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From an interview by Margaret Shelton in 2008. Transcribed by Jacky Lawrence
Joyce Moore
1927 map showing Woburn Place
Woburn Place
I were born on October 15th 1920 at number 13, Woburn Place. Now there were fourteen houses in Woburn Place, we lived number 13. The first one, number 1, was a hat shop and the last one, number 14, was a little general shop. My mother was a tailoress and my father made disabled peoples’ shoes in that little house. From Woburn Place, you can still do it now, get through into the High Street. The bottom of Woburn Place was Timpsons, the shoe shop. A pair of shoes, they sold men’s and ladies but mostly ladies, were 12/- a pair and next door to that, going up the High Street, towards the church. Well, there were two or three shops but then Croft and Nichols were a lovely shop to go in. They sold coloured pencils, all art material, a Miss Good she kept that. Next to that were butchers, Russells, they were pork, I think they were just pork butchers and they kept trotters and trained trotters, they then went to the New Inn at Wymington.
The entrance from the High Street into Woburn Place.
High Street entrance to Woburn Place
Photograph of Batterby's shop.
C. W. Battersby
Then there was another butchers and then, there was Battersby’s. Now Batterby’s also had a shop in Higham, Miss Batterby’s, but that specialised in biscuits. All the best biscuits, loose ones in tins come from Battersby’s. Then there were Queen Street and then at the other side of Queen Street was another grocery shop. I’m forgot the name now and they specialised in bacon. They had an open window in the summer, the window shot up, and they had the joints of bacon and that in the window. Star’s Supply, that were the name of it.

Next door to that was the Louvre and before I went to school I went in the Louvre for my mum. Usually a reel of Silko to match this bit of material what she were making up and it were 2d. The Louvre were a lovely shop, a Mr. Walden kept it and he had a gold tooth. This gold tooth fascinated me but he were ever such a nice man, and the shop were all drawers. Whenever I went for a reel of Silko he pulled one drawer out, everything were kept in drawers. Up the stairs they sold hats, ladies hats and children’s hats and next door to that were Liptons."The shop on which the sun never sets" were on the wall in tiles and it were always crowded. They specialised in teas, there’s hundreds of little tea caddies about now from the 1924 exhibition. We had two on the mantelpiece, polished them every week, they were brass.

The Wesleyan Chapel The Succoth Chapel
Wesleyan Chapel on left and Succoth on right

Then of course the Wesleyan Chapel. I never went to the Wesleyan Chapel much, I went to the Succoth Baptist, strict Baptist and I always wanted to go to the Wesleyan where all the other girls went; but no, I went strict Baptist.

I had an older sister, six years older than me and I think that’s why I knew the shops because I used to go with her. Then there was another butchers and then there were the opening to get up to Orchard Place. Now Orchard Place were just like Woburn Place.
Orchard Place, between the High Street and Rectory Road.
Orchard Place

After that there was Burtons, that were a lovely big grocery shop and they had a licence for drinks so you could only buy wines and spirits during the licensing hours. That were ever such a big shop, they specialised in tea. Then after Burtons, oh, there were the jewellers shop, it later became Wanklyn's which were originally the other side of the road and it’s still a jewellers shop. Then Bon Marche, they sold children’s clothes and then the Co-op shop. Oh, Willmotts, Willmotts were a big shop they sold milk, vegetables one side of the shop and sweets the other. One of the Miss Willmotts served in it, she became Mrs Newell later, and that were a big shop with red and blue tiles on the floor.

Rushden Co-operative shop.
Rushden Co-op
Then there were the Co-op shops, Co-op ladies shop and the Co-op offices were at the back of them. I know children on a Saturday afternoon used to go to the Co-op bank, which was at the back, to take 3d a week to save and then, after you’d put your 3d in the bank, you went across the road to the Palace, to the matinee, and dozens of kids done it. I did with my oldest sister. It were 1d in the front, which were all on forms, and it were 2d at the back to sit in the cinema seats and there were two different films a week.
The Place Cinema entrance in the High Street.
The Palace Cinema

Then, there come the Succoth Chapel, it were a nice chapel. I only went to Sunday School there, I very seldom went in the evenings. I don’t remember the minister’s name but the Sunday School teacher were Mrs. Bennett and she was from Radburne and Bennetts the leather people. She taught to say the alphabet in texts "ask and it shall be given to you". Every letter of the alphabet we learned a text from it, I were perhaps only four or five. Then of course next to that were Gramshaws, they were a nice furniture shop and they sold furniture and Osnath prams. They were the best prams you could get, ever so expensive. They also had a shop the other side of the road and then, there were the opening up to George Street, I don’t think people know George Street. Wills’ wireless shop were at the bottom and on the one side of George Street were the Temperance rooms where the Temperance Band always practised.

