The Lost Shops of Ashton-under-Lyne

Following on from last month’s Lost Precinct feature

Ashton Market (from Bow Street)
Ashton Market from Bow Street: though several shops have come and gone, Ashton’s market hall and open market remains the town’s centrepiece. This Iceland on the right used to TESCO’s Home and Wear store.

Owing to recent responses from our A to Z of Defunct Retailers, it was suggested that a localised version of The Lost Precinct post should be written.

Your wish is my command.

For the purpose of this follow-up post – and future posts within this thread, I will focus on a particular town on a street-by-street basis, with emphasis on main shopping streets. Given the greater local interest (and the fact I’ve spent goodness knows how many man hours there), I shall start off with Ashton-under-Lyne.

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Stamford Street:

As detailed elsewhere in cyberspace (and of course in a ‘Down Our Street’ feature on this blog), Stamford Street was Ashton’s main shopping street prior to the opening of Metrolands’ shopping precinct in 1967. Most of the shops on Stamford Street moved to the precinct with existing retailers later falling into decline, thanks to Park Parade cutting Stamford Street into four parts.

Today, charity shops and a branch of Cash Converters dominate Stamford Street Central with the western part the car park for Tameside and Glossop NHS Foundation Trust’s offices. The easterly part, cut off by the BT roundabout has no shops up to the college. Cockbrook has suffered as a local neighbourhood centre with reduced variety of shops and the loss of its Post Office.

As Stamford Street leads into Stalybridge (for the purpose of this post), Stamford Street’s entry will go up to the Ashton boundary which is Stamford Park.

VuData: occupied two units on Stamford Street. Its first one was opposite Egret Mill and a single storey building. The second one was next to Blues’ nightclub and traded till 1996.

Antique shop (name unknown): on the western part of Stamford Street was an antique shop opposite Cordon Bleu. I remember passing it once in 1988 and seeing a Wurlitzer juke box in the window.

The Mighty Mouthful: a sandwich shop opposite Corden Bleu. I had a meat and potato from there once which was truly appalling, so I neatly disposed of it nearby.

Cordon Bleu: a freezer centre on the corner of Cavendish Street. Closed circa 1985 and remained empty till recent demolition for NHS offices’ car park.

Sewing Machine shop (again, name unknown): this shop remained on Stamford Street up to its demolition in 2005/06. It offered a variety of reconditioned sewing machines and parts.

Ashton-under-Lyne Cooperative Society ‘Arcadia’ department store: once the flagship store of Stamford Street with food hall, home furnishings and clothing. Had upstairs and car parking on extension roof of 1960s construction. Showroom windows bricked up in style akin to retail park architecture in 1990, possibly contributing to its demise in 1993. Stood empty till demolition along with Spread Eagle pub in 1999 with Lidl store opening on the site in autumn 2000.

National Westminster Bank: there was two sites on Stamford Street. One, a former private house, is in use as The Church of Nazerene. The second was inherited from the Manchester and Salford County Bank next to Clarence Arcade. Second base in use as retail bank till around 2000 along with then second branch on Warrington Street/Old Street before becoming a business centre. Had outdoor ATM facilities till 2009. Now closed.

Kenworthy’s Jewellers: their advertising posters dotted many a part of Ashton and Stalybridge with one seen by Alma Bridge till the late 1990s. Shop located next to Conservative Club (later Yuppies and Sparx nightclubs) dominated by giant ring shop sign.

Littlewoods: Ashton’s branch of Littlewoods was in use till around the 1970s when some branches became Hitchens stores, selling ex-catalogue stock and end-of-line products. The Littlewoods name was revived when some Hitchens stores were known as ‘Littlewoods Discount’ stores. Cash Converters have occupied the unit since 2010. I once saw Nightshade from Gladiators in there back in 1993, as she was doing a pantomime at Tameside Hippodrome.

Comet: the Hull based electrical store chain had a unit on the corner of Stamford Street and Delamere Street within the Clarence Arcade building. They left the centre of Ashton for Snipe Retail Park in 1994.

Rejects Direct: During the late 1990s, the Rejects Direct chain had a handful of units which traded in end of line furniture. This was taken over by Walmsley’s Suite Superstore in 2004, who occupied the unit till 2010. It was also Ashton’s first Montague Burton store prior to moving to a purpose built unit on Old Square.

Potters’ Wheel: their last shop was opposite Clarence Arcade next to Barclays Bank. A more recent closure, Potters Wheel had a corner unit on the same block as the Pitt and Nelson prior to moving around 1997.

F.W. Woolworth: Ashton’s main Woolworth store was situated on Stamford Street prior to the opening of a purpose built unit on the corner of Mercian Way/Warrington Street. After a variety of uses, it was Ashton’s first Cash Converters unit in 1994. A fire in 2008 saw Cash Converters absent from Stamford Street till its 2010 move to the former Littlewoods unit. The ground floor is in use as the charity shop for the Wooden Canal Boat Society.

John Collier: Montague Burton’s rival – known at one time as The Fifty Shilling Tailor had a corner unit on Stamford Street/Warrington Street. John Collier’s closed in 1985 with some stores becoming Fosters branches.

Montague Burton: during the 1930s, Montague Burton’s company opened a wealth of purpose built shops, with the aim of attracting refined clientele. One characteristic of Burton’s stores was the use of first floors as billiard halls and social clubs. Burton’s Old Square unit (also handy for The Feathers and Yates’ Wine Lodge at the time) was in use till the late 1960s. Today, the first floor unit houses Club Denial with the ground floor unit subdivided, including a motorcycle showroom.

The Lamplighter Tearooms: opposite The Stamford pub (or Loose Moose), it was neatly placed for St Michael’s Square and Manchester bound buses.

Lloyd’s Bank: almost on the corner of Stamford Arcade, it remained in use as a bank prior to TSB’s acquisition of Lloyd’s Bank in 1998. Later became a fun pub known as ‘The Beach’.

George Hirst: an independently owned gentleman’s outfitters, it was situated on the eastern side of Stamford Street near the Albion United Reformed Church. Closed in 2001, it remains empty.

Powrie’s Cameras: on Stamford Square, it was ideally placed for photography students at the Ashton College of Technology.

Ashton-under-Lyne Cooperative Society [Stamford Square]: prior to around the early 1980s, this was another ACS branch. It later became Paul Dean’s Bookmakers before being acquired by Coral. One reminder of the unit’s previous ownership is the neighbouring Cooperative Funeralcare branch.

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Old Street:

Lynne’s Larder: a sandwich shop and café opposite the former baths [Hugh Mason House]. Demolished along with Ashton Models and Roberts Alternative Place for the St Petersfield development.

A Sir Roberts’ Alternative Place: opened in 1976, it remains Tameside’s oldest alternative therapies clinic, albeit on Oldham Road. Its previous unit was located near The Witchwood and The Red Lion pubs.

Ashton Models: a most imposing unit which sold almost every model railway item or Airfix kit you could think of. I used to love the place for its wealth of models in the window and Hornby OO gauge stuff. It was opposite the former Cockshoots garage which was a branch of Barden Mill in 1996 before demolition.

The Model Shop: whereas the bigger Ashton Models majored in Airfix kits and bigger motorised models, the smaller model shop was better for model buses and books. It also had an excellent transport section with many a good local bus and rail book. The author of this blog purchased his copy of Greater Manchester Buses by Stewart J. Brown from there in 1999!

Blasters: before B&Q, most Tameside, Oldham and Rochdale DIY fanatics would consider Blasters as their first port of call. It occupied a former removal van depot. Closure in 1994 saw the Old Street unit become a ladies only gymnasium and fitness centre.

The Reporter Office: after moving from its bigger premises on Warrington Street, the Ashton-under-Lyne Reporter moved to Old Street, in one of the then new shopping precinct units. They stayed there till around 2008. Today, the unit is in use as a school uniform shop.

Bellybusters: in the early 1990s, this cheap and cheerful sandwich shop was popular with local taxi drivers and locals alike. Closed around 1997.

Mr. Freeze: independent freezer centre, opened in 1995 and closing the following year. Later became Step in Sports and remains in use as a sportswear shop, albeit under a different name.

Spencers: sadly, the Ashton-under-Lyne of 2017 has no specialist bookshop to its name. Spencers was a brilliant place if you wanted art materials and a book from the same place. Books were downstairs with art materials upstairs.

Ethel Austin: moved into its unit in 1994, around the same time when Ashton-under-Lyne Jobcentre moved from Old Street/Warrington Street. Closed in 2010, became a branch of Pound Empire before closure in early 2012. It is now occupied by Fulton’s freezer centre, which made the short hop across the road from Ladysmith Shopping Centre.

Nurseryland: once Ashton’s answer to Mothercare taking a unit opposite Cantors. It was extended by means of a portable building, similar to a school canteen. Closed in 1987, it became another unit for It’s Incredible before becoming Just Wot U Need in 1990, again using the extension. It is now an amusement arcade with the extension latterly in use as The Curiosity Corner discount shop.

Cantors: on the corner of Warrington Street, this was a furniture store with good windows for browsing in. Cantors were taken over by Harveys in 1996 with the Ashton store moving to – you’ve guessed it – Snipe Retail Park. In 1998, it became a Superpound Pound Shop before they moved to a Ladysmith Shopping Centre on Staveleigh Way. Since 2009, it became a branch of the posh Harrington and Hallworth Jewellers.

Pinkerton’s Shopping Arcade: opened in 1986 under this guise, it comprised of smaller shops in a standard shop unit with leanings towards collectable items. One unit, Ace Computers, had a wealth of Commodore 64 and ZX Spectrum games and peripherals. Outside their unit would often be three arcade machines, reconditioned for further use. The owner, an artist, would sometimes sell examples of her artwork. Today, Pinkertons’ unit is now a discount furniture store. The artist continues to paint and exhibits her works under the name of ‘Lizzie van Dottie‘.

Farmhouse Café: upstairs from Pinkerton’s was the excellent Farmhouse Café, which was open till 1996. Food was often freshly made with generous portions. They also did – in my honest opinion – the second best chocolate milk shake in Ashton.

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George Street:

Brooke Bond and Company: Ashton-under-Lyne is the birthplace of Brooke Bond’s enterprise, with their original shop occupying what is now Molly Malones’ bar.

Soundsearch Records: a fine independent record shop with a good range of music from indie to easy listening. Some of this fellow’s record collection came from there. Soundsearch, losing out to the multiple chains, closed in December 2002.

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Market Avenue:

Famous Army Stores: close to the Koffee Pot (today’s Sorrento’s Café) was the Famous Army Stores. An over-ambitious expansion programme saw the chain’s collapse in the early noughties with the Ashton store among many affected. It was at one time Burrow Brothers’ Tea Blenders’ shop, as detailed by the sign on the corner of Market Avenue/Wellington Street.

Jerry’s bookshop (I’ve forgotten the name by the way – help is most appreciated!): Jerry’s bookshop and newsagents had a good selection of local books with the former stored in the basement and newspapers at street level. Today, this unit is occupied by JRS Models, who also have a further stall on Ashton’s open market.

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Warrington Street:

It’s Incredible: a walk around shop, which opened in 1986, it offered discounted fancy goods. It is now a branch of The Money Shop.

Ashton-under-Lyne Crown Post Office: in spite of a spirited campaign and petitions, the Post Office moved from their purpose built surroundings to the WHSmith store in 2006. It was one of six Post Offices to move to WHSmith stores along with Slough’s and Hammersmith’s branches. Nearer home, Altrincham’s, Stretford’s and Chorlton-cum-Hardy’s branches would suffer a similar fate. A Coral Bookmakers and two other units including an Age UK shop occupy what was at one time a proud Ashton landmark.

DER: part of Radio Rentals chain, circa 1968. Closed around 1997 following integration of Radio Rentals/Granada businesses.

Shoe Sellers: short lived discount footwear shop with unboxed shoes tied to wooden rails. Now Shoe Zone.

