Eric Dale was born in 1937 and in about 1939 moved with his family from Corbridge Street, Byker to Eighth Avenue in Heaton. Like many of us, he clearly remembers many of the shops of his boyhood but, even better, from our point of view, he returned with his camera in the 1970s, 80s and 90s.
Here he takes us on a walking tour of some of the highlights, from the Avenues where he grew up and along Chillingham Road and back, where he was sent on errands every Friday. Inserted are photographs he took years later, alongside some taken this week.
On Second Avenue from Meldon Terrace going south: east side, on corner of Tenth Avenue I remember a small sweet shop and penny lending library at the no 1 bus stop. Opposite on Meldon corner was Thompson’s Red Stamp Stores. (Ed: This was a chain of grocery stores, which started in Blyth and spread throughout the north east.)
Next, a shop which recharged the glass-encased wet acid batteries (accumulators) which powered the household radio/wireless on the basis of take a spent one to the shop, pay your sixpence and get a freshly charged one in return. There was a chip-shop on King John Street corner. Opposite corner had a general dealer. (Ed: this corner is now residential properties.)
On the corner of Balmoral Terrace and Second Avenue corner was an off-licence. If it still exists it must be the longest established retail outlet in Heaton. I lived in Eighth Avenue from the early 40s and remember as a very small child seeing deliveries being made to it by a steam-driven lorry or dray.
(Ed: Well, yes, it does still exist! We’ll have to delve more into its history and see whether it rivals Clough’s for that title.)
Finally, on Second Avenue between First and Third, there was John Cook, gents’ hairdresser – and part-time bookies’ runner!
On west side of Chillingham Road going north was the Chillingham Hotel, then on the corner of Seventh a newsagent.
(Ed: This may have changed hands a few times but it’s still a newsagent’s)
On the opposite corner was Miss Welch’s, which sold sweets. Higher up Seventh on south side, McGee’s Bakery.
(Ed: Again, like many of the former shops in the Avenues, it’s been converted into a residential property.)
Back to Chillingham Road: Harrison’s Bakery (‘Harrison’s Pies are full of flies, it’s a puzzle to find the meat!’) was where mam always specified a ‘high-baked’ wholemeal small loaf which cost sixpence farthing. Wedgewood’s general dealers was on Eighth corner.
On the opposite corner was the Grace Fairless second-hand shop, where on rainy days I used to swap comics such as the ‘Beano’, ‘Dandy’, ‘Knockout’ and ‘Film Fun’ for older editions that I’d take along. As I grew older myself the favourites became the boys’ story papers ‘The Adventure’, ‘Hotspur’, ‘Wizard’ and ‘Rover‘; featuring ‘The Tough of the Track’ and ‘Smith of the Lower Third’).
Elliot’s general dealers (a small refund when returning pop bottles) was next in the row, later taken on by John and Mary from Chester-le-Street, then came Laidler’s fish and chips (‘a fish and threepen’orth’ was the usual order, but when new potatoes were in season chips went up to fourpence) and thenTurnbull’s newsagents.
Still on west side of Chillingham Road, after the school and on Meldon Terrace corner Fong Wah Laundry, then The Pie Shop (without doubt the least savoury chips in Heaton: greasy, limp and soggy), The Clock and Model Shop, Dennison and Graham chemist, the garage and filling station. (Ed:Note the 1984 prices in the photo. If our maths can be trusted that’s £1.85 for 4.55 litres or 40.66p a litre. About £1.15 today? But maybe that’s not too bad compared with the rise in cost of, say, going to St James’ Park?)
Grosvenor Ballroom, The Scala Cinema, The Co-op, a newsagent and Post Office on the corner of Cartington Terrace. Finally Riddells Photography, another very long-established business.
On east side from the south: on Spencer Street corner L.C. Garage, then Oakley fireplaces/plumbers.
Hedley’s the greengrocer was on the corner of Rothbury Terrace (there was a sloping wooden ramp down into the shop) and then Trutime Watch Co, which many older residents will remember well.
Nearby was London and Newcastle Tea Company and, just before Watson’s Paint and Wallpaper, Clough’s sweet shop. Yes, younger readers might not know there used to be more than one Clough’s – they must have bulk bought all the blue paint in Heaton!
My Weekly Shop at the Co-op
Each Friday tea-time it was my job to walk along to the Co-op on Chillingham Road with my little shopping list and bring back the bacon (literally). Shopping there was a nightmare as each product was allocated a different counter. Sugar had to be weighed up and neatly packed in blue bags, lumps of the desired weight were hacked from barrel-shaped slabs of butter, cheese was similarly cut from large rounds and bacon thinly sliced on a hand-operated machine. Nothing perishable was pre-wrapped. And there was the additional tedium waiting whilst the relevant coupons were clipped from ration books. Jam, when it was available (and during the war it was always Damson) at least came in jars! Because there was no queueing system in place it was a struggle to maintain position in the mass of adult customers clamouring to be served….and I was only a kid less than half their size. I hated it, and it’s no surprise that I can remember our Co-op dividend number to this day. Just for reference, ration allocations per person per week in 1945 were 2 ounces butter and cheese, 4 ounces bacon and margarine, 8 ounces sugar. All rationing ended in 1954.