Gramshaw's furniture shop. H. Wills electrical shop.
H. Wills

Next to that was, well, it were two or three dress shops and then Archie Kaufman took it, they were Jewish people, they originally lived in Wellingborough and they had a shop in Wellingborough but he opened one in Rushden and they were nice clothes but they were quite cheap. Next to that there were Blunts. Blunts sold clothes and in front of Blunt’s shop was a big copper name plate with Blunt on it. Then there were Webbs, Webbs mens shop. I know Webbs were number 26 and course there were Knights the jewellers shop that were on the corner of Coffee Tavern Lane. Opposite that were the Coffee Tavern and the men that worked in factories used to take their dinner with them, people from Irthlingborough and Raunds they went in the Coffee Tavern to buy a cup of tea. They all stood at the front of the windows drinking their tea.

Then Fraser and MacKenzies, originally it were Whitings, they sold pianos, sheet music and they had the piano tuner. I always remember him, he used to come and tune our piano and it were 2/6 to tune a piano but he’d only perhaps do two in a morning and two in the afternoon and his name was Archie Dickens. He were a very good piano tuner and when he finished he always played the same bit of music called "Narcissus" because it got all the chords and everything in.
Whiting's shop which later became Fraser & MacKenzie
A very early photograph of Warren's
Then Hodge's, Hodge's weren’t a very big shop originally but they sold all things, do it yourself things and then, Warren's the butchers. Warren's were, I think it’s Wills' now, but Warren's were a nice butchers and we always went to Warren's for our butter. ‘Moonraker’ that were the name of the butter and we always went to there. Then there was Ward's, they sold a little bit of grocery, I never went in there much then course round the corner there were two or three shops. One sold all bespoke shoe making, Claridge's, a lady, a Mrs. Claridge served in there and they sold hemp wax end everything for bespoke shoemakers. Then it went up to Newton Road, Gerry Hyde's.
Photograph showing the cottages next to the Wheatsheaf.
Old Cottages next to the Wheatsheaf
The Wheatsheaf, yes and then there were one or two old houses, ever such low built houses and I remember going in one of those houses the first one, going up the stairs to see an old lady. When you looked out the window you were looking on the pavement and it were upstairs. Her name was Mrs. Stock, I went with her granddaughter and then there were these two or three houses which were pulled down. Then there were Baker's they were cattle dealers. Old man Baker he were the most foulmouthed man I’d ever met Mr. Baker. He were a cattle dealer, and before there were many cars about he always had a car and always in the back of car were one or two calves.

Then of course next there were the Griffith Street and then Dr. Davies lived in the house at the bottom of Griffith Street. Years afterwards I were married and lived across the road from there. We lived in, oh, the shop were number 20 but there were a few houses down a yard and then we lived next door to number 20 and that were number 38.

Now down the other way from Woburn place were Millards’ fruit shop, they lived at the back, everybody lived on the top of the shops. Then Seckington's, that were florists, they made wreaths and bouquets and they had a little nursery that went up the back of Woburn Place. Then Tomlinson's sweet shop, that was ever such a high class shop, children didn’t spend much money in there because it were too expensive. Next to that, this is going down the right hand side, was Hedley's chemist. Now that poor Miss Hedley who served in there she were bothered with us kids because she used to give us their adverts leaflets, Gibbs Dentifrice. We used to plague her to go in this shop to get these.

Phillips & Son
Then Phillips', that were a nice shop, that were a lovely shop. Sold bed-linen materials, oh, all sorts for the haberdashery trade. Sheets, they sold beds I think and then there were another chemists, Wright's. I never went in there much because I were plagueing Miss Hedley up I suppose.
Seckington florists and seed merchants.
Marriot's Farmhouse in the High Street
Marriot's Farmhouse
Then the, oh, there were Marriott's farm house. Oh, that were the most beautiful house in the High Street, why they pulled it down I’ll never know. Next to that were the best shop in Rushden, Payne's cake shop. They sold bread but they sold every sort of cake, it was a long counter that went the length of the shop and they sold every sort of cake you could think of. It were pulled down or altered and it were made the gas house shop.
Payne's bakery and cake shop
Payne's Shop

Then Miss Butlin's baby-linen shop and she sold embroidery silks, transfers and when I went to school we used to go into Miss Butlin's to buy our silk. Because when we went to school you bought your own embroidery silk.