Abbey National Building Society: unit opened early 1970s after revamp of George and Dragon site. Following merger with National and Provincial, Abbey National concentrated Ashton’s operations in N&Ps site in Ladysmith Shopping Centre.

Allsports: had ground floor unit next to stairs for David and Chohan’s upstairs unit, side of Thomas Cook. At one time, the chain had two Ashton branches including its then new branch in the Arcades Shopping Centre in 1995. Both branches gone with latter now The Body Shop.

David and Chohan: upstairs, David and Chohan was a local stockist of affordable male and female fashions, also close to Top Shop/Top Man. Later became Music Zone Trade Direct in 2000 prior to that unit’s closure in 2007 and move to Ladysmith Shopping Centre.

Cooper’s Supermarket: local chain, taken over by Fine Fare. Became a Shoppers’ Paradise store in early 1980s before closing and becoming Tameside’s first McDonalds franchise.

Snow City: occupied one of a handful of units in the then new Tameside MBC Council Offices, overlooking the bus station. Shop moved from indoor market food hall. Snow City chain taken over by Heron in 1999. Heron store moved to Ladysmith Shopping Centre eleven years later.

The Fullmonte: dual floored discount store with overzealous security personnel. Food and fancy goods were stored on the ground floor with clothes upstairs. Did a roaring trade in imitation England shell suits in 1990 with badly drawn variation of Umbro logos on sleeves.

The Wooden Spoon: opposite the bus station prior to moving in the 1980s to the bus station itself, the original branch occupied a former Co-op store. They moved to a unit besides the Manchester stands of Ashton bus station in the late 1970s. Demolished for The Arcades: Gabbotts Farm’s shop on site.

Crazy George’s: the first of what would become in future years a handful of Extortionate Credit Purveyors (including cheque cashing places and the like). Crazy George’s had a unit on Warrington Street in the Arcades Shopping Centre since 1995, before becoming a Bright House store. They later moved to the former Mothercare unit in Ladysmith Shopping Centre.

Wyldes Pet Shop: one of two shops next to the Prince of Orange, seen on many a 1970s bus station photograph. Demolished to make way for approach to The Arcades Shopping Centre’s car park and side pedestrian entrance for bus station.

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Bow Street:

TESCO: the Home and Wear store was based there till 1984, before becoming an Iceland. It used to be quite convenient for the taxis if you were carrying frozen food or fresh produce from the market with you.

Beaverbrook’s Jewellers: closed in 2010. Now a women’s outfitters’ shop.

Silvio’s café and bakery: later became Three Cooks before closing in 2005. Empty till 2009 when it reopened as a café with adjoining bookmakers. By 2014, the bookmakers closed, becoming an extension of Newton’s amusement arcade.

Kwik Save: opening as Shop Rite, it became a Kwik Save in 1972, with separate counters for alcohol [Liquorsave] clothing, flowers and butchers in addition to its checkouts. It became a Somerfield in 2001, much to the disdain of regular shoppers. This proved to be short lived, with B&M Bargains taking over as the current tenants.

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Market Street:

Burgess and Dyson: Ashton’s main art shop offered a wide variety of materials over two floors. The ground floor was split level by one step where the back room had sketch pads. The front room had pens, paints and the like, with the upstairs room being a mini art gallery. Today, it is occupied by Taylor and Wood Estate Agents.

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Ladysmith Shopping Centre:

Given its 50 year history, the Ladysmith Shopping Centre now deserves an entry. A more extensive article on the shopping centre is also available for your perusal.

Radio Rentals: later became Cash Generator. As a branch of the Bolton-based retail chain, it closed in late 2016. At one point, its DVD shelves had twelve copies of the remake of Oceans Eleven.

Music and Video Club [MVC]: the 1998 refurbishment saw the eradication of smaller units and its second storey. Underneath the office block, the main entrance was relocated allowing more retail space. One beneficiary of this was MVC. Offering Woolworths and Andy’s Records some competition, it had a good console games section and offered discounts for holders of their discount card.

In December 2005, MVC went bust and were taken by Music Zone in 2007. They too went bust a year after with some former stores taken over by Fopp – who too went bust – and were taken over by HMV. Ashton’s store later became now a branch of M&Co. After their liquidation left the unit vacant, Specsavers moved in during 2014.

John’s Super Store: another discount store with overzealous security personnel, next door to Wimpy. New units leased by Bon Marche and Heron now take their place.

North West Gas showrooms: in use as a gas showrooms till 1996. Became First Stop Stationery, 2000 – 2001, before becoming a Poundworld.

Mothercare: now Bright House, your flexible extortionate payment rates store. Tameside’s Mothercare is now at Crown Point North, Denton.

Visionhire/Granada: closed in 2000, now Greenhalgh’s bakery.

TESCO: the food section of TESCO was situated on Staveleigh Way whereas the Home and Wear store was on Bow Street. It was converted to the Victor Value discount store format in 1985 (the name revived after TESCO’s 1971 acquisition and integration) before these were sold to Kwik Save. From 1989, it remained a Kwik Save store till 2007 before becoming Home Bargains.

Timpsons: shoe shop later became Discount Shoe Zone in 2007, closing two years after with Shoe Zone moving to Warrington Street. Became a Pao Pao coffee shop prior to its closure in March 2012. The neighbouring key cutting and heel bar shop remains open. It is now the Bake & Take cafeteria.

Rumbelows: closed 1996, now Holland and Barrett.

Koffee Pot: once situated on first floor unit above Rumbelows, they relocated to a new unit in 1994, hitherto occupied by the Lancastrian Tandoori. Closed 2007: first floor unit now in use by Costa Coffee.

Cardshops: ground floor unit, now absorbed by Boots as part of 1998 remodelling.

Currys: moved to Snipe Retail Park, 1994. Later became a Textiles Direct shop before becoming a discount card shop. It is now a branch of CeX, a purveyor of secondhand DVDs, CDs, and electronic gadgets.

NORWEB [the North Western Electricity Board]: moved to the precinct in 1967 from showroom in Ashton Indoor Market. Former showroom became market’s food hall. Precinct’s showroom moved to Snipe Retail Park in 1996, following decision to go out of town and sell stores to Scottish Power. Internaçionale took over unit in 1997 and remain there today.

Granada: occupied by Santander prior to December 2016 (hitherto Abbey National and National and Provincial’s unit). Empty at present though awaiting future tenants.

Computerbase: first floor unit above Cardshops.

Fentons: long gone outfitters’ store vacant for, seemingly, the most part of the 1980s and some part of the 1990s.

Cameo Cosmetics: offered posh cosmetics till the mid point of the noughties. Sign on back tradepersons’ exit still present.

B Records: another first floor unit, opened in 1986 for a brief period. Now part of first floor JD Sports store and lift to car park.

The Sound House: another long gone independent record shop, opened in the late 1980s though had more staying power than B Records. Now an amusement arcade.

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Any More Honourable Mentions?

This is probably a small number of Ashton shops which have disappeared over the last thirty years. Feel free to add to the list or elaborate on the above shops mentioned herein. Most of which have been based on my personal recollections and over thirty years of wandering around, or being chauffeured around in my pushchair throughout Ashton-under-Lyne’s town centre.

S.V., 11 June 2012.

Updated on the 16 March 2017.

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145 thoughts on “The Lost Shops of Ashton-under-Lyne

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  1. Great memories from this article. My mum took me shopping around Ashton from a baby and a lot of the shops I remember. Also a great mention for my father in law’s Blasters shop which is now long gone as unfortunately so is he

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    1. Hi Karen,

      Thank you for your comment. As a historian/regurgitator of Ashtonian retail premises in this piece, I thought it would have been foolish to have omitted Blasters.

      Take care,

      Stuart.

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      1. I remember because my mum used to take me there after a trip to the library, it had a pinball machine and one of those weird milk turning dispensers or is my memory going
        . Does anyone have anymore info on the place

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    1. Hi Chris,

      I too remember MidaSports, a few doors from Snow City at one end and Colourvision at another. They were the sole supplier of my school’s rugby/football kit (the navy blue and thick orange hooped shirts of All Saints R.C. High School, Dukinfield).

      Bye for now,

      Stuart.

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    1. Hi Paul,

      Indeed I do. It was a popular alternative seating area to the wooden benches facing Greggs. In over 30 years of going to Ashton, pushchair and on foot, it never worked. The up escalator by Currys didn’t and nor did the lift on the side of Boots. The Boots store is more or less in the same unit as of before. It used to straddle two units with a Cookshop concession in one part (nearest the seemingly permanently defective fountain) and the chemist part nearest the escalator. The latter part is now Peacocks’ store with Boots taking over the space once occupied by the fountain.

      I miss the old style Ashton-under-Lyne precinct, in its dowdy down-to-heel glory. Even so, it does seem busier than it used to be before its 1998 refurbishment. Particularly when compared with 1994 – 1998 when The Arcades emerged.

      Bye for now,

      Stuart.

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  2. There was The Lounge cafe, Simla Indian Restaurant and Ashton and District Trustee Savings Bank on Stamford Street. Ashton Co-op also had their “home” stores next to the Wine Lodge. The Groove record shop with coffee bar/club in the basement was on George Street.

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    1. Gosh yes remember The Groove. I remember The Sunshine Cafe Bar on the road leading to centre from Crickets Lane (Crickerdy). I attended Heginbottom Girls Secondary School behind Woolies on Stamford Street and my mum was Manageress of Stoddards Fashions on Stamford Street (opposite the end of The Avenue) two or three shops from Yates Wine Lodge, and Trolly bus stops to Manchester. I remember Pikes men’swear shop on Stamford Street. I had a Saturday job in the market on a grocers stall selling veg, fruit, salads and flowers called Waltons I think.

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  3. As for Warrington Street,
    Before the Wooden Spoon came into being, the chippy opposite the Bus Station was Knights, which was run by my great aunt and her family. There was also Rogerson’s off-licence opposite the side of the bus station buildings, whilst next door, another of my relatives had a sweet shop. Approx where Macdonalds is now, stood the Reporter office. On the same side as the old post office, nearer to Stamford Street was a Boddington’s pub, The White Bear.

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    1. Hi Buspilot,

      Many thanks for the details on further lost Ashton shops. Was the White Bear next to John Collier’s? I thought Marks and Spencer and the neighbouring Top Shop/Top Man store was on the site of the Ashton-under-Lyne Reporter office.

      Bye for now,

      Stuart.

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    2. Reference Knights chippy. I recall that Knights sold battered fish hot or cold. I don’t know what batter they used but the cold fish tasted every bit as good as hot, possibly better – and mum would buy one for the three lads to eat on the walk up penny Meadow and Mossley Road to our home.

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      1. Many is the meal I had from Knight’s Chippy, a beautifully kept, tiled venue, at the bottom of Penny Meadow, opposite the Bowling Green Pub. My acting pal – and fellow Ashtonian – John Savident (late of *Coronation Street*), chatted with me about it over the phone (here in London), not all that long ago, and extolled the worth of their superb fish and chips.
        The other day – when viewing to my dismay an on-line amateur video the new Ashton Covered Market, and lamenting the significantly-absent Pickles Book and Stationery stalls; not to mention Mr. Pickles who sold me all those *Wireless Questions and Answers* and *Wireless Really Explained* construction books – I posted a question under said video, asking where the stall had disappeared to, but all I got was an unhelpful and calculatedly-disinterested disclaimer.

        I left Ashton in 1971 – where I used to be a staff reporter on the Ashton-Under-Lyne Reporter, in the original premises facing the market square, and after the dreadful move to Whitelands former Ring Mill – and moved to London, and all-stations Fleet Street.

        Visiting Ashton, a couple of years ago, I was gutted to the core, to witness the horrific changes, which had the same effect on me that Rip Van Winkle must have experienced, when he came down from the Catskill Mountains, after falling asleep there, and awoken albeit 100 years on.

        I was aghast at the level of destruction in what had been the town of my boyhood, and the way it’s *King Cotton* image has been wilfully wiped-off the map, in favour of turning it into a miniature Milton Keynes, or an all-concrete Dusseldorf doppelganger, in contrast to the wonderful Lancashire, abundant with the warp-and -weft of Lancashire textile culture that town that used to be before I left.

