors.

Heaton Road Shops Then and Now cover
Heaton Road Shops Then and Now cover

We’ve trawled archives, corresponded with descendants, collected memories and, just as importantly, interviewed today’s shopkeepers so that they too will be remembered by future generations.

Sample spread from 'Heaton Road Shops: then and now'
Sample spread from ‘Heaton Road Shops: then and now’

You might know that Ricky, who runs Heaton Village Store, is from Malaysia but bet you weren’t aware that one of his predecessors was born in Newfoundland and another, born in Madras, described himself in the 1911 census as a ‘swimming teacher and tea dealer’?

Another spread: Wild Trapeze and the original Co-op
Another spread: Wild Trapeze and the original Co-op

Some Heaton History Group members remember the old Co-op well:

‘My sister remembers the smell of coffee in the provisions department and I can remember the big tubs of butter on the other counter…’ Keith Fisher

but how many of us have talked to Anthony and Alan Blevins of Wild Trapeze about their music and art?

Limited edition

We only have 100 copies, priced £5.00 (plus p & p)  at Heaton History Group’s talks from Wednesday 23 September or by contacting

Photos, information or memories of Heaton to share?

We’d love to hear from you. Either message us from the link underneath the title of this article or email



  1. Val Hamblin sent us some memories of Heaton Road shops by email from Canada. Her Grandma (Cockburn) used to have a shop on Heaton Road (what’s now the Funky Duck) – Val has provided us with a photo for a future article or publication:

    I’d completely forgotten about the Co-op until my cousin mentioned it relation to the butcher’s shop, then ping! There it was. I think the London and Newcastle Tea Company was on the same side as the butcher’s –my Grandma Cockburn went there often. And to Bookless’s where she was friends with one of the ladies who worked there. Those were the days when women went shopping (with a shopping bag!!) every day—no fridges or Ziplock bags to keep things fresh. I also remember the Pork Shop, which was ALWAYS busy. The smell was tantalising. And wasn’t there an Italian ice cream/coffee bar across the road?

    I did SO enjoy your website—sent it to my sister in Texas and she loved it, too.

  2. Christine Urquhart, now living in Norway, sent some memories:

    Thank you for the interesting pamphlet on the Heaton shops on Heaton Road. I remember vividly a few shops.

    The Coop where my mother got free pork bones every Thursday and made scrumptious meat soup with it ( She always used a lot of carrots making it so tasty) I do remember the coffee machine too and the sawdust on the floor. Opposite the Coop was the grocers shop where we always queued for our turn as it was so popular. We got fresh vegetables and fruit with a lot of variety. When I came to Norway in 1965 there was not the variety that I knew of from my childhood. In fact food here was pretty awful by comparison to our choices.

    The Italian ice cream parlour was very popular, last shop before the park!

    Further up the road not far from the railway line was “The Pork shop” The smell of peas pudding outside the shop was very tempting. There was a sweet shop on the corner. As we lived nearer Chillingham Road (Eighth Avenue) my mother used the shops here.

    We had a butcher shop for our meat ( remember eating trollop) I remember that my mother paid him once a week when my father got his wages Then we had John’s the grocery shop. He was always in a good humour and used to toss the products up in the air! ! It did happen that he dropped them too! Turnbull the newspaper agency on the corner. They were a good family and Mr Turnbull delivered the newspaper. Remember the colourful magazines on Tuesday. Then we had the Bakers shop with scrumptious bread and pies! I went to school with one of their sons and he was very overweight! On the corner was a cafe where the workers had their lunch and dinner. On the other corner a sweet shop with an old lady. She sold cigarettes. I used to buy them for my mother!

    On the other side of Chillingham Road the cobblers who we visited often. Seems remarkable now when we buy new shoes when old get worn out. I remember him always complaining when we came with holes in our shoes! So my mother had all she needed of small shops just a few yards away and all of these shops had real people that gave my mother a social context. I remember too when thy all disappeared and my mother went to the new large self help stores. I think she enjoyed that, being able to pick and choose freely.

    Looking back I see there was a lot of qualities in those shops and the food my mother bought was first rate and fresh. We are not so lucky today. Fish and meat are packed and lie in the shops for days before selling. Frozen food is “fresher” than fresh food. I have a lot of nostalgia for the “good old days”

    Another interesting fact is that the shops were multicultural on Heaton Road. Something to think about with the surge of refugees we are getting now
    Best wishes


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