Keller's fruit & vegetable shop.
B. Keller & Son
Then there were Keller's they had lovely bow windows and they went up Victoria Road, and Keller's house were at the side of the shop, but they used to, kind of, throw the goods in cupboards and in the windows. They didn’t set it out nice, not Kellers but old man Keller, he were quite a notable character. Then on the other side of Victoria Road was Roe Bros. Now, the brothers Roe were Councillors in Rushden but what I remember most about them was they sold materials and when you bought anything they packed it up with brown paper and string and they packed beautiful parcels up. A beautiful staircase there, you went upstairs for hats and things and well they sold materials, materials, on big bales. They used to pull it out over the counter and because we had a lot of material, because my mum were a tailoress.
Roe Bros. drapers shop.
Roe. Bros
Photograph showing the houses just before Ellis & Everard.
Houses next to Ellis & Everard
Then, next to that were Walpole Smith's. They baked bread, it were only a smallish shop but I think it were a good bread round because all the bakers delivered bread and they all made it, but it smelt beautiful when you went in Walpole Smith's. They had a horse and cart to deliver it because everybody did then. Next to that were a fish shop. I think originally it were a fish and chip shop but they sold wet fish. Oh, originally I remember it being a sweet shop, Taylor's and they also had a shop at the bottom of Queen Street, but it were Taylor's and then Jessie Robinson had it for a long time. It were a library and books and lots of things. Then of course there were Ellis and Everard's. There were a row of houses up the steps and then it were Ellis and Everard's.
The house later known as the Belgian House.
The Belgian House
Then the Belgian House, apparently Belgians lived in it during WW1. The only people I remember living in it were Wheeler's. Then the Railway pub, Mrs Perkins, who were a councillor for many years, her husband's people kept the Railway pub and I think she lived at the Rose and Crown higher up. Then of course there were a little cafe and then there were Bates' fish shop. When I knew it they had supper rooms, fish and chips was done ever so well, I had chips nearly every night. If anybody gave you a penny, you had a pennyworth of chips. But what I remember mostly about Bates' was they had a supper room, fish chips and peas were 3d in the supper room. But what I remember most, hanging up were a row of mugs with Oxo on, bigger than cups, they were lovely.
Bates fish & chip shop and supper rooms.
H. Bates

Then, of course, there were the solicitors, Wilson's had it afterwards, but I don’t remember the name of I, know there were an old lady lived there and she rode a bike and she used to go to church a lot. But she always rode a bike with an umbrella up. T thought she were old, she probably weren’t. Then there were a big ironmongers, they sold everything, paraffin, iron, everything. Next to that, that’s coming up the High Street, because I used to go out with a girl, her name were Marjorie Neal, and her house were in West Street. But the back way were the back of these ironmongers and there were a paint shop and outside of this paint shop were a rocking horse, so that’s why we played in there.

Then of course there were Putnam's, they ground their own coffee and it were a big grocery shop. They had a lot of shops, Miss Robinson from the garage higher up, I think she were a Putnam before she were married. Then next to Putnam's was Haigh's furniture shop, they specialised in Jacobean glass, they lived up Griffiths Street. Then opposite that, the other side of West Street they sold toys, they sold everything, I’m forgotten the name. I know I had a doll from there but they weren’t there very long.
Haighs furniture shop.

Then the bakehouse took it over and then next to that well, it were Iliffe's. That were one of my favourite shops because they had lovely stands, china stands to set the goods on in the window. They were a pork butchers and when Mrs Iliffe and her husband took it over they cooked the meat at the back and that’s where the shop were that made the bread and the cake shop and that. The only thing I didn’t like, on the wall was an alsatian’s head. I remember most the lovely stand, they’d take the ham, the ham what you’d carve on the tall ones were at the back. I can’t remember the little shop next to it what they sold, it’s only just recently been closed.

Then of course there were Bugby's fish shop. Grandfather and the Bugby brothers, they kept it and Jim’s mother died when he were twelve and she were Sophie Dykes from the Rose and Crown. When she died they went and lived over the shop and they used to do their window lovely. They sold every sort of fish, the family specialised in plucking poultry. They sold all poultry and and all fish it really were a nice shop, they used to hang it outside. Then of course next to that were the pawnbrokers, there used to be a notice on this shop, it said the pledge office, it were pawnbrokers, but they sold everything.

They sold lovely things, they sold all cutlery and ever such nice things, but they were a pawn shop, not that I ever, people didn’t pawn things very much then. Then of course there were the West End club down there. It were just a tin hut, my dad were a member of the West End club because he were a club man and living up Woburn Place the West End club were near. It were a wooden hut with a big stove in the room and I used to go in because while my dad were a club member, if you wanted a drink, you could take your kid in. Like Saturday night had dances there and they had a dance band and then they had concerts, Sunday nights club concerts were ever so good.