        Everything that had any colour or character to it – such as the Victorian canopy and façade over Charlestown Station – has been razed to the ground,, albeit to replaced by lesser cheap-and-cheerful clinical structures that owe nothing to classical architecture and everything to the miserable laminated breeze-block down-grading of a once-great and stylish Victorian neo-classical Baroque and Rococo-emblazoned Lancashire community.

        The Theatre Royal is gone, Monk’s Garage in Saint Michael’s Square has gone, Park Parade – the grand esplanade of mock-Georgian Victorian elegance, which overlooked the wrought-iron railings high above the meadows and the mills – is now a mini motorway; Stamford Street, the longest and most thriving shopping boulevard in Europe, has been reduced a ramshackle road of tawdry charity shops and boarded-up business-failures, with Old Street the same, and all those lovely terraced cottages that surrounded the Palais de Danse, opposite Williamson’s Ticket Mill, have been razed-to-the-ground.

        Brownson’s the high-class tailors at the Corner of George Street, next to what was *The Feathers Inn* – a beautifully-kept public house – now stands empty, having been vacated by the last occupiers who tried to run the premises as a retail business.

        George Street, once the site of Rowe’s Oyster Bar (Mrs. Rowe move-on to Old Street), with next door Charlie’s Aircraft Model Shop (his later moving the to Old Street also), Mabel Stanning’s ladies foundation shop has gone, along with numerous other privately-owned high-class shops; ones that the modern businesses in the concrete environs of Metroland could never hope to match.

        The dubiously gutted Covered Market has been transformed into a bog-standard shopping mall – one bearing the appearance of any other from Wigan to Wakefield, from Watford to Warminster – and all the good old stalls, and their stall-holders have vanished from existence, without as much as by your leave.

        I’m just waiting to hear that they’ve turned Saint Michael’s & All Angels Parish Church into a warehouse – as they have the Albion Schools, where as a kid I took part in my first wartime pantomime – and that will really put the tin hat on it.

        Meanwhile, I’m wondering why *they* – and we know who *they* are – felt the need to cripple the Avenue (a unique real-time shopping mall, that was ahead of its time, before WWI), and denude it off its shops, such as Redmans, Prices the Bakers, Mick’s Furriers, Geoffrey Gibsons sport and toys, Roland Cartwrights, Lumbs toys, and also their prams shop, Lexicon Library, Wild’s toy shop, Griersons Ironmongers; not to mention to two Allan Shaw traditional grocers shops, where you could by butter from the pat, tea from the tea-chest, along with everything else that was dispensed to you in Dorothy-bags from the bulk storage on display.

        If there ever was a case for writing a book about the destruction of a formerly lovely town; one that was a jewel in the crown of *King Cotton* – and a community, that would out-match the destructive efforts of the Nazis in their WWII blitz – it must be the lamentable *murder* of Ashton-under-Lyne; aye, by persons-unknown, who didn’t come from Ashton or even Lancashire, and by all that is right, should never have been allowed within a million miles of the place, to get their self-acquisitive and callously-indifferent hands on it

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  4. We have loved re living our youth through your pages and It never ceases to amaze us where the time goes.We would like you to add in The Army Surplus store that used to be next to the church with the pillars on stamford street, Stolen From Ivor, trendy male clothes shop we think was on Stamford street too Leigh and Arden’s, The Golden Disc (record shop) that was upstairs in the Arcades near to The other Koffee Pot, Tinothy Whites which was situated next to where McDonalds is now (this is the cookshop that merged for a short time with Boots). I worked there between leaving school at 15 and going to College.

    Claremonts motorcycles was in the West end of Ashton and demolished along with the model shop, King Bill, Red Lion and Spread Eagle pubs to make way for NHS building, courts and Lidl, The sewing machine shop was called Tameside Sewing machine Shop and Mick was the owner. I have to mention Waltons which I believe is one of the few shops (if not the only one!) that is still there and still exactly as I remenber it from my youth. They still have the old wooden counter and drawers full of ‘Just what you need’ items, I bought bunting and red white and blue serviettes in the seventies to celebrate The Queens Silver Jubilee.and they managed to get me the perfect ‘bride and Groom’ for the top of my step-daughters cake not too long ago.

    The Advertiser office was on Booth street and a pet shop opposite sold all kinds of tropical fish. Tameside Hippodrome used to be The ABC cinema and as kids you joined the ABC minors saturday morning. Or you went to the Odeon and finished off with chips and gravy from The Gold Medal which I think is also one of the oldest survivors too. Oh and I saw Elsie Tanner ( Pat Phoenix) and Susie Birchall in Hitchens having a good old rummage through the bargains in the late 70’s! Sorry I am rambling here but I am off on a train of thought that I haven’t visited in such a long time and I am enjoying it.

    What about Memory Lane Cafe or tearooms opposite Hitchens more or less where the outdoor clothes and equipment shop is now.It was a lovely place to go for luch or just a drink and a snack. My son when he was litttle loved it as they had a working counter and a ‘mock’ one with all the old goods for sale with old money prices on the till was a huge silver thing that looked like it weighed a ton! If you bought something ,you could visit the mini museum upstairs for free, he thought it was fantastic. The menu was great too, you could have a boiled egg with soldiers, marmite on toast, little sandwiches and cakes that came on proper cake stands as well as the more usual fayre. Well I am going to get back to reality now but I have enjoyed strolling down memory lane and I hope some of this may be of some use to you, I will come back and visit now I know where you are.

    Bye for now,

    Heidi and Colin Rowe

    By the way, The Best Milkshake in Ashton had to be the milkbar on the inside market. 🙂

    Like

    1. Hellos all round to Heidi and Colin,

      My word, that is one commentary and a half on Ashton’s shops. Owing to the size of your response, I have split the single paragraph into four for brevity. (Some people may find big paragraphs hard to read).

      Your memories of Timothy Whites being in Boots has confirmed my memory of it sharing part of their present unit. I remember it having more subdued lighting than the rest of Boots itself: the harsher lighting was seen in the chemist and audio visual section. That was 1983, back when I was four years old.

      Walton’s not only remains on Stamford Street, they are also available online too (link: http://www.wmwalton.co.uk/index.php?id=home). I don’t remember Stolen From Ivor being in Ashton, but a further two shops sprung to my mind. There was Young Store (which I remember was one of a few shops which took part in Tameside MBC’s Uniform/School Clothing Grant voucher scheme) and Curtiss’ shoe shop – both of which on Stamford Street.

      The Memory Lane café seems to be a more recent departure. I remember seeing it in 1997 though never went in (and always wanted to call in though never did). Perhaps Portland Basin Museum could have been another potential location, keeping with the historical theme.

      I wholeheartedly agree with you on the best milkshake in Ashton. I have been to countless places and found none which could compare with Nadim’s stall in the Indoor Market. That was till last July, over a panini in Preston where Brucciani’s chocolate milkshake was almost equal to Nadim’s in quality. Greenwood’s in Tommyfield Market, Oldham used to come close, though hardly Ashton’s finest.

      Bye for now,

      Stuart.

      Like

  5. im from preston now living in mossley and i concur brucci”s on fishergate are world famous for there milkshakes and ice cream sodas… enjoyed reading your article

    Like

    1. Hi Andy,

      Glad to see you liked the article. Brucciani’s in Fishergate, Preston probably has the best milk shakes in Lancashire. I’ve yet to try the ones at Morecambe’s Brucciani’s along the promenade (though it has been nearly 10 years since my last visit to that café).

      Bye for now,

      Stuart.

      Like

  6. Oh my have i enjoyed reading through all the memories. I worked at the Wimpy bar in the precint when I left school (happy memories). It was facing Mothercare. There was also a round stall in front of the shop that sold things like jumpers and cardigans. I also have good memories of going to Stalybridge with my nana to “drop her time sheet off” then on to Ashton to get the bus back. We use to sit in an upstairs cafe that over looked the bust station (when it was the other way round), and we use to have tea and hot buttered toast. And all before school. Happy happy memories. Thanks for allowing me to share!

    Della

    Like

    1. Hi Della,

      I too remember the round knitwear stall, as well as the Wimpy bar you worked in. The last time I remember calling in, it was January 1995 and I actually treated my sister to a hamburger meal with my paper round money. Wimpy was a nicer, quieter antidote to the brash McDonalds on Warrington Street.

      Bye for now,

      Stuart.

      Like

  7. How well i remember the HENRY square end of stamford street there was mannings pie shop .woods clothing store that clothing was payed for weekly.there was the old penny quarter shop selling home made sweets ,the
    music shop and new days furniture the singer sewing machine shop there was also littlewoods and woolworths stamford streetwas always a very busy street

    Like

    1. Hi Christine,

      One thing Stamford Street didn’t lack was variety; for instance, being able to buy a suit, television set and a settee without deviation. It seems that the New Day Furnishings chain seemed to have met its demise in early to mid 1980s, though I’ve found little on the internet about them. Though I don’t remember Ashton’s branch, I do remember the Singer shops (Oldham’s was on Yorkshire Street).

      Bye for now,

      Stuart.

      Like

  8. Thanks for capturing an essence of Ashton. I can add many more shops to your lists; I will send them in bits and bobs. My memory of Ashton is earlier than yours and most of your correspondents to date. I lived in Ashton from 1947-1969. Here goes:
    Sew and Sew’s Fabrics and Haberdashery on Fletcher St off Market St
    Booth’s cafe on Old St near junction with George St. practically next door was Borsey’s Pork Butchers. On the corner of Market St and Bow St (opposite the Pitt and Nelson) was Covent Garden greengrocer’s.
    Brownson’s Ladies Costumier (posh) in Old Square next to the Feathers Pub
    UCP Tripe shop on George St.
    Harrop’s herbalists on Old Street (just along from Meeks Shoe Bar)
    Two chippies on Warrington st (Prince of Orange end) Sewell’s and Knight’s
    Wilde’s pet shop also on that stretch of Warrington St
    Henry Moon’s on Market St near bottom of Penny Meadow
    Burgess and Dyson’s had a book shop in the Market Avenue (we remember choosing our sunday school prizes from there)
    Queenie’s Inside market sold Marks and Spencer’s ‘seconds’
    Podmore’s sweet stall outdoor market (had a small factory on Williamson St ?)
    mary Ellen Wild (pawn shop) Katherine St
    Manny Showman tailors Penny Meadow
    Jones Music Shop off Bow Street (lttle side street that ran down the side of the George and Dragon (which is no longer there)

    Like

    1. Hi Meg,

      Your list is much appreciated. From your list, there is only Sew and Sews and Queenies in the indoor market I remember fully. I do have vague memories of Wilde’s Pet Shop being next to the Prince of Orange as it was there till The Arcades was built.

      As for the lists or references to any other Ashton shops, keep them coming!

      Bye for now,

      Stuart.

      Like

  9. Can anyone remember the name of the small shopping centre which is now the Ash Tree. If you look from behind you can see that the upper floor (including the automatic doors) are preserved as they were at the time it closed down.

    Like

    1. Hi Jonathan,

      It was called ‘Main Street’. The centre opened on the 01 October 1988 with the centre’s launch marked by 10 weeks of fun activities (heavily promoted in the Ashton-under-Lyne Reporter and The Advertiser at the time). Among the shops was a 526 Jeans store (now the family section of The Ash Tree), a record shop on the first floor, a café bar overlooking the Market Hall and ShuStop – a discount shoe shop next to 526 Jeans. There was two lock-up units where the smoking area of The Ash Tree is: one was a newsagents, with a bakery opposite.

      Bye for now,

      Stuart.