A big thank you to Eric Dale for his photos and memories. We’ll be featuring more in the near future.
Can you help?
We hope that you will add to what we know about the shops on Chillingham Road and in the Avenues. Either post your comments direct to this site by clicking on the link immediately below the article title or email firstname.lastname@example.org. It would be fantastic to find some more old photos.
Or if you are able to volunteer to take photos in Heaton today, again please get in touch. Think how interesting they will be in a few years time.
The top corner of 9th avenue (north side) was a shop called The Dairy back in the ’50s. It was where we stopped on the way to infant school to buy our sweets: Rainbow Sherbet, Penny Dainty toffees, Fruit Salad and Black-Jack chews, and a little more besides. She didn’t stock a huge variety of sweets but catered primarily to infant school-children.
At the bottom of Tenth Avenue, on the corner of the lane opposite the junior school entrance, was a curious, half-remembered shop that sold home-made toffee apples and ‘toffee cakes’. It was an unusual form of soft toffee, more akin to caramel or fudge I suppose, and dusted in desiccated cocoanut. The toffee cakes were simply toffee poured 3/4inch deep into a little, pleated, greaseproof cake cup and again dusted with cocoanut. We were told, very soon after I began junior school, that the shop was out of bounds due to hygiene issues! Not a welcome state of affairs as far as I was concerned: other than rotting my teeth they never did me any harm, and I absolutely loved them.
The fish and chip shop on the corner of King John Terrace was a glorious alternative to school dinners on many a sneaky occasion in my junior years.
It’s so good to finally see a photo of the Chilly Road Clough’s. I must ask the dynamic duo if they have a picture of the Sandyford Road shop too.
More evocative memories, Keith. Thank you!
I don’t know whether Ian or Alan have a photo of the Sandyford Road shop but, until they saw Eric’s photo, they didn’t think one existed of the Chilli Road branch. It’s fantastic that more and more information, memories and photos of Heaton are constantly being unearthed, thanks to members, locals, exiles and visitors to the website. Keep them coming!
And another thing: that Balmoral Off-License was the only one at our end of Heaton. As far as I can remember, the next available one was a little area beside the Heaton Road entrance to The Corner House Hotel: just between the door and the lane, and accessible without entering the bar. It was only big enough for about two customers at a time.
There was an off licence in Heaton Hall Rd. It was one of 3 shops, only one of which survives as “Groovy Sounds”. The 2nd. Ave. chip shop was run by Robinsons in the 50s and 60s, Patsy Robinson was in my class at Chilli Rd.
I lived on King John Street in the 50/60’s and I think there was an off license at the bottom of the street and the corner of second ave.,
Any relation to Paul? I don’t remember it Anne but it was one street in the opposite direction from my regular route to and from school, whereas Balmoral was not. Predominantly, I walked up King John Terrace, but occasionally Balmoral.
You are absolutely correct John, well-done you; I had completely forgotten about that one. Can you remember what else was there? I can’t.
I was struggling to think what I used to buy, back in my school-days, for lunch at the chip shop, and considering options throughout chip-shop history I arrived at the answer: pasty and chips. Pasties and pies were all I could remember being available alternatives to fish. Can you, or anyone else, remember alternatives in the ‘fifties and early ‘sixties? I don’t even recall mushy peas. Certainly not battered sausage, or curry and chips.
Keith the 3 shops in Heaton Hall Road were a ladies hairdressers in the premises now used by Groovy Sounds, then the off licence I mentioned and then a sweet shop/general dealers. The “footprint” of the two lost shops is clear. As you will remember this corner of Heaton used to be busier as Heaton Station was so close. Looking at passenger numbers Heaton Station was very busy in the early 20th C. and even post war it was popular for leisure trips to the Coast. All those people may have made these shops busy.
There was an off licence attached to the Northumberland Hussar, I was often sent there to get crisps, sweets and drinks for my family. This was in late 70s when Alf and Muriel ran the pub.
Right Ruth, I was never along at that end; farthest I got was the baths.
An Off License attached to a pub must have been a regular thing, but it always seemed something of a curiosity when we visited the one at The Corner House.
Thank-you John; I can vaguely remember a sweet shop on Heaton Hall Road, but a hairdressers was always the one premises we men never gave any attention.
I’m sure you are correct: Heaton Station was a busy place, and even more so when the riverside line was open, feeding commuters into the riverside industries; as well as the coast route taking workers to the shipyards.
If my memory serves me there was an off-licence opposite the garage on Chillingham Rd. between the dry cleaners and the tiny Cloughs in the ’40’s and ’50’s. Perhaps someone may remember this one?
i was an apprentice butcher at rw burrell on chillingham road from 1962 til 1967 and i remember there was the hadrian grocers also on chillingham road but i am unable to find any photos, i believe it was on the corner of chillingham road and tosson tce on the east side of the road.