Rollie Cox's shop with him in the doorway
Rollie Cox's
Then of course, next to the West End club, were Rollie Cox’s. He sold fish and that but he had just a bare light bulb, he didn’t have a shade or anything on it, he had a bare light bulb. And Mrs Cox, they worked hard I can remember them, they had the chipping thing, they pulled the handle. Yes, Mrs Cox’s granddaughter, she said. 'My grandmother was always trying to get the best chips.' They sold all wet fish, shrimps, shell fish, everything but it were mostly a fish and chip shop. Then of course next to that were the Feathers. The Feathers has been altered a lot, there were the Feathers hall, people used to hire the Feathers hall for a sale. A Mrs Hogg kept it, a Mrs Hogg and her son.

Then it was Yard's florists, they sold everything. They sold raffia seeds plants, I don’t think they sold flowers but they sold anything to do with the horticultural trade. Next to that were a shop, I’m got an idea they just sold dairy produce and then I remember Woolworth's being built. There were two or three shops there and they were pulled down. There were a butchers shop because it used to flood. The drains down Queen Street didn’t take the water and the manhole in the High Street used to come up and that butchers shop used to flood. Then there were Poole's. Poole's sold prams, tea services, toys. They were lovely windows, not bay, a rounded window. Fascinated me because I used to think, well how did they get that glass curved, and they were lovely windows, those. Next to Poole's, oh, there was Curry's, I think Curry's were there and then they moved up the street a bit further because Curry's sold bikes.

I had a bike from Curry's, Hercules they were cheaper ones, but Curry's sold them. Then there were a stone wall. Oh, the Bazaar, I remember the Bazaar coming. You could walk in and a Miss Cave kept it and she wouldn’t let us kids in. ‘Go on you kids I ent ‘aving you in here.’ So we never ever went in. They sold soap and it were similar to Woolworth's and it were called Penny Bazaar. Well, there might have been things a penny. Oh, I know what they did sell a penny, which I did used to get, little celluloid dolls, a penny, tuppence and sixpence. I always dressed these dolls because my mum had always got odd bits of material and I spent hours dressing dolls. Then there were a wall, it were the gardens of some houses, you know, down Duck Street. There was a hairdresser there, a Miss Tall, but it were a lovely cottage and Miss Tall’s place were ever so nice and it were behind a stone wall.

Then there were the Post Office, that were a lovely counter, lovely polished counters and there were quite a few people there. Cross the road were the Rose & Crown, then of course, where the Ritz is, it were it were ruins when I were young. It were the John Cave’s factory been burnt down and I called it the ruins. The main door is still there, of the factory, the main post, it’s still there. Then there were the shop next to the Rose & Crown, a men’s shop. I don’t think they sold suits, they sold all things, overalls and work things because you see it were all shoe factories.
The old Post Office showing the wall and gardens next to it.
The Post Office

Next to the men’s shop it were the Palace. For the best seats, you went in the front but for the cheap seats you went in Alfred Street. The doorkeeper, his name were Jack Coles at the Palace. He used to walk there, he ruled everybody with a rod of iron. ‘Shift up a bit, shift up a bit and let her get in.’ Took sweets in but never took drinks in but everybody smoked. Then course there were the tobacconists next to them, Neville’s, and you could book seats for the Northampton New Theatre and two or three things at Mrs. Neville’s. Mrs. Neville done it the mother. A lovely smell in there, I can remember that. Tobaccos and they also run coaches and taxi service. Mrs. Neville were a nice lady. Ross Neville he took it on afterwards. One of the Nevilles married a Miss Butlin who kept the baby linen shop.
Neville's, tobacconist etc. next to the Palace
Robinson's Newsboys
Then next to Nevilles there were Gramshaw’s other shop. Gramshaw’s that sold prams and tea services. One side of the street sold furniture and that was a nice quality. Gramshaws and Haighs sold lovely quality furniture otherwise you went Co-op. Next to Gramshaws coming up there were the Miss Grosses, they sold baby linen and they sold transfers and embroidery silks. Then next to Miss Gross’s then there was the men’s very high class clothes shop. Can’t think of the name, she were one of our best customers. Then there were Robinson’s. Robinson's were the most beautiful, they sold everything. If you could get upstairs to Robinson’s you could spend a day. They sold papers, they had about ten delivery boys. Then course over the road were Mr. Fleeman, another chemist’s shop. Oh, there were Wright’s cake shop next to the Miss Gross’s and they sold all fancy cakes.