      Like

      1. was there was also a video shop in this little centre I seem to remember taking my children into it.? I do remember the clothes shop yes also a fancy goods shop too wasn’t there? oh and over the road does anyone remember Presto foodstore it was the shop before Wilkinsons they made fabulous bread!…that was about 1981 for a couple of years….but just next door next to the billiard hall when I was a little girl they had a flower shop my dad used to buy my whitsun posy from…happy times

        Like

  10. I used to work in Spencer’s Bookshop. Worked there for quite a few years during the 1980s just after it moved to Old Street. A lovely old-style family shop. Sometimes I worked downstairs in the book section, sometimes upstairs selling stationery. Especially when it was “back to school” time. Great memories. I remember everyone in the team very fondly

    Like

      1. Hiyas to Le Fanu and Margaret Gain,

        I too loved Spencers in Ashton-under-Lyne, and they used to have a sister shop on Grosvenor Street, Stalybridge. In January 1995, I purchased my first copy of the Guinness British Hit Singles book. Also in a similar vein, and equally missed by myself, was Burgess and Dyson on the corner of Market Street and Fletcher Street. Though I do most of my writing online, I still find time to write using pen and paper. Most of my research notes and rough drafts are still done that way.

        Bye for now,

        Stuart.

        Like

  11. Tobin’s was a small confectioner’s on corner of Manor Street and Wellington Road that sold the most delicious wimberry tarts!
    On Turner Lane/ corner with Warre St was Hough’s corner shop and Brown’s corner shop was one block up corner of Winton Street. On Union St (near Junction Inn) was Alec Talco’s icecream factory, a lovely cool place to go on a hot summer’s day (when we had hot summers-remember them?)

    Like

    1. Oh I remember Burgess & Dyson’s! Our rival for artists’ materials! Spencer’s was a lovely place to work. I also worked very occasionally in the Stalybridge branch. I can remember watching Mr Spencer repairing fountain pens with his eye-glass and getting tips on how to rescucitate old pens. The office was full of little drawers with pen components, nibs and dismantled propelling pencils. Him and Vera manned the pen counter. Lovely people; I grew very fond of them. Plus there was a Mr Lowe, while downstairs, Barbara Ann, Linda, Elsie and at weekends and peak time, me. A lovely lady called Mrs Clegg did the accounting. I would alternate between stationery and books. There was a greetings card branch as well, but I never worked there. I started working there just after they had left the street where M&S was (can’t remember the name). It was in front of Meeks/Thomas Cook. For a while the bookshop/Stationers was directly in front of the card shop. Many happy memories of the frantic run-up to Christmas selling book tokens, annuals, Guinness Books of Records, TV tie-ins etc etc. I worked there from 1986-1991

      Like

      1. What a wonderful shop Burgess and Dyson’s was; my always remembering the boss on the downstairs pen-counter, with his seemingly permanently ink-stained fingers – as a result of his handling and demonstrating Parker 51 and other elegant Waterman and Shaeffer fountain pens – all this while in the midst of selling stationery, along with all sizes and colours of high-quality board and cartridge paper along with attendant office-needs.

        After landing my first job – as a junior clerk, in the decidedly-Victorian offices of Hanna Lees Iron & Steel works. down alongside the canal tow-path on Conduit Street, preceding the County Bridge, before entering Dukinfield – I, accompanied by my mother, had a long talk with this marvellous and oh-so-helpful kindly gentleman, who gave me endless advice on typewriters, before I plumped for his suggestion, which was a portable Remington Quiet-Writer, costing £30; something that quite literally led me into Journalism, in a career which started on Ashton Reporter, but a few years later, took me to some of the best Press agencies and then tabloid newspapers in Fleet Street; all this, in addition to fulfilling a commissioned Territorial Army PR remit, before 1990 at which time I returned to Film and Television acting-and-performing in the Entertainment Industry, albeit based in London, where I still live and work today.

        I miss the Ashton of my youth terribly, and still experience the pangs of homesickness for the town where I grew-up and learned so much from people of such worth and honest-to-goodness value; all of which I reluctantly bade farewell to in 1971, when I boarded a new London-bound diesel-electric train at Manchester Piccadilly Station, in a bid to improve my lot, and forward my career, by working in the capital.

        Sadly, I will never see *that* Ashton again, since it has been wiped-off the map by two different groups of faceless, calculatedly-indifferent developers; albeit, nwith hindsight, to be transformed into a concrete replica of *just anywhere else* that can be seen, up and down this troubled country, with its predictably-impersonal (by contrast with what Jim Nadin provided for 10p per mug on his covered market stall) costly-Costas, supercharged Starbucks, Nugget-swallowing Neros along with all the other millionaire-pitched self-service coffee cafes, that have hi-jacked the coffee-drinking everywhere in this country, from Land’s End to John O’ Groats !.

        Well, King Canute tried-and-failed to obstruct the onward-march of human destiny, so I guess I’ll just have to, as they say *take my coffee*, and accept what those planners and developers have left of Ashton – and in common with the rest of its new inhabitants – make the best of a bad job ?

        Like

    2. Hello again!

      Margaret: Alec Talco’s ice cream factory is a little before my time, though I am familiar with the name thanks to the excellent book ‘To Market To Market’, where his ice cream stall is mentioned. There is reference to his Penny Licks where cost-conscious inter-war ice cream lovers could sample his ice cream at a modest price.

      Le Fanu: I miss the local art shops and book shops in Ashton and Stalybridge. Nowadays, anything I would have bought locally 15 – 20 years ago would have to be purchased in Manchester, or online of course. WHSmith is a very poor substitute. The street in question [M&S location] is Warrington Street.

      Bye for now,

      Stuart.

      Like

      1. I recall Alex Talco touring the streets in a pony and trap, selling ice cream. He was a dour character with a slightly humped back and I don’t think I ever heard him speak. Whether that was because he was Italian or not I don’t know. Whilst he would ‘manufacture’ a cone ( we called it a cornet) or a sandwich ( we called it a wafer), defly using a hand held device, most people used to take out a basin and specify a monetary quantity – you got a few wafer biscuits with that.

        Like

  12. “Arcadia”, the Co-op Dept store on Stamford Street was the place to go, especially at Christmas, when they had Father Christmas in his grotto. The assistants had to send any money they took at the counters in a brass tube holder which whizzed along wires to the Accounts Dept who would send back any change and, of course, the Co-op stamps so you could claim your ‘divi’ (dividend). There were other Co-ops all around Ashton including two on Oldham Rd (at Atlas Street) and at Store St. The one at Store St had three separate shops in a row- the grocery, the draper’s and a butcher’s.
    Roland Evans was another purveyor of ice-cream- he had a shop near Waterloo War memorial and went round the estates in his van.

    Like

    1. Hi Margaret,

      I do remember seeing Roland Evans’ vans well in to the 1980s and 1990s. Didn’t he also have a stall at Ashton Open Market? It always amazes me how much market share and properties the Cooperative Societies had in Tameside. I can recall four in Dukinfield alone which are former Co-ops.

      Bye for now,

      Stuart.

      Like

      1. Reference the Co-op presence in Ashton under Lyne. Our local Co-op was on Russell Street run by the Hurst District Co-operative Society. It was quite a complex with the part between Leam Street and Alexandra Street (I still live on Alex.) occupied by a drapers, a grocery store and a household goods outlet. All of these were two storey and above them all on the top one of three storey’s was a ballroom. The premises are presently (early 2013) occupied by a Swaminaryan Hindu Mission. The Co-op cellar was our designated Air Raid Shelter for most of WW2 but we only once went there. Dad noticed that all the floors above were wooden and we wouldn’t have had a chance in a direct hit. Thereafter he constructed a shelter in our pantry, between the two brick walls which were close together. The part between Alexandra Street and Princess Street housed the Society’s offices (now a still unused conversion into flats) and a butcher’s, now semi derelict. The final part at Princess Street is now a convenience store but i can’t recall what it traded in, in the Co-op days.

        Like

      2. Hi Keith,

        It must have been amazing in its heyday. I’ve just seen it on Google Street View and amazed as to how substantial it is. Around our borough, and everywhere else I go, the archaeology and history of former Co-op stores never ceases to fascinate me. I wonder which present day superstores will remain intact a hundred years from now?

        Bye for now,

        Stuart.

        Like

      3. Hi Stuart – yes it is indeed a substantial set of buildings – despite my late fathers concern about it not being ‘bombproof’.
        There are some stone tablets built into the walls. I’ll have a look to read the dates which I know are on them and post them here – but our nearby houses were built in 1901.

        Like

    2. Janet. What a lovely job…being an elf and making children’s wishes come true!! Do,you know about “Ashton under Lyne Now and then ” group on FaceBook. Lots of memories on there.

      Like

  13. More shops have come to mind. Mabel Stanning’s was an upmarket dress shop on the corner of Warrington St and Old Street . Bought my wedding dress there in 1972. It cost £8.50!!
    Allen Shaw was a grocer on corner of Market Ave. at the market ground end. My uncle George used to operate the bacon slicer..
    Freeman, Hardy and Willis had a shoe shop on Stamford street, along from John Collier on the stretch between Warrington st and market ave.
    next door to the old Woolworth’s on Stamford St was a small shop on the corner called Howard’s or Howarth’s which sold ladies underwear, stockings etc.
    further down Stamford St from the old Woolies, was Littlewood’s store and nearby wa Leigh and Arden’s which sold very nice curtain fabrics, cushions etc.

    Like

    1. Hello again,

      On the thisismoney.co.uk website, there is a great tool which is their Historic Inflation Calculator. Your £8.50 wedding dress of 1972 is £94.69 in 2012 prices. Today, the average wedding dress is around £250 – £275 – three times the figure it would have been if they went up with inflation!

      Thank you for your information on further shops along Stamford Street. You may also be interested in another article I have written on the said street in greater detail (link: https://mancunian1001.wordpress.com/2012/01/31/down-our-street-1-stamford-street-ashton-under-lyne/). I suppose Mabel Stanning’s dress shop is now today’s branch of the Yorkshire Building Society.

      Bye for now,

      Stuart.

      Like

    2. Margaret Gain, reference your knowledge of the shops at the top of Stamford St/Market Avenue, the first shop from the Avenue was George Mason’s , the Grocers, as it was there that I got my first job in there on Saturdays, slicing many different cuts of bacon and dressing the window before opening tine at 9.
      Freeman Hardy &Wills was next door but one, the John Colliers, before Warrington St , happy days

      Like

    1. Hi Chris,

      Could vaguely remember Claremonts – or at least that unit, being next to Ashton Models. I think it became a Wedding Shop (this being around the mid-1990s). Adjacent to that was Jubilee Video Centre, which was hailed as Ashton’s premier video library. I remember seeing Betamax tapes in the 1990s (probably the last place I saw them in great number), along with European and Japanese Sega Mega Drive cartridges.

      Bye for now,

      Stuart.

      Like

  14. My Great Aunt & Uncle Bert & Connie Murray owned a Tobbaconist Shop on Stamford Street during the 1960’s I remember visiting it when I was a kid 9 or 10 years old

    Like

    1. Hi Paul,

      Would that have been the one on the corner of Booth Street which is now a Polish shop? If it was, you would have been in front of the DHSS Offices with a bank on the opposite side to the shop.

      Bye for now,

      Stuart.

