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High Street - Remembered in Verse
north Map of The High Street circa 1900 south
This poem is taken from a scrapbook for 1986, kept by Susan Hollowell, recording the events of the Housemartins.
Memory's Mighty Store

Here's a thing to get you talking,
Try some mental High Street walking
Starting up at Percy Wills
Or opposite, just outside Hills.

Horsley's — they're still going strong
But Robinsons have long since gone.
Warren's 'new' shop's selling togs,
Their old shop's just gone to the dogs.

And Mrs. Warren’s sitting room
Is cashing in on the organ boom
While upstairs, where she kept her bed
They'll wash and perm your pretty head.

The Express clean your clothing (dry)
Where once stood the M.N.I.
(Perhaps you can remember who
Had the place before them, too!)

Abington's will fit a suit
Where Bernard Palmer laid his fruit
Anglo Swiss sell cakes, all right,
but no Wright pies on Friday night,

Skinner's sweetshop is no more,
It's Osborne's little office store
(Though tried by several other folk
That mostly wound up stony broke)

Stanley Cutmore's neat showcase
Has long since found a bigger place,
Flavell Hart are doing fine
Still, at number thirtynine.

Frazer, Son and Mackenzie
Which stood where Whitings used to be
(You must remember that, you jokers!)
Now it's an Insurance Brokers.

The Waverly Temperance Hotel
Has vanished with it's coffee smell
And Fine Fare, once so proud and new
Has been and gone and vanished too!

Roe Bros followed Knight and Son,
Both went to oblivion.
I don't know what the new bloke's got
They simply call it Super Spot.

(The jewellers they did not alter
When Geoff and May retired to Malta)
Webbs, Groome's and Wilsons' are in situ
But then you'll wonder what has hit you.

Where Cleavers' Chambers used to rise
Bishops appears before your eyes
(I should have mentioned old John Blunt's
For they have gone, and Stanley Hunt's)

From round the block, in George Street, too
For they bought up the old B.U.
Gramshaw's - Succoth - no sirree!
That's the Co-op grocery,

And Succoth Place and Orchard place -
No houses now, just parking space.
The Grocers' shop, all sadly missed
Would make a sep’rate shopping list;

Lipstons', Maypole, H. and C.,
Putnam's, Star and Battersby -
More recently the Internash-
ional has died through lack of cash.

And Downsway, opened up as Stitchers -
The wind of change blew up their breeches.
Too many shops in Rushden found
There weren't the shoppers to go round.

You may recall with joy your plates
Of fish and chips and peas at Bates.
Or bargains big or bargains small
Knocked down to you at Feather's Hall.

The Palace and Theatre vied
With one another and supplied
The greatest flicks, the brightest stars -
Now they both sell motor cars.

Remember Mrs. Hope's pork pies
And haslet - sights for Pre-war eyes!!
The new-style High Street's just a mess
But QUIET dear, that is PROGRESS.

So that's my list, I pass to you.
Let's have your sweet remembrance, too.

Stanley (alias Jack) Cutmore - 1986

Northamptonshire and Bedfordshire Life Magazine 1975, transcribed by Susan Manton

Poetry – a selection of readers’ verse
The Gentle Valley Poems of Rushden.

High Street Revelry

Bonfire Night! And there used to be
A crimson yellow flash in the dark,
The whirr and sizzle of the Catherine Wheel,
The innocent rocket
In its flight of brief flame
And the heat of the Bonfire scorching the face.
But it was a more wonderful time
Which I had at Poole’s
Peering over the counter
At the cavernous mines of excitement.
The box upon box of Roman Candle & Thunderflash –
And all for me to choose.
Ah! Poole’s what a cornucopia
Has closed and how changed that shell
Into a café for the Saturday morning meeting
And gathering of boy and girl.
Boy and girl meeting with a flash like a firework,
Bright and glorious, then lost in the night.
The High Street! And there used to be
Ward’s Corner and the Penny Bazaar.
The Old Post Office,
The wall near it with trees
Drooping their memory of village life
For anxious shoppers to smile at,
The farmhouse burning on a summer evening,
The Coffee Tavern.
And the Palace and The Theatre
Where the gentle valley
Learned of the world outside.
And, answering the call of modernity
Shrieking from the flickering pictures
The Street dispensed with the old
And caught up with the feeble and new.
I see now the chromium and the glass
Like the bright garish flash of a firework
And know the real joy was in the possession
Of the street where I lost my youth.

Roy Hill,
17, School Lane,

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