Then next to Mr. Fleeman, at one time, it were Schwart's opticians. Next to that were the Lightstrung shop and they made bikes and they sold them in that shop because I had a Lightstrung bike from there. Then course there were Taylor’s furniture shop, they sold prams and furniture. That weren’t so high class as Gramshaw’s or Haigh’s, but they were alright, they sold reproduction. The furniture were made at Olney. Then there were Jim Knight’s. At Jim Knight’s you knew all the news, it were a men’s barbers and he were a wholesale tobacconists and it were high class barbers, but all the news come from Jim Knight’s.
Swart Opticians

And another ladies shop which were very high class, which had nice rounded windows were Betson's up Wellingborough Road, on the corner of Dayton Street, it were on the corner. There were Miss Mole's, the butchers and Mole's, the grocery shop, next door. But Betson's they sold children’s clothes as well. My sister and I had a red coat from there, it were ever so expensive and I remember these red coats, do you know they went on forever. Of course you only wore them for Sundays. They were lengthened, my mum lengthened them with a bit of, she called it astrakhan and new astrakhan round the collar and then, I wore my sister’s. I’m sure them red coats went on for ten years. Mrs. Betson was sister to the two Mr. Abbotts and mum made shirts. They were ever such big people you see, in the summer she made them out of material called cambric but in the winter she made them out of winceyette. When I went to the Louvre for shirt collars they were size 22.

Another thing my mum done, she used to turn coats. People used to bring a coat, she used to cut it all undone, she had a sharp knife, she sat there all night. When we were children she didn’t do so much at night, machining and that, she did it in the daytime when we were at school. But my dad sharpened a little clicking knife, it were with a sharp point. She used to go down the seams and cut these coats undone and turn them the other way round so they were made out the wrong side of the material, she could usually do the lining exactly the same. But everyone she did she said the same thing, she grumbled about the pockets because to take a pocket undone and put it round the other way were very difficult. Sometimes she’d put a new collar, a velvet collar, but if she done it straight she used to charge 2/6.

She cut it undone, made it up, I always think that’s why they called them turncoats. She made it up the other way of the material because the inside’s always different and it were half a crown. I know one lady; she used to meet me out of school and she’d charged this lady a half a crown and she couldn’t afford it, which was quite possible. ‘Will you come up for sixpence a week.’ So she met me out of school and we used to go and collect this sixpence a week until my dad said. ‘You’re wearing more than that out in shoe leather.’ So she had hers for two shillings.

My maiden name were Rockingham, my mother’s name were Chapman and she came from Lowestoft. Her Christian name was Florence and I’ll tell you another thing, she was a big hymn singer. My two sisters and me, all our birthdays were in October, so we always had a family party for the grown-ups for the family in October and Christmas, with a piano. People all stood, round a piano and sing. My mum was ever such a big hymn singer and at the end of every party, birthday, Christmas, whether there were kids’ parties or not one of my uncles used to say. ‘Come on Florence we’ll have the hymn.’ And this hymn was "Brightly beams our Father’s mercies from the lighthouse evermore". It upsets me to hear it now. Every party we had this hymn.

I went to Alfred Street School and then I went to Newton Road and then I went to the Intermediate. When I went Mrs. Hensman were headmistress and she remembered my sister. When I left I went in a shoe factory and I will say I loved machining. Grenson’s, which were high class shoes. You see all the factories in Rushden they specialised. One made Army boots, Grenson's, they’re still on, they make, they were high class and the boss of Grenson’s lived at Knuston Hall, old Zoony Green they called him.

In Glassbrook Road the bottom of that Windmill was still there and I remember saying to him. ‘Well what’s that?’ And he said. ‘It’s the bottom of the windmill.’ There were houses there and me godmother lived in one of them, but I can never remember them taking it away. It seemed as if it were there for a long time, probably took it away when I were on holiday. Because see we used to go to Lowestoft a lot because me mum’s relations were there. It were just a bottom and it were apparently stone and it were painted black. The Windmill club, which was opposite, my grandfather were doorkeeper there. Then the new Windmill, were built in the 1930s. I’m sure it were 1930s and that were a lovely place when it were built. The only thing that I didn’t like were stone stairs. One entrance for the club and one entrance were for the hall and they were stone steps, I never liked them.

Well me granddad, he weren’t me real granddad, me mother, me grandmother married again and he worked on the Council. He worked for Rushden, it were Urban District Council then which, and he did paths. He used to carry a ruler in his pocket so that the paths were level. When they’d repaired them the paths had to be level but it were a different gang that did the paths to the roads.


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