      Like

  15. does anyone remember TBowers and Son next door but one from Tameside sewing machines shop. they sold fancy goods and handbags and they also had a sports shop, everyone used to come in for Beckenbauer football boots! they even sold guns and crossbows, as well as everything for sport from dart boards to rugby shirts and even a Star trek jersey I bought my brother one Christmas in the 1970’s….Margaret used to work in the sports department the nicest woman I ever knew and Mavis in the fancy goods department, I remember Gareth and all the people who used to work upstairs in the leather shop including Duggie who was a brummie a nice guy, and Derek who also repaired caseballs…it was such an old spooky place but was a real treasure trove of a shop,

    Like

  16. I recall my early days in Ashton and the ritual weekly walk down one side from St Michaels Square to the bottom near the public baths, crossing over near Allisons (Allinsons?) the photographers and back up the other side. On the way down passing Woollie’s and Littlewoods. As a schoolboy I once stole a packet of wax crayons from Woolie’s. More years later than I care to remember I had a fit of conscience and actually called in and paid for them. A shilling, plus some interest which the manager said he would put in a charity box! Leigh and Ardern further down, sold household textiles, curtains, tableclothes etc. They had a central pay kiosk, raised up from the sales floor. When you bought something at a counter an assistant would place your money in a small cylinder, clip it to a carriage and pull a handle. Off went your money, flying along a wire, to be returned a moment or two later with any change due and a receipt. Makes me wonder these days when it takes you longer to pay at at the cash point than it does to actually select your goods! Someone mentioned this as being the system at Arcadia, the Co-op’s central store in Ashton but as I recall it – and I stand to be corrected – it was a pneumatic system where the cylinder containing your money went off to somewhere unseen, in a system of vacuum pipes, from either of the two floors. Allisons, the photographer, used to take photographs of the various church contingents in the Whitsuntide Walks of Witness whose primary route was Stamford Street. Allison used to sit atop a ladder on the pavement with an assistant on the ground loading film into another camera so no one ‘walking’ would be missed. The following day his shop window would be covered in hundreds of photographs – all numbered for you to buy! Talk about enterprise! About half-way down on the left was Clarence Arcade – a Victorian covered arcade of shops at ground level with a balcony setting of offices etc above these. During WW2 there was a British Restaurant occupying three of the ground floor units. British Restaurants were set up by the wartime government where you could buy a hot meal, even if you had run out of ‘rationing stamps’, for the princely sum of 9 old pennies. It probably kept us going, for I remember going there often with mum. She wouldn’t eat but two of us boys shared a 9d meal! Many years later, in her 80’s, mum was an assistant in one of those units at what was probably the earliest charity shop in the town, run by the Salvation Army. It seems that in these days of recession every alternate shop is a charity shop and there are several on the Stamford Street of today. Now, this beautiful arcade is to all intents and purposes deserted. Stamford Street is split up now into several parts, from Stamford Square to the old baths – to it’s probable detriment when many buidings are derelict, including the beautiful Oddfellows Hall which has had several reincarnations as a nightclub etc. Along with Stamford Street the other, once through routes in Ashton, Old Street, Katherine Street and Wellington Road are likewise split up and blocked off, one way etc. with traffic seemingly deterred from the centre in favour of the so called by-pass routes of Park Parade leading only to Asda and other towns, and the new Albion Way which has been a disaster for the Penny Meadow businesses. But hey! Despite having perfectly good ‘bus services we’ll have a new tramway in a couple of years, once more savaging motor traffic, the choice of the masses, as it criss-crosses what routes we have left! Watch out for the first car, bicycle or pedestrian to be crushed!

    Like

    1. Hi Keith,

      An excellent account on Stamford Street in its heyday. However, I would say that the opening of Park Parade bypass and the shopping precinct (1967) did more to damage Stamford Street’s role as Ashton-under-Lyne’s answer to Oxford Street, London (which inspired the Earl of Stamford’s titular thoroughfare). Another mistake was the shopping precinct’s position: being placed on Old Street rather than a few yards off Stamford Street (plus its convenient car park) meant fewer shoppers needing to go to Stamford Street.

      Instead, the precinct should have been developed along Warrington Street, south of Old Street with Delamere Street pedestrianised and a focal piazza along Wellington Street and Wood Street. The Odeon and Caledonia Hotel could have been maintained; Stamford Street, open and indoor markets could have had direct pedestrian links; it could have complemented instead of competed with Stamford Street, and designed in a style more in keeping with the ambience of Stamford Street.

      Sadly, in 1966-67, there wasn’t the same outcry over the demolition of old buildings and concrete was the only game in town then. The opening of Park Parade bypass was also bad for the Co-op and the shops on the western part of Stamford Street. Back then, the dual carriageway and reinforced concrete in the ‘white heat of technology’, instead of frequent rail services and architectural restoration was the future.

      Bye for now,

      Stuart.

      Like

    2. You are right Keith, I worked downstairs in the Arcadia’s furniture dept (c.1961/2) and all cash purchases were slipped into a cylindrical “mini-rocket” and sent, to who knows where?, via a network of pipes.

      Like

  17. hi i remember a lovely boutique where the job centre is now facing gold medal chippy it had a lovely bow window with small panes of glass inside was very cute it was called dicki and dicey,there was another next door cannot remember the name of tht one altho i do think it had bees in the title,also in the precinct next door to wimpy was ladys store called bambers ,bought many a gypsy dress and my first pair of granny shoes there loved it,also oh yes mabel stannings was the place to get bra measurement lol,bottom of penny meadow u also had vics curtains and bedding.i worked in woolies and payed in a weekly fund for there every 20 weeks or so your turn came round to have a big spree in there sorry to ramble on

    Like

  18. there was the bridal shop Stamford st where pet man has just vacated , on a saturday night a gent use to break into the bridal shop and take one of the models a walk down stamford st to chester square,the police used to find him sat on a bench talking to her he was very drunk he did this pretty regular .

    Like

  19. Dorothy Perkins had their 1st shop on Stamford st facing the entrance to market ave .the smallest shop on stamford st was powder box sold all the make up and perfume we ever needed remember the little purple plastic body spray,loved that

    Like

  20. Great site! I seem to remember a Kwik Save being on Stamford Street in 1976. I was 6 at the time. Could anyone confirm this, or was there another supermarket there at the time that I might be confusing a Kwik Save with? 🙂

    Like

    1. Hi Luke,

      If there’s one supermarket I remember seeing on Stamford Street, it was the Cordon Bleu Freezer Centre near the King William IV and Red Lion (early 1980s). The only Kwik Save I can recall from late 1970s to early 1980s Ashton was on Bow Street. It was formerly Pricerite prior to Kwik Save’s takeover of that chain. I would be most interested to see what the Cordon Bleu Freezer Centre unit was before then: the building seemed to have been of Victorian/Edwardian origin and had two sets of entrance doors instead of being a typical purpose built 1960s supermarket.

      Bye for now,

      Stuart.

      Like

      1. opposite cordon bleu freezer centre (the only one in the town where people used to shop from miles away) was T Bowers and son, I used to work there in the early 70’s when I left school at 15, it was a fantastic place, handbags and fancy goods one side and the sports shop the other – upstairs they made leather goods to order and repaired case-balls, you could buy anything form a compact to a full teams football strip to a traveling trunk to visit Australia. I remember finding some really old fashioned football boots in the stock room upstairs they were so heavy I dont know how anyone could have ran in them let alone kick a solid leather case-ball. we had a cleaner who was 80 years old called Maud bless her as well as Mavis who worked there in the fancy goods department and Margeret Walker who worked in the sports department she was a fantastic woman the best, the manageress was Renee Cole who we all lIved in fear of but she too was a nice lady. I remember Gareth Ricards and Anne who, there was a womens dress shop opposite past the dry cleaners called Atlas Modes a “premium dress shop for Ladies!” as well as Jones music shop with a grand piano further down, it was alive and so busy on stamford street in those days but the town planners killed ashton, much as they have done now….Ashton under lyne the shopping town of the north not any more folks “they” killed it, what a shame but sadly as they say nothing is forever

        Like

      2. Hi Linzi,

        The shop opposite Cordon Bleu could well be the one where I saw a Wurlitzer jukebox adorn the window display, some time around the mid 1980s.

        Without a doubt, I would say splitting Stamford Street did most damage to Ashton’s economy over the long run.

        Bye for now,

        Stuart.

        Like

  21. Thanks for the reply Stu. I’m pretty sure it was a Kwik Save on Stamford Street – though I was 6 at the time and still believed Father Christmas was able to deliver presents to our house in Dukinfield despite having no chimney. But i do remember the supemarket having 2 sets of double doors, which made me think it was very similar to the place where Hitchens used to be. I’m. a bit of a Dr Who fan, so any childhood memories tend to be underscored by Dr Who related stuff. In 1976 Typhoo tea ran a Dr Who promotion and I remember going with my Mum and Dad to a supermarket on Stamford Street and them having a big promotion set up for the Dr Who /Typhoo Tea Promo. Saturday afternoons tended to be the weekly shop at Kwik Save but I could be confusing places/memories. Thanks again for the reply, Luke

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  22. ahttp://www.facebook.com/AshtonUnderLyneOldPictures?ref=stream few more for your records,marlands funeral servises which was next door to jones music shop,stamford st brownsons tailors stood where petman was in 1978,ashton typewriter shop was next door and the christian bookshop.old st all in a row were nags head,armers barber shop then rowells furniture and removels also the cheese and bacon shop.old st/market st cornercovent garden markets (now a chemists) tht was back in 1960. also somebody keep mentioning what they thort was a quicksave store i found a picture of a store called savemore which is now b&m,penny meadow way back in 63 cyril hopwoods motor bikes,some of these are pictured on this site,some may like to take a walk back in time. http://www.facebook.com/AshtonUnderLyneOldPictures?ref=stream

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    1. Hi Gill,

      Yes, you are right. The former Kwik Save – now B&M Bargains – was a Savemore. I have a picture of a birds eye view of Ashton somewhere in a 1973 SELNEC brochure. The Savemore store is near the top right of the picture which mainly shows Ashton’s bus station.

      I too remember the Christian bookshop, well in to the noughties.

      Bye for now,

      Stuart.

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  23. Anybody remember the big tropical fish shop on Old Street down past Ashton Models? My father bought me my first fish tank from there. I remember Claremonts on Stamford Street: I bought my first moped from there on HP aged 16. I went back many times to buy new indicators for the first few months until I learned to stop dropping it! Then I got a bigger Bike from LM motorcycles. I remember going to VuData when it was on Old Street, back in the early 80s for my Commodore 64 games. I got carpet for my bedroom from Albion Mill at the Top of Penny Meadow, and then when CB was legalised in 1981, I remember being one of the many CB’ers gathering there to buy “rigs & twigs” when they diversified to cash in on the new trade.
    Going further back when I was a kid I remember the model shop in the Market Arcade had a railway track in the window and you could make it work by putting a penny in a slot. I left Ashton in the early 90s but still have fond memories. By then though the council had started to homogenise the place with standard street fittings, so much it looked like any other Market town.

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  24. The toy shop in the Market Ave which had a train set in the window was Gibson’s. There was another shop further up the Avenue. near the Stamford St end called Lumb’s- sold prams and was later known as ‘The Umbrella Shop’. Inside market hall, had Pickles stationery stall, Redman’s that sold cooked meats, bacon etc., Walton’s for shoes, Queenies for jumpers, cardigans etc. Bailey’s hardware and Gleave’s biscuit stall.

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  25. Lots of lovely memories of Ashton shops many of which I remember. Re Claremont motorcycles – they are responsible for my getting married. I tried to sell my motorbike to them (in 1971) and they refused it as they said that the front forks were twisted and so sent me to another local dealers where I met the mechanic and ended up marrying him!
    I had a Saturday job in Woollies around 1967. I wanted one in Littlewoods as they paid a £1 and Woollies only paid about 15/-. but they didn’t have a vacancy.
    My uncle owned the herbalists near Meeks shoe shop and we used to go in there for ‘coltsfoot rock’. Does anyone have any information on the herbalists or the Harrop family that owned it.
    Ruth

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    1. re Harrops herbalists. I recall their were two shops, owned by brothers I think. I don’t recall the one near Meeks – at least where Meeks is now in the precinct, and I think my memory of it was being on Old Street near the passageway leading to Ebenezer Street/Swan Street. the other brother was on Stamford Street a few shops down from Yates Wine Lodge on the same side. One brother was called Harry – I don’t remember the other brothers name.

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    2. My mother used to take me to Harrops twice a week for a drink of “Blood Tonic”, you could have either sweet blood tonic or bitter blood tonic. Did it work? Well I’m still here!!!!

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  26. re my last post – maybe you mean it was on Old Street near the Shu-Bar – owned by Meeks but trading as the Shu-Bar. Coltsfoot rock – yes! – and liqouirice root, woody twigs which you chewed until they went stringy! The Old Street one, maybe both of them, did Sarspirilla drinks from a huge glass flagon on the counter.

