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Madeleine Sturgen (nee Cox), 2005
Memories of the High Street

Madeleine Sturgen (nee Cox)
The shop and living accomodation
Rollie Cox's Fish Shop & Fish Supper Rooms

I have such sweet memories of the 'Chocolate Box' in Rushden High Street. We lived opposite - my father, Rollie Cox kept a fish and chip shop there. My brother Dick ran a Tomlinson's Chocolate Christmas Club and on the front of the catalogue it read 'Pay what you like, when you like'. I was too young to understand that you only got what you paid for. I used to sit with my eyes glued to the pages of that catalogue wondering what delights I might get for Christmas. My friend, Jacqueline Millard's father used to keep a fruit shop nearby - Billy Millard's Fruit Shop and Jacqueline and I used to spend our pennies and halfpennies there. In the sweet shop there used to be whipped cream walnuts, sugar mice, sugar cake decorations and the most delicious sugar fondants, which you could buy individually, and Mr or Mrs Tompkins would pick them up with little tweezers and put them into a box. In the winter the shop was warmed by an anthracite burner, which used to glow a warm invitation.

Battersby's Grocery Shop stood at the bottom of Queen Street
Battersby's - High Street & Queen Street corner
My mother used to get her groceries from Battersby's and the grocery boy would call for her order and deliver it the next day. I used to like going into the shop - clunk, clunk, across the wooden floor, all the biscuits and dried fruit in special containers on display and the sugar and the tea in little blue bags.

Sometimes, we would go to Hugh Willmott's for green groceries and I used to have a bag of loose grapes for about a penny.

I think my favourite shop was Croft and Nichols the stationers. All the fountain pens, pencils, crayons, paints and paper and bottles of ink; all different colours. Everything of the highest quality.

I can remember most of the shops in the High Street from about 1934 onwards. It used to seem that the traders in the High Street were one big happy family.

Madeleine Sturgen

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