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  27. Robert Kays down near Booth st on Stamford St. Worked on Booth st in 1970s & 80s, also jessops the tailors and one that I think still exists in pretty much the same charm the old cake decoration shop up near market ave on stamford st and Newbits down near Booth st again and Rotten Carrot on old st and lino shop on opp corner to Odeon. All these photos are on the ashton-under-lyne website and Karparts down near old baths. Kaypers where Booth’s cafe was. The Birdcage. heh, happy days.

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  28. Not much on Henrietta Street so I’ll give my failing memory a shake from 60 years ago.
    On the corner at the bottom facing the market was Howarth’s bakers and confectioners. Wonderful home made stuff in there. Further up on the same right hand side was the UCP tripe shop and a little grocery just below the railway bridge.
    There was a barbers in one of the houses on the left, complete with striped pole outside, where I got taken for VERY short haircuts (post war). Past Union Street on the left was another bread and cakes shop with a Turog sign over the door. Next to it was a sweets and fags shop. Don’t remember the names but someone told me recently that these two were owned by the same family.
    Finally there was the post office on the corner of Canterbury St. and a Coop at the bottom of King George’s Playing Fields. Nothing else then till you got the the Coop at the bottom of Smallshaw Lane.

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    1. Thanks a million “Charles Whittaker” for saving me endless hours of brainwork trying to remember the name of the bakery/confectioners on the Market end corner of Henrietta St. – Howarth’s. It was my favourite place of all because of their delicious goodies. My Grandma lived on Albemarle Terrace (immediately past the bridge and still standing, and just past the outdoor licence shop where she would send me for bread which I had to carry in a basket with an embroidered cover over it) – but that was in the 30’s! I left for Canada in 1947.
      The barber/hairdresser shop in the house on the left near Camp st., in the 30’s used to have a framed head and shoulders photo of my Grandma with her beautiful newly-permed white hair. It was to advertise the fact that they gave perms that didn’t turn your white hair yellow!! LOL. I still have a small copy of that photo.
      I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been in the UCP tripe shop – everyone in the family loved everything sold there.
      Hi Meg! Lovely to see you “remembering” names on here – I recall the lovely smell of the coffee that was sold in the Avenue. Wonderful.
      I’m not very good at remembering names now but everyone on this site has brought back some great memories for me. Thank you all.

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  29. I spent many a Saturday in David and Chohan in the early 80s, so much so that the guy that managed the place (Waheed) recognised me in Ashton some 30 years later. I also remember ‘Untouchables’ in the precinct, bought my first pair of Wrangler flares from there in about ’78 and several dodgy suits in the years that followed. Fenton and Burtons also got the odd look in. Loved a night out in Ashton – Yates, The Feathers, The Cavern, The Old Vaults and the ‘Lancy’ Tandoori if I still had the £3 or so that you could get a curry for. I worked just off Richmond St (Kayley Industrial Estate) and used to play football just over the railway bridge at lunchtime, now the site of the new cinema/restaurant complex, I would also go to ‘Cockney’s Chippy’ which was a few streets away. Does anyone remember York House Hotel on Richmond St? Now derelict, it was definitely the place to go in the 70s/80s and 90’s

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    1. Oh goodness so many memories. I came across this site whilt trying to find someone to sell me a wimberry pie. So that I could see how close my attempts to make one were getting to the originals I used to buy in Ashton.;Are there still pie shops?

      I can add a few premises tho I do’t know whether any of them are still there as I haven’t visited Ashton since my parents died over 20 years ago.

      The Trustees Savings Bank which gave me my first cheque book was oppostite the shopping precint on Old St. on the corner was a cinema. Where I saw the Sound of Music, and my first James Bond Film Somewhere close towards Wellinton St there was a shop which sold prams etc that was there well before Mothercare. On the corner with Wellintgon Street was an expensive dress shop my mother used for special occasions. I bought most of my clothes from a shop further up Old St at the corner with the arcade.

      The arcade had a fine selection of shops several bakeries, two toys shops one of which had a train runiing round its window. a Thorntons Choclate Cabin, a book shop, a florist at least two butchers.

      Further down on the opposite side was a music shop just beyond a cinema, The Salvation Army citidal was on the corner before the cinema and tucked in behind it but before the precint was a night club which had been the Palais but I think may have been called The Bird Cage when I went.. There was also a new pub built when the bus station opened was it called The Beau Jeste? If so the joke was on me as I got chucked out for the first and only time in my life for trying to insist they served me in the men only side of the bar,

      The person who talked about Arcadia having a pnuematic system to move cash around the store is correct I remember it well. I also remember huge queues twice a year to collect the divi. I ate my first curry at an Indian restaurant that was on the same side of the road as Arcadia but nearer the swimming baths Was this the first one in Ashton?

      The petman at the top of Stamford St was owned by Pastor Yates of the Pentecostal Church near Stamfoid Park. He also owned the Christian Bookshop next door which if my memory is correct was run by someone called Dorothy.

      Just down the road was Stamford Methodist church which had a record shop next door. Their door was recessed and was very useful on wintery rainy days to shelter whilst waiting for a bus to take me to my gran’s. Opposite the church was a shoe shop.

      That’s more than I intended to write hope I haven’t bored everyone to tears. I would think my time frame is late 60ies /early 70ies. Thank you all for bringing back happy memories.

      Smiles

      Beth

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      1. Hi Beth,

        Though Ashton-under-Lyne has been similarly affected by the downturn and changes in retail mix, you will be happy to find it still has a large concentration of independently owned retailers in its centre.

        As for pie shops, you’ve got the Chicken Barbecue on Market Avenue which does a fantastic line in Meat and Potato and Steak pies. Opposite, a fairly newish addition, Trifles, does very good pies too. As for Wimberry pie, the Indoor Market is your best place. After a fire in 2004, it was refurbished and reopened on the 28 November 2008. If my memory serves me right, I think they sell them at The Pantry (which also does The Greatest Oven Bottom Muffins on this part of the Solar System). Besides the two places I’ve mentioned, you’ve also got the usual suspects selling hot pies and sandwiches (Greggs, Pound Bakery and Greenhalgh’s).

        The TSB is still opposite the shopping precinct, adjacent to the ODEON where you saw ‘The Sound of Music’ and your first James Bond film. Sadly, it is empty. The pram shop you’re referring to is Nurseryland which in the late-1980s became the ‘Just Wot U Need’ discount store. There was also Toddlin, further up Old Street opposite Ye Olde Vaults. Thorntons moved to The Arcades Shopping Centre in 1995 and have remained there ever since.

        The Salvation Army citadel closed in 2008 with Crazy Joe’s furniture store moving in last year. They also occupy the former Pavilion cinema which became a bingo hall in 1966.

        You are right about the Palais being known as the Birdcage. It backed onto two cinemas: the Pavilion and the ABC (now the yet to be reopened Tameside Hippodrome (closed since 31 March 2008)) which became the Tameside Theatre in 1976. Your recollections seem to be around 1967 when both the Ashton Hotel and the Beau Geste were being built. The latter remains popular, though changed its opening hours to cater for older clientele. The former was absorbed by The Arcades Shopping Centre.

        An excellent entry on 1960s – 1970s Ashton there. This was also around the time when my Dad was in his youth.

        Bye for now,

        Stuart.

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      2. Hi Beth – another wonderful selection of memories, about my hometown where I’ve lived all my 76 year life – thank you.

        You ask about whimberry pies – I don’t know anywhere in the town that sells them or even that sells whimberries. We used to go onto Woodhead or the Snake and gather them. However, here is a link to a place that sells at least the pies. http://www.shropshirelifemagazine.co.uk/food-drink/whimberries_shropshire_39_s_secret_superfood_1_1639410

        The bank you mention is still in the same place, though it changed years ago to Lloyds TSB and is about to reincarnate just as Lloyds. the cinema was the Odeon, later the Metro, then it became a bingo hall and amusement arcade – This magnificent white stone clad building still stand, sadly boarded up like much of this once lovely town.

        The Market Avenue is still there, the resort now of various charity shops. You can’t buy toys there now but you won’t go wrong if you’re looking for electronic cigarettes, lol. Thorntons moved into the Arcades Shopping Centre but they’re in financial trouble now and their range is available cheaper in Asda.

        The other cinema on Old Street was the Pavilion. It was unusual in that it was twice as wide side to side as it was front to back. The end seats on either side had a poor view of the screen, especially if the pillars got in the way. When it closed it was a DIY shop for paints and wallpapers. Now its a cheap furniture store – doing so well it seems that they have taken over the Salvation Army Citadel ! My parents who were lifelong worshippers there would die another death if they knew what happened there! Maybe they do know, wherever they are!

        The Beau Geste is still there, on a closed off part of Katherine Street, backing on the the ‘bus station – fight night at the pub most weekends!

        The Petman has recently moved to the opposite corner of Old Square, once the Yates Wine Lodge. I suspect Rev John Yates is no longer connected. There is apparently a Spectrum Christian Bookshop at 167 Stamford Street Central. I’m not sure if 167 is the location you describe or not.

        Please don’t feel you are boring the readers – we love it!

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    2. york house was a special place i loved it,i spent the nite of my 40th there,i always felt very posh lol not long aster tht it shut down an sadly nw its yet another ashton treasure raised to the ground

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  30. Stuart got his contribution in 3 minutes before mine – while I was still typing, lol.

    Thanks Stuart – especially for the hint about possible whimberry pies in the indoor market. I’ll be down there tomorrow!

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    1. In response to Beth’s post…I go further back to my childhood in Ashton in the 50s when the market ( indoor and outdoor) was very vibrant. The posh dress shop on the corner of Old Street and Warrington St was called Mabel Stanning. I bought my wedding dress there in 1972 for the grand sum of £8.50! The Odeon cinema just along Old St was originally The Gaumont, the Pavilion was diagonally opposite on the same side as the library ( used to work there 1964-68) The Toy shop in the Market Ave was called Lumbs There was a train set in the window. You could put a penny in the slot to make it go round. Lumbs also had a shop further up the Avenue nearer Stamford st. Sold umbrellas and handbags. The shoe shop opposite Stamford St Methodist was probably Freeman Hardy and Willis. Had my first high heeled winkle pickets from there…cost 29/11.
      The Ashton Hotel was originally opposite the Market ground on the corner of Cotton St with the Reporter Office on the other corner.
      Jones Music Shop has two outlets, one on Bow St opposite the market and one on Old St near the Pavilion cinema.
      better stop now…but my mouth is watering at the mention of whimberry pies!!
      Meg

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    2. on the subject of wimberry pies my mum and dad tell me theres a stall on the market every sun selling them for £1 whereas the indoor charge £2.50 love a bargin my folks

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      1. Interesting comment Gill but I guess the price differential depends somewhat on the relative sizes of the pies in question.

        Also, it’s a long time now since it was possible to buy such things as pies, weekly on the outdoor market. EU rules I understand, though outdoor markets in Europe don’t seem to take much notice of those!

        Fresh foods, even salad goods, vegetables and fruit can only be bought from the permanent cabins and kiosks but I don’t know any that sell fruit pies.

        The sole exception is the farmers markets on the last Sunday of every month. I don’t normally patronise those because they are usually around 100% dearer for just about everything – though i will make a special visit to check on your parents recommendation.

        Generally speaking, both the indoor and outdoor markets are a poor version of the markets of the past. The size of the outdoor market is at least halved and still anything around 50% occupancy is rare.

        Regards

        Keith Sales

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  31. Manny Showmans was on Penny Meadow, bought my first pair of Jeans from there, Crightons Credit Drapers was on Market St,(Now a chippy), we used to buy our new clothes from there just before the Whit walks.

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  32. Does anybody know the whereabouts of George Houghs family he had 2 daughters called Jill and Jean. George had a furniture shop in Ashton under lyne

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    1. Your question regarding George Houghs family. The family had/have a farm on Ashton Moss at the rear/north west side, of the Curzon Ashton Football Club stadium. There shop was on Mill Lane, between Wellington Street and Wood Street. Opposite the old Arcadia COOP shop site, now a Lidl The row of shops he had still stand, there now a sign writers shop to a pizza shop. My parents use to buy furniture from his shop. We also lived near his farm up to around 1962. hope that helps.

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      1. hi robert i lived on taunton lawns ashton and believe there was a very well to do lady lived there she had lost her husband but i believe she was in the family

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      2. George Hough was my uncle and I spent many a happy hour working on the farm during school holidays. Hope Fold Farm is now somewhat overshadowed by the Football stadium on what we called Richmond Fields Playing Fields. Interested to learn whereabouts you actually lived in 1962.

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    2. You asked about George Houghs family. His wife,my auntie lives at Taunton Lawns. Both daughters live abroad, Jill in America and Jean in Norway.The furniture shop was well known for many years. George Hough was my uncle and I spent many happy formative years in Ashton . Happy times

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    3. George died many years ago, and his wife Elsie sadly died in 2016. I know that one of their daughters (unfortunately cannot remember which one), resides in Denmark, and has a son also called George. I think their other daughter is still in the UK, but cannot be sure. I can recall being a 7 year old in the early 60’s and playing with Jill and Jean on our bikes. We used to cycle along the dirt tracks on the Moss near their farmhouse.

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      1. Yes, I know all about Jean & Jill Hough.

        In was brought up with my cousins and spent my formulative years with them.
        Every weekend and every school holiday was spent at Hopefold Farm.
        The dirt track across the Playing Fields was the direct route to the farm.
        George and Elsie Hough were my aunt and uncle.

        Jean Hough lives in Norway not Denmark.

        Jill Hough lives in Atlanta USA.

        Unfortunately the Hough Dynasty as far as Ashton is concerned has after many decades finally come to an end, with the death of my aunty Elsie Hough last year
        Sad really.

        I am in touch with them on a regular basis. If you want any further information please feel free to contact me.

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  33. Does anybody remember the Direct Pork shop that was in Stamford st ?, I worked there when i left school,there used to be a slaughter house at the back and a shop at the front we also had a shop in Hollins Road in Oldham and a shop in Failsworth only sold pork products as the name implies ,pies sausages blackpuddings ,brawn ,savoury ducks all lovely fresh produce ,those type of shops are long gone ,mores the pity

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    1. Hi Colin, I lived in Ashton from through the 50s till 1969 but don’t recall this shop. When would the shop have been on Stamford St.? I have asked people on Facebook group Ashton Under Lyne Now and Then but, so far, no-one has remembered the shop.

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      1. Margaret,i think it would be around 1963 as i said i worked there then went to work in Ashton indoor market for a butchers called Ashworths,hope this helps

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  34. Thanks for a walk back in time with all the old shops, even though I’m only in my 40’s I still remember lots of the shops mentioned.

    One thing I do remember which I don’t think has been mentioned, is Wilde’s Pet Shop on Old Street, which was a few shops down from the corner of Old Street and George Street, I believe there is a petshop right on that corner now.

    Does anyone remember the Horse Box? I was always in there when I was younger, having a wander round (I loved the smell of leather) and buying new riding kit (boots, jods and riding hat).

    I know this isnt a shop but does anyone remember Wheels (the roller skating rink), I cant remember the street it was on, but it was behind where the Salvation Army was (or still is??) on Old Street. I spent many a great evening with friends, whizzing round the rink and I also met my husband there back in 1985 (been together nearly 30 years).

    Thanks again for the trip down memory lane.

    Catherine 🙂

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    1. Hi Catherine. I’m glad you find this site helpful with memories of old Ashton, I’ve lived, and still live, in the same street for all but two years of my 77 year life and i do so enjoy reading folks memories.

      i can remember Wilde’s pet shop, though not exactly where it was. I think someone else on here has commented more on it. Yes, there is a pet shop, at the corner of George Street and Old Street.

      What was, i think, the Horse Box, is still there, on Bow Street, near the Market Hall corner. They have a minimal horse section now, with most of the shop given over to general leather goods, suitcases etc. It’s called Holloway’s now.

      Wheels had a fairly short life, replacing The Birdcage, formerly the Palais de Danse. The Sally Army Citadel (SA) building is still there, now a warehouse for the adjoining furniture shop which was formerly Blasters Decorating and before that the Pavilion Cinema. The SA cynically brought about the SA closure a few years ago. My parents, now deceased, were lifelong worshipers there, and will be spinning in their grave. (More about this if anyone’s interested).

      Hope this is helpful.

      Keith

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      1. Ian Ashton expresses an interest in the matter of the Salvation Army closure. However, it is a mildly ‘political’ subject which, although a true account, is probably not acceptable here. If Ian or anyone else wants to know more then send me an email to familyksales@talktalk.net

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    2. HI Catherine, I remember Wilde’s pet shop being on Warrington St, first of all on the opposite side to the Prince of Orange pub, then it moved to the side of the bus station. The Petman was on Stamford st near George St. That has now moved over the road to what used to be Yates Wine Lodge.
      Wheels roller skating was in the former Palais de Danse which was on Cotton Street behind the Salvation Army, as you remember,

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  35. Does anyone remember Stoddards Fashions (ladies/trendy clothes)on Stamford Street opposite the end of The Avenue ??? Near Yates WineLodge. I was brought up in Ashton. My stepfather owned Stoddards and my mother was the Manageress and buyer. Stoddards was running from approx 1961 – 1980. Both of them are still with us aged 89 and 93 living near me in Halifax, Yorkshire. What a brilliant nostalgia read this site is. Judith Bush

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  36. Just found this site and found it very,very compelling read,my name is John Ashton,68 yrs young, and as my memory has been re-awakened, I would like to recall my memory’s.
    Stamford Street, from the baths end, was as far as I can remember, left side, first Timothy Whites (Chemist),then there was a camara shop, before the tobbacanist, where I used to go for my father “Carroll’s Dundalk Thick Twist” pipe baccy, I think the owners at the time were called Lowes, always two old ladies that served. Then before you got to the Red Lion you had the Claremont Motor Cycles, where one of my old classmate Alan Dawson worked, then the Red Lion.
    The next row consisted of, as far as I can remember, first a ladies posh shop, then a electrical shop, followed by New Days Furnitue, reason I can remember this is because it is the shop my brother and me bought our first radio gram on HP came out and bought my first record, Telstar, by the Tornadoes.the third row you had Timpsons shoes, Currys bike shop, then a coffee shop and bank, further up there was Littlewoods, a posh gents outfitters, Disrict Bank.
    The next row you had Harrops Furnishings then Stamford Arcade, Greenwoods, gents outfitters, Woolworths,Howard’s towels and curtains, on the corners, another electrical lighting shop.Cross Delamare Street, you had the church,passing three or four other outlets before Yates Wine Bar.
    Crossing over, you had the Petman, a stationarys, another furniture shop, passing the Avenue, was George Masons, wher I worked slicing bacon and dressing the window on Saturday mornings for the 12/6p. Next door was Freeman Hardy Wills, further down, cross Warrington Street, another shoe shop, further down Schofeilds games shop, going on there was a jewellers, then the Concervative Club more banks then you get to The Arcadia, Spread Eagle,next corner was The Sewing Machine Shop then Bowers sport shop,further down the King Bill public house fooled by Vincent’s the Piano shop, until you get to Mannerings Cake a shop and last I think was Shipleys Booking office,

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  37. Im looking for the name of the butchers think it was on old street by meeks shoe shop he was called harold and had a daughter called vicky

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    1. Hi Conor,

      I remember both! Dewhurst’s the Butcher was opposite Marks and Spencer and next to Burneys (today’s Pound Bakery). We [my family] never went to Dewhurst’s; we always found superior quality meats at Ashton market. Also in Stalybridge we used to go to one stall in the Victoria Market near the front entrance. There was also a Dewhurst’s in Stalybridge on Melbourne Street.

      Now Safeway, that was originally Presto. Presto was owned by Argyll Foods after the company formed by James Gulliver bought Cavenham Foods from Sir James Goldsmith. Safeway (UK) acquired Argyll in 1987 hence the Presto stores becoming Safeways.

      Though it never opened as one, Ashton’s Presto was going to become an International Superstore owned by British American Tobacco Industries (this is mentioned in some issues of The Advertiser in 1980). Instead it opened shortly after BAT sold a number of International Stores branches to Argyll Foods.

      From my sporadic visits to the store in its Presto guise, I remember the unusual aisle layout and the instore café at the open market entrance. Furthermore, the Camp Street car park used to be free to Presto’s customers, who could wheel their trolleys across Wellington Road via the pelican crossing.

      Had the TAC Building’s Presto remained a food store, Ashton could have had a branch of Morrisons. We could have been scanning Match and More cards till the middle of this month.

      Bye for now,

      Stuart.

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  38. Just returned from my first visit to Ashton in over 10 years. To paraphrase the song “what have they done to my town ma!” I was really upset to see dear old Ashton in such a sorry state. We went into the centre in the early evening and it was deserted even the pubs were shut. Nowhere to get a pub meal unless you count Wetherspoons. We spoke to the vicar in charge of the Parish church, she told us that she has hardly any congregation and has amalgamated with 4 other churches in the area. The car is certainly king with Park Parade now a highway out of town and as for the IKEA building ugh. I was born in Ashton and lived there until 1963, my dad was born there and lived to be 102, he always spoke with affection about the town. Thank goodness he never saw what it looks like today.

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    1. Hi Ruth,

      It is a shame you found your first visit to Ashton in ten years a miserable experience. Firstly, Ashton’s pubs never recovered from a series of incidents in the early noughties which killed off the town’s nightlife.

      Though the Smoking Ban from 2007 has dramatically improved my visits to the pub, many people to this day blame that for Ashton’s lack of pubs. In fact, Lancashire (including part of Greater Manchester) has been worst hit by pub closures. I would say Ashton – if judged on a town-by-town basis – fared worst of all.

      On a positive note, the refurbished Prince of Orange has seen food return to the pub. This has seen the reopening of its restaurant section. The Caledonia still does food and The Engine Room is a serviceable ‘Spoons alternative. So long as you time your visits outside of televised football matches.

      If you went yesterday, you would have seen the final day of the Tameside Food Festival, with further stalls for your delight. The café at the corner of the indoor market (D’Oro) did barbecued burgers as well as their usual sandwiches, ciabattas and coffees. The Tweed Brewing Company – an up-and-coming microbrewery based in Newton – had a stall on and served an excellent cask conditioned American style Pale Ale.

      However, you are right about the motor car’s reign in Ashton. Other than the Metrolink, most commercial development since the M60’s completion in 2000 has been car orientated. For example IKEA, in spite of being in a decent enough position for the trams and buses. Hence the Ashton Moss developments (the arrival of Five Guys premium burger bar next month) – hotels, bowling alley, eateries and the Cineworld multiplex cinema – off Lord Sheldon Way. Even with the trams (and the 7 and 217 buses) stopping nearby, car reigns supreme.

      By the end of 2016, we should see The Hippodrome reopen and the Open Market revamped. The present TAC building will be gone by then. The movement of Clarendon Sixth Form College from Hyde to Ashton may improve footfall. Plus, the town’s next bus station will be moved nearer to the trams.

      Whatever happens, the Ashton-under-Lyne we’re about to receive in 2017 will be different again. Let’s hope it’s for the better.

      Bye for now,

      Stuart.

      Like

      1. Hi Stuart
        Thanks for your reply. We did find places to eat but had to drive out of town, we had 3 good meals, at The Heroes of Waterloo, The Junction nr Hartshead Pike and at the Waggon & Horses Stalybridge. We really enjoyed Stalybridge Station buffet. I guess it’s a vicious circle, nobody goes into town in the evening because it’s dead so who’s going to risk opening a pub providing good food and real ale. I was glad to see the indoor market thriving but the market square was a building site, more improvements? I hated what has been done to Henry Square, I bought the book Ashton then and now – no contest, then wins every time. I’m turning into a grumpy old woman. Regards Ruth

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      2. Val asks:- How much nearer to the tram stop does the bus station need to be ?

        And she’s right of course. Ashton has had so many ‘new’ bus stations I feel rather dizzy at my 77 years in the town.

        For long enough we’ve had a much signposted ‘Transport Interchange’ – with the rail station far remote from the bus station. Now the latter is moving further away than ever – OK, nearer the tram stop I grant – but what sort of ‘Transport Interchange’ is that? And further from the shops too!

        Oh dear – further to carry my shopping then!

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    2. Dear Ruth, Unfortunately Ashton is not the only town that has suffered. Changes to the way we shop, the way we get around and the collapse of industry (cotton mills and coal mining) has impacted on the town. I left Ashton in 1969 but visited regularly to see my parents until their deaths 9 years ago. There’s still a lot of good folk in Ashton. If you are on Facebook join ‘Ashton Under Lyne Now and Then’ group to see some more positive views on the town.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Hi Margaret
        I should have added that the one thing that hadn’t changed was the friendliness of the people. We met with nothing but kindness and interest as to why we were in Ashton. You are right, of course every town has changed but it appeared that the heart had been ripped out of the town.

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  39. Hi Keith,

    I too am not impressed with the forthcoming bus station’s move away from the railway station. Why the tram station couldn’t be moved closer to The Prince of Orange is beyond me. I suppose it allows for any future eastward expansion of the Metrolink. As a consequence, the stops on Wellington Road would offer better transfers between bus and train.

    As far as I know, the new site would permit future expansion of the Arcades Shopping centre. Also, there’s scope for another focal piazza between the shopping centre and Son of TAC (my sobriquet for the new Council Offices).

    I would be more at ease waiting for a bus in the new version of Ashton Interchange. Its platformed layout and open doorways makes for a bleak experience on winter nights. Not least improved security measures as seen in GMPTE’s/TfGM’s newest bus stations since 2006.

    So much so I would rather wait in one of their newer bus stations at evenings instead of one akin to Ashton’s present bus station (or similar designs in Wigan, Leigh, Stockport and Bolton).

    Bye for now,

    Stuart.

    Like

    1. I agree with you Stuart on your comment that the tram station could have been further toward the Prince of Orange. Heaven forbid however that the town should be disrupted yet again by an eastward extension – Where too? Stalybridge? already desolate.

      Were an eastward extension toward Stalybridge thought desirable it would give more reason why the rail line to Manchester could have been converted to support Metrolink as the Bury and Altrincham lines were years ago.

      Do we need a bigger Arcades? Well my understanding is that there are difficulties in filling the one we have now! As for another ‘focal piazza’, where does Ashton think it is? Sunny Italy, or Denton?

      Whilst we’re talking about the bus station, for years now there has been a portable cabin at the bus station, aback the Prince of Orange. I forget the acronym that’s displayed on it but it’s to do with Security on Public Transport. Presumably it was to be like a present day Police Station, mainly closed but occasionally open. I guess it never opened. If so I’ve never seen it open. Presumably it’s on an expensive hire contract. We hear of new security staffing to travel on buses and Metrolink – perhaps the cabin will come into it’s own then.

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  40. Hi Ruth,

    Glad to see you enjoyed your meals in The Heroes of Waterloo, The Junction and the Waggon and Horses in Matley. I have yet to visit all three of the pubs myself; never visited Heroes of Waterloo before it concentrated more on food; always had The Junction on my bucket list due to its Rag Puddings; and I passed the Waggon and Horses on countless occasions on a 236 to and from Glossop.

    As for Stalybridge Station Buffet Bar, I have called in there on numerous occasions. I have also been to two of the owners’ other pubs: the West Riding Refreshment Rooms in Dewsbury and The Sportsman in Huddersfield. Every visit a pleasure.

    When the Indoor Market reopened on the 28 November 2008, I couldn’t take to it because I was used to passing two sets of walls (one to the food hall and another past Animal Magic). Though I miss certain facets of the indoor market before the fire, it is encouraging to see almost every stall occupied. Equally so with the queues at S.Williams and Son’s stall. If you go to Wigan’s, Rochdale’s and Oldham’s indoor markets, the picture doesn’t seem to be as rosy as Ashton’s or Bury’s indoor markets.

    The building site on the open market has something to do with improvements to the Open Market itself. The roundabouts will be moved nearer to The Cooperative Bank. Stalls will be moved closer to the indoor market’s Bow Street/Market Avenue entrance (at present there is quite a gap between the fruit stalls and the indoor market). There will also be a more pronounced focal piazza for the new Council Offices plus the existing Town Hall and former ACWW offices.

    I shan’t comment on the state of Park Parade. My innermost feelings may be unfit to print on a family orientated blog like this one. The censored version of my opinions on this subject is “how many traffic lights?” – and yours truly unimpressed with paying an extra 80p in cab fares. More so going southbound from BT Roundabout in a taxi or the 346. Still, if walking, infinitely preferable to the subway.

    Bye for now,

    Stuart.

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    1. Hi Stuart
      Enough moaning, back to lost shops. This will only be relevant to your more mature readers. Does anyone remember Welbeck street, Cotton street area, the bit that ran down to Katherine street. My mum had a shop on Welbeck street from just after the war until the area was slum cleared in the early 1960s. I remember there was a whole lot of shops, Ridgeway’s greengrocers, Harold Cocker boot repairer and Jack Bradley newsagent to name just a few. My mum had the grocers. I think most of the people from the area were relocated to Hazlehurst. The only bit remaining is the cotton mill, there was a large Baptist church which has been replaced by a small concrete building. I realise that the housing was poor, 2 up 2 down and an outside toilet but the people had a real community spirit. Also the UCP cafe on Chester Square, do people still eat tripe and elder?

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  41. I have been really enjoying this blog and would like to add some more lost shops belonging to my family. My mother’s shop was called Elaine Modes, 268 Stamford street and was next to Bowers leather and sports shop. The shop sold ladies dresses and did well in the years after WW2 but business declined to almost zero immediately after the bypass was built which very effectively cut off the bottom end of Stamford street..My mum looked at the possibility of moving into the new Metrolands precinct but it was far too expensive. . After struggling to keep going for a few years my mother, Anne Goldthorpe finally closed down the shop..
    My dad owned Micks of Ashton, 23 Market Avenue. He specialised in fur coats and the business thrived until he died at the age of 66 in 1966. and the shop was closed not long after. I had no interest in the fashion business but I did start a business of my own in the early seventies – PG Electronics 72 Penny Meadow… It would be good to hear if anybody remembers any of these shops..
    Acouple more I remember – Cooper’s supermarket on Stamford street where I had a saturday job in the mid 60’s .Also Lees bakery stall in the market hall..

    Phil G

    Like

    1. Hi Phil,

      Glad to see you’re enjoying this post on East of the M60. Not only from my recollections but – most importantly – everybody else’s recollections which has made this one of the most commented threads on EM60.

      Besides the excellent To Market To Market book (which I urge anyone interested in Ashton’s retail history to buy) and pictorial works, Ashton’s retail past deserves greater recognition. Today, Stamford Street is full of road traffic but nobody’s browsing.

      It is also interesting to see – chiefly from the comments – how Ashton’s retail offerings have changed over the last century. There’s excellent source material for a history book in this. Our sister thread on Oldham town centre has been similarly popular.

      Coopers Supermarket if I remember rightly became Fine Fare before moving to Warrington Street (which has been McDonalds since Autumn 1984). Micks of Ashton would have been next to today’s branch of Trifles. Would that unit later become the Toby Jug shop (which did delectable pies, now available from The Chicken Barbecue)?

      Many thanks,

      Stuart.

      Like

      1. Stuart mentions the excellent Williams brothers book, “To Market to Market”.

        I’ve temporarily mislaid my copy but I know that my late mother, Daisy Adelaide Sales, nee Nokes, contributed to the book with her recollection of being sent as a girl to the market, just as they were closing, very late in those days.

        She was instructed to ask for cabbage leaves (free of course), ‘for the rabbits’. She commented that “little did they know that we (the children) were the rabbits”.

        Well, maybe they did know!

        Like

    2. Hi Stuart,

      Thanks for your response. I think you are correct in saying my dad’s shop Micks was next to where Trifles is now. It’s a bit hard to say exactly as the frontages have changed so much and there are no numbers on the doors.On the other side, there was a shoe shop that had an X-ray machine where you could stand with your feet in an opening and peer downwards into a viewer to see x-rays of your own feet and wriggle your toes to see your bones moving! I suppose it was meant to show you how your shoes fitted. No health and safety in those days and obviously no knowledge of the dangers of X-rays were filtered down to the retail community.They used to let me very regularly have a go on the machine and I thoroughly enjoyed looking at the bones in my feet wriggling around. Fortunately, fifty odd years later I still have both my feet in reasonable working order!,
      A couple more shops for the record: on the Old Street side of Mick’s on the corner of Market avenue and Old street (?) Was a gent’s outfitter called Benny Wallace and on the Stamford street side there was a bakery which was responsible for starting my life long love of chocolate cream cake! Can’t remember their name but someone might be able to elaborate? Additionally My cousin’s husband had a shop called Georgian House Lighting which was on the corner of George Street and Old street.
      I hope this contribution is of interest.

      Like

  42. Hi Margaret and readers,

    I remember The Lounge. It isn’t the shop I’m thinking of but I do remember thinking it was quite a posh coffee house on Stamford Street and sold delicious chocolates I think were called violet creams and had some sort of sugared violet confection on the top. I remember getting them once as a.treat and loved them.
    Reading all these entries makes me remember what a great town we had. I have an old photo at home showing the outside market – Absolutely full of busy stalls. How times have changed!
    Here’s an odd and obscure addition – I wonder if anyone remembers the tiny magic trick shop that occupied what is now a terraced house near the top of Ladbrooke road, opposite what was then a local police station. I remember passing it on my way to school and often wondered why someone would open such a shop in such a location. .It would be nice to know if there is anyone else who remembers it to confirm it is not just something I dreamed up!

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  43. Does anyone out there remember my late great uncles shop The Chocolate Box which stood approximatelyaround where the bus ststion is now.Run by him and my aunt Amy who was little and fat with a croaky voice.Opened in the late 20s but by the time of his death in 1960 was very much in decline.

    Like

    1. Hi, I left school Mosley rd.1960, and went to work at Dorothy Perkins on Stamford St. a lovely shop, selling women’s clothing, a few years later, I worked at Beaverbrooks on Stamford St. I know they moved later, and are gone now from Ashton. I don’t get back to Ashton often, but to me it is sad now. But lovely memories of the neighborhood on Holden st. My family ran the green grocers stall Kelly’s on Ashton market.

      Like

      1. My family owned the greengrocers in the Market Avenue – Percy Wright & Son Ltd. Percy was my granddad, and John my father. I’m pretty sure I can remember Kelly’s, as I think it was the market greengrocers closest to the permanent tripe and ice cream (Faircloughs) stalls.

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  44. This brought back many memories. I can add one that is not mentioned. At 167, Stamford Street, next door to the Church, was “Central Records”. This was a music shop that sold pop, and easy listening on the ground floor and classical and hifi equipment on the first floor. I know that because I used to work there in the classical department from 1969-1973. I think it closed down in the late ’70s – at least before the advent of CDs.

    It was my first ever job and I enjoyed every moment of it – I would have worked there for free. I then moved on to other things but always said that when I retired I would buy a shop like Central Records and finish out my days there. Well that time has come now and the whole idea of an actual shop where you go in person to listen to and buy albums has now disappeared and been replaced by online shopping and downloads. Of well I’ll have to think of something else!

    Like

    1. Hi Phil,

      I am glad you enjoyed the article. It is a shame that purchasing music in physical forms is an alien concept for some people. If I buy a downloaded track (without a physical version to fall back on), I have almost lost the track if the hard drive or solid state drive conks out.

      Thankfully, vinyl has had a resurgence, with premium priced reissues joining the ranks of new releases. I miss the plethora of independent record shops, and shopping online lacks the same allure.

      Warmly,

      Stuart.

